Agatha Christie Lovers discussion

Sparkling Cyanide  (Colonel Race, #4)
This topic is about Sparkling Cyanide
note: This topic has been closed to new comments.
95 views
Book of the Month Reads > CLOSED May 2014 - Sparkling Cyanide

Comments Showing 1-39 of 39 (39 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Carolyn F. (last edited Apr 29, 2014 12:47PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
Originally published 1945. Features Colonel Race.

Six people reunite to remember beautiful Rosemary Barton, who died nearly a year before. The loving sister, the long-suffering husband, the devoted secretary, the lovers, the betrayed wife - none of them can forget Rosemary.

But did one of them murder her?

Titled in America 'Remembered Death'.


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments Hmmm, the first line is correct, but the description is of Death Comes as the End!

I wanted to mention that the original American title of this one is Remembered Death, so some may have it under that title, as I do.

Just started reading it tonight!


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
Oh no! I just cut and pasted. I'll correct it.


Cindy | 47 comments I am loving it so far!!!


Angelina | 5 comments Just finished it 2 days ago. This is only the second A.C. book I've read in which I knew who the killer was. Still really excellent, of course.


Asti | 13 comments The society involved is typical Agatha Christie's, I think. But I always love the way she opened each characters to us, showing their flaws and fears much more than the suspicions among them.

And Colonel Race is such a nice man. I wonder why Christie never gave him spouse & family. Inspector Battle had one. I know he's a spy and so on. But he is oh so normal in compare with Poirot.
Correct me if I'm wrong about this (his not having family). The only personal emotions I remember from Col.Race is when he fell (and failed) in love in the book The Man with the Brown Suit.
Sorry I blabber too much sideways..


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments Yes, it was an interesting way of beginning the novel, a chapter devoted to each of the suspects that revealed their characters as well as a motive for each to have murdered Rosemary.


Cindy | 47 comments I am a bit bothered by Christie's obvious contempt for Rosemary and women like her....is it just me??


Amanda | 5 comments I enjoyed the beginning with the chapter per character/suspect introductions. I thought it was a great way to get to know the many characters.

But after those chapters I think it fell flat (for a Christie). I still enjoyed it, but this was not one of her novels that engaged me and kept me interested to the extent her mysteries normally do. I can't quite put my finger on why.


message 10: by Denise (last edited May 06, 2014 12:59AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments Cindy wrote: "I am a bit bothered by Christie's obvious contempt for Rosemary and women like her....is it just me??"

I didn't think much of Rosemary, myself. She was self-centered and promiscuous. She didn't have time for her own sister, seemed to only want to be married to George in order to have something stable to come home from her trysts to, treated Ruth like an automaton that was there to serve her, and was prepared to ruin Stephen's career to satisfy her own desires.


Katherine Amanda wrote: "I enjoyed the beginning with the chapter per character/suspect introductions. I thought it was a great way to get to know the many characters.

But after those chapters I think it fell flat (for a..."


Amanda, It wasn't my favorite Christie either, for the same reasons you stated. I liked it, but it lacked something I can't quite figure out.


message 12: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments As Christie's career progresses, I find myself comparing later books to past ones. Even though the setting is so different, I find myself stacking this one up against Five Little Pigs, since both are about murders in the past and both focus on character. But Pigs is infinitely superior: a better mystery with a rich and bittersweet ending. By the time we get to the solution in Cyanide, I don't much care who killed Rosemary, which is too bad because the murderer is the most interesting character of the bunch.

Like so many others of you who have commented, I like the early chapters where we get to meet the characters through their own thoughts and actions. This means that we get to see a murderer's mind at work, and that makes for some of the cleverest writing in the book to me. However, once the mystery gets properly started, I think it's a mess. On the one hand, there's simply too much stuff started that means nothing, such as Anthony Browne's true identity. But worst of all is the clueing itself. I read this first as a child, and I remember being delighted when Anthony makes Colonel Race run out of the room (and away from his teacup). But now it seems ridiculous that the misplacement of a handbag caused all the trouble. People are more aware of where they sit in a restaurant than that! Plus, without giving any spoilers, don't you all think that a VERY major character is barely in the book and thus makes the denouement rather unfair???

Finally, I can see why people don't like Rosemary, although you could argue that she is as temperamental and difficult as she is because of her status as a woman in that society. Why ever did she marry George? SHE has the money and SHE is the young and beautiful thing who could have her pick of any stud she wanted. It's more difficult to rationalize why all the men would be so enamored of her. I would think her death would come as something of a relief to George, whom she mistreated shamefully.

Next comes The Hollow, one of my top ten favorite Christies!


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments Brad, I felt the same way as you about the mix-up over the seating. In addition to their being likely to know which way they were facing, surely the other ladies' handbags were still in their proper places, and they would notice!


message 14: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments Denise wrote: "Brad, I felt the same way as you about the mix-up over the seating. In addition to their being likely to know which way they were facing, surely the other ladies' handbags were still in their prope..."

Exactly, Denise!! Of all the ladies present, Iris was the least assertive. Surely Sandra would have boomed out, "No, my dear, THIS is your place." And Ruth, the perfect secretary, would have been especially watchful!


Karen When I was away from the internet for almost a year, I got a stack of Christie paperbacks given to me and this is one not in there. Hopefully I can get to the library soon.


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
Started the audiobook last night. :)


Chris (kitties) | 23 comments Though I haven't finished the book yet, I like the way Christie breaks down each character and makes you suspicious of them. I don't have a clue who the murderer is at this point. But, knowing Christie's writing, it's going to be someone who is least suspected!


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
You're right Chris, I'm thinking, "Oh he's the one" until the next person is introduced.


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
Same with me Brian - I kept thinking that Rosemary's husband was the bad guy and had accidentally killed himself. But I was wrong!


message 20: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments Carolyn F. wrote: "Same with me Brian - I kept thinking that Rosemary's husband was the bad guy and had accidentally killed himself. But I was wrong!"

You should read "Yellow Iris," Carolyn, the short story upon which the novel is based. You're not that far off!!


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
I'll check it out Brad. :)


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Looking forward to the Hollow story this June. My library has this one~. :)


Chris (kitties) | 23 comments To the moderator,comments about who the murderer was should not be revealed until the last day of the month. I've had a late start to this book and then vacation and I'm 3/4 way through and now know who the murderer was. Kind of deflates the balloon a bit!


message 24: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments Chris wrote: "To the moderator,comments about who the murderer was should not be revealed until the last day of the month. I've had a late start to this book and then vacation and I'm 3/4 way through and now kno..."

Perhaps the moderator could explain to Cindy how to create (and hide) a spoiler. (I could use a refresher course myself!) That way, those of us who have finished can discuss the ending to our hearts content without spoiling it for others. Chris, if it makes you feel any better, keep reading: there may be one or two little surprises left that you don't know about! (I promise!!)


Chris (kitties) | 23 comments Brad wrote: "Chris wrote: "To the moderator,comments about who the murderer was should not be revealed until the last day of the month. I've had a late start to this book and then vacation and I'm 3/4 way throu..."

Thanks, Brad...I'm almost done. 40 pages to go!


message 26: by Carolyn F. (last edited May 25, 2014 08:50PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
Cindy it's real easy < spoiler> with no space between the < and the s. And then when you're finished < /spoiler> with no space between the < and the /. (view spoiler) . In the (some html is ok) at the top of the box right next to add book/author will give you helpful hints.


Chris (kitties) | 23 comments I finally finished and I'm glad I did. I had a feeling that Ruth did the murders but was close.


Karen Karen wrote: "When I was away from the internet for almost a year, I got a stack of Christie paperbacks given to me and this is one not in there. Hopefully I can get to the library soon."

I could not find this one anywhere. Not even the library. Being June now, I am going to try to start anew with June's book.


Karen Cat Grimalkin wrote: "Looking forward to the Hollow story this June. My library has this one~. :)"

Going to check if mine does now!


message 30: by Karen (last edited Jun 01, 2014 09:06AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen Denise wrote: "Hmmm, the first line is correct, but the description is of Death Comes as the End!

I wanted to mention that the original American title of this one is Remembered Death, so some may have it under t..."


Wow, I should have read this other title before I hit the library.

I just looked on my shelf for next months and Remembered Death is there. Wish they would stop changing names of books. lol


Katherine Karen wrote: "Cat Grimalkin wrote: "Looking forward to the Hollow story this June. My library has this one~. :)"

Going to check if mine does now!"


The Hollow is good. I've read half of it.


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Do you all know when we will be reading the Hollow? I am on chapter 2, and feel a little confused. (1st Agatha Christi novel!:)


message 33: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments Cat Grimalkin wrote: "Do you all know when we will be reading the Hollow? I am on chapter 2, and feel a little confused. (1st Agatha Christi novel!:)"

Cat, As of June 1st, The Hollow became our novel, but the discussion will begin on its own thread. See you there!


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Great!~ Thanks so much, Brad.


message 35: by Denise (last edited Jun 04, 2014 10:56PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments Karen wrote: "I just looked on my shelf for next months and Remembered Death is there. Wish they would stop changing names of books. lol"

LOL. The title changes were made many moons ago, when the books were first published in the U.S. I believe that these days, they are all being sold under the original British titles. I bought most of mine in the 70s, when they were still using the American titles. I tend to think it is due to the Internet creating a global market that caused them to go back to using only one title.

I usually try to remember to post a comment about the alternate titles, to hopefully try to cut down on the confusion.


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments Chris wrote: "To the moderator,comments about who the murderer was should not be revealed until the last day of the month. I've had a late start to this book and then vacation and I'm 3/4 way through and now kno..."

If people use spoilers, that helps, but I usually don't read the discussion until I've finished reading, unless it is one that I remember the ending to, anyway.


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
Denise wrote: "If people use spoilers, that helps, but I usually don't read the discussion until I've finished reading, unless it is one that I remember the ending to, anyway. "

That's what I do too Denise.


Renee | 447 comments Denise wrote: "If people use spoilers, that helps, but I usually don't read the discussion until I've finished reading, unless it is one that I remember the ending to, anyway."

This is what I always do because I figure since it's a mystery people will be talking about it who have finished before me and I don't want to read about who it might be or might not be (if I'm suspecting them at the time). Also, I guess I figured others would do the same since I sometimes tend to post spoilers in my comments at times because of this.


Renee | 447 comments Brad wrote: "As Christie's career progresses, I find myself comparing later books to past ones. Even though the setting is so different, I find myself stacking this one up against Five Little Pigs, since both a..."

I have to agree with everything you said here Brad. Although I did like this book, when compared to Three Little Pigs it's not as well written and I enjoyed that one much more.

I always like books that introduce us to the characters early on so I loved the introduction chapters for each character. I think the big deal about finding out who exactly Anthony Browne was was to cast some shadow of doubt upon him since nobody really knew who he actually was or anything about his background. Did he have motive to kill her? Makes you think twice about him as the killer especially since he's asked Iris to marry him.

I just finished this book last night and while I was reading the ending about the misplaced handbag all I could think in my head was, why would she forget where she was sitting because of her handbag? Might just be me, but that part bothered me since I would have no trouble knowing where I sat at a table. That part seemed rather weak to me, especially for a Christie.

I was a little disappointed in the ending and the one character who was involved hardly being mentioned in the book at all, but overall I still enjoyed it.


back to top
This topic has been frozen by the moderator. No new comments can be posted.