Sparkling Cyanide

Rating: ***
It has been one year since Rosemary's death. One long year in which her husband George Barton, her sister Iris, her lover Stephen Farraday and his wife Sandra, George's secretary Ruth Lessing, and finally attractive and charming Anthony Browne, have had time to obsess and hold on to their secrets and feelings towards Rosemary's suicide.

But was it suicide?! The shocking idea awakens everyone from a stupor and brings the idea of murder into the forefront. Surely there was something odd about Rosemary's suicide? Depression was too weak a motive for someone so vivacious and full of life. Iris for one, has begun to doubt once her brother-in-law and guardian shows her anonymous letters which question the suicide. George intends to recreate the fatal dinner. With the other guests skeptical, things become serious when George gives a toast to Iris's health, takes a sip of champagne, and dies choking on the table.......

With a murder committed the authorities have no choice but to look deeper into the circumstances of Rosemary's death. Secrets are bound to come out and someone might do anything to keep that from happening. At one point, it seems everyone at the table that night had a secret..but who is guilty? Iris hopes not Anthony Browne..........

Some thoughts
The characters were pretty charming. OK, I'm only thinking about Anthony Browne! The murder takes place in the fast set and the police have to sift through a lot of controversies, affairs, and jealousies. The rich and entitled it seems, are not so different from the rest of us.

In Sparkling Cyanide, also known as Remembered Death, we see one of Christie's frequently appearing characters, Colonel Race. Colonel Race mostly appears as a side detective alongside the more popular Hercule Poirot or Superintendent Battle, but in this case, he is the lead sleuth assisting the police.

The novel is slightly reminiscent of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd in that all six suspects on Rosemary's death reveal their feelings, in a separate chapter, of the night of the death - only one of them is the murderer and is not revealing all the facts. The novel also has the same plot as Christie's previous short story titled Yellow Iris. The novel in itself is well written and interesting, but it has the same tricks we see in all the other novels: the preconceived idea of the murder, everybody-has-a-motive type of case, and finally the illusion to make us think that the second murder was a direct result of the first - it is all cleverly planned, but has been done so often before that a seasoned Agatha Christie reader should pick up on it at once.

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