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Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie

Sparkling Cyanide (original 1943; edition 1971)

by Agatha Christie

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2,180414,633 (3.64)76
"Six people sit down to a sumptuous meal at a table laid for seven. In front of the empty place is a sprig of rosemary-"rosemary for remembrance." A strange sentiment considering no one is likely to forget the night, exactly a year ago, that Rosemary Barton died at exactly the same table, her beautiful face unrecognizable, convulsed with pain and horror. But then Rosemary had always been memorable-she had the ability to arouse strong passions in most people she met. In one case, strong enough to kill..."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)
Title:Sparkling Cyanide
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:Fontana (1971), Paperback
Collections:Your library

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Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie (1943)



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» See also 76 mentions

English (36)  Spanish (4)  Danish (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
aka Remembered Death

Not Christie's best. I'm not sure that the clues were adequately explained to the reader. Perhaps I just wasn't paying attention. ( )
  ParadisePorch | Aug 6, 2019 |
Summary: Six table guests meet a year after the apparent suicide death of Rosemary Barton, and when her husband dies by the same means, it is apparent there is a murderer in their midst.

"Six people were thinking of Rosemary Barton who had died nearly a year ago..."

So begins the mystery. The six will be gathered at the same table at the Luxembourg where nearly a year ago Rosemary Barton, recently ill from the flu and possibly depressed, died of cyanide in her champagne, apparently from her own hand, from the evidence found in her purse.

The six are introduced one by one.

Iris Marle is the younger sister of Rosemary. The poor younger sister, since Rosemary had received a great inheritance from her Uncle Paul, which Iris would only receive if Rosemary died childless.

Ruth Lessing is the super-efficient secretary of Rosemary's husband George, who secretly harbors an unreciprocated love for him, and hatred for Rosemary. He relies on her to handle tough situations in work and personal life, including dispatching the devious Victor Drake, whose singular accomplishment is wheedling money from his mother Lucilla, Iris's aunt and chaperone. She apparently succeeds, but not before Victor insinuates himself into her thoughts and arouses her hatred for Rosemary.

Anthony Browne is an American of whom little is known. He tries and strikes out in having an affair with Rosemary, and then surreptitiously wins the heart of Iris who he wants to secret away to marry, flouting her guardian, George Barton.

Stephen Farraday is an ambitious young Member of Parliament who has married into the powerful Kidderminster clan through Sandra, the shyest, but also perhaps the most politically savvy or even ruthless of the sisters. Stephen, despite his love for and appreciation of his partner, has an affair with Rosemary, realizes there is little of substance to her, and much to his wife, and painfully breaks it off, against the wishes of Rosemary who has threatened to make the affair public.

Sandra Farraday genuinely loves her husband, perhaps more than he does her, at first. He thinks she doesn't know about the affair, but in fact she does, and despises Rosemary, reconciles with Stephen and makes common cause with him.

Finally there is George Barton. He believes the account of Rosemary's suicide until he receives letters intimating it was murder, which leads him to move close to the Farradays, and to devise a dinner at the same table of the same restaurant nearly a year later, to expose the murderer. They arrive to find an extra place, supposedly for his friend, Colonel Race, an ex-Army Colonel and MI-5 agent who tried to warn him off this dangerous game. The empty place is set with a spray of rosemary.

After the uneasy party returns from dancing, George proposes a toast to Rosemary, and promptly collapses, also poisoned by cyanide in his champagne. It is clear this is no suicide, and that Rosemary's death was not either. There is a murderer in their midst. But there are troubling questions. Who sent the letters? And who poisoned the champagne, when none of those at the table had an opportunity. These are the questions that stymie Race, and Chief Inspector Kemp, until an unlikely ally helps them figure it out, and thwarts a third murder in the nick of time.

The story is developed with economy and it is intriguing to see how many motives Christie contrives to make each of the parties a plausible suspect. Not unlike other Christies, it pays to attend to details, and to question your assumptions. And enjoy! ( )
  BobonBooks | Apr 15, 2019 |
Clever mystery as always. Enjoyable to read one of her stories that didn't use Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. ( )
  TravbudJ | Dec 25, 2018 |
In which a party of seven is reduced to six after an uncomfortable dinner; and, a year, later, six becomes five…

"Sparkling Cyanide" (or "Remembered Death", as it was released in the US, leading me to assume that the publishers’ mandate was just to get the word “Murder” or “Death” into every title) is an expanded retelling of "Yellow Iris", a Poirot short story, which was effectively adapted for the David Suchet series in the early ’90s. It’s a lovely idea, and told damn well, featuring a detective – Colonel Johnnie Race – who had previously appeared in "The Man in the Brown Suit", and would return to Christie’s world twice, as a friend of Poirot’s. (It’s lovely that – while Christie remained staunchly opposed to ‘uniting’ Poirot and Marple – nearly all of her books tie in to an overarching ‘Universe’ [yes, I apologise for sounding like an anorak], with St. Mary Mead referenced in a Poirot novel, for example)

Race is an adept, if stoic, detective, and the story is well told – with a beautiful premise and a clever title. For me, the solution is a little too… unlikely, but – while that’s obviously a major element of the story – it doesn’t really detract from the rest. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
It didn't take long to get completely absorbed in this one. And while I ended up being--at least partially--right about who the guilty party was (though completely and totally wrong about motive), Ms. Christie had me doubting myself pretty much right away.

I also didn't realize this was the fourth in the Colonel Race books, but fortunately, this definitely stands alone. ( )
  stellar_raven | Jun 13, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ahmavaara, EeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Anthony, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bailey, RobinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berni, OlivieroCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bihl, AgnieszkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Enniko, JuhanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fraser, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grimaldi, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hipkiss, Guillermo LopezTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hunstein, StefanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Αλεξάκης, ΒαγγέληςTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kährik, KajaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Houbie, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McAfee, MaraCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nyquist, GunvorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Picard, E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snorrason, IngerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tedeschi, AlbertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vicens, AntoniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volpatti, LiaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Six people were thinking of

Rosemary Barton

who had died nearly a year ago...
First words
Iris Marle was thinking about her sister, Rosemary.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
This book was published as Remembered Death in the US and Sparkling Cyanide in the UK. It is based on a short story Yellow Iris, which featured Hercule Poirot as the detective.
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