Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Sparkling Cyanide - Reviews

True Love Jennifer Lopez

Reviews of Sparkling Cyanide

Reviewed by flrileyon August 21, 2014 - Five Stars

I loved reading this book.

Reviewed by LAon February 20, 2016 - House

Hercule has his hands full in this story, lot's of interferences.

Reviewed by Njkinnyon June 5, 2015 - A sparkling murder mystery..Must Read!

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

Rosemary Barton, a most beautiful, charming albeit wool headed wealthy woman dies mysteriously by cyanide poisoning on her birthday. Police determine her death to be suicide and the case is closed but did Rosemary committed suicide or was she killed?

Supposedly always around, Rosemary is dead but not forgotten and when her husband starts to doubt the police verdict, it's like everything is happening all over again. Secrets are revealed, new revelations made to shock everyone and then people start dying all over again!

It is just like Agatha Christie to go and make a simple suicide into a murder mystery that will keep your eyes glued to the book and your mouth open in astonishment. Initially published as a short story named Yellow Iris, I have read Sparkling Cyanide numerous times but the jolt that comes when the mystery is solved is still there even after so many readings. The intense human study and the shocking revelations that she makes in her book about people is enlightening and definitely an eye opener.

Do we really know anyone? Even the people we love and whose presence we take for granted like our parents, siblings etc.?

“How little you might know of a person after living in the same house with them!” is so true. Just like the new revelations about Rosemary after her death shocked Iris, her younger sister, I was also hard pressed to re-evaluate how much I really know about my loved ones or even myself!

The mystery is expertly sketched to keep the reader biting his nails and stressing his mind to determine the solution. I did get a hint about the killer but then was skillfully thrown off track by the author. Proving that she is indeed the Queen of Crime, this murder mystery is one of my favourites and a must-read.

The characters take the story forward. Not the events, not the settings but the people. Different personas are sketched and developed and the author shows a varied personality set in this book. Each has a motive to kill and a secret to hide but ultimately who did kill is left for the reader to determine.

Colonel Race makes an appearance in this book and while not the only man to solve the case, his assuring presence and intuitive mind had me reliving my adventure with him in The Man In The Brown Suit mystery by Agatha Christie where he made his first appearance. Here the Colonel is mostly in the background but still an important part in solving the case.

Rosemary Barton is dead but her character is brought alive by the various narratives by the characters in the book and a new glimpse shed on her character through the clues that come to light. A certain supernatural element is associated with her which is handled so beautifully that it made this murder mystery a step above the other mystery classics.

All in all, I absolutely love Sparkling Cyanide and can re-read it any number of times. A full 5 on 5 from me and strongly recommended to everyone. Go read this book. It is not to be missed!

This review is also available on my blog Njkinny's World of Books & Stuff

Reviewed by Kiwifloraon October 3, 2014 - Murder at the Dinner Table

Isn't she wonderful, the most widely published author in the English language after the Bible and Shakespeare! She isn't called the Queen of Mystery for nothing. Imagine having this fantastic storyteller as your grandmother. Bedtime stories sure would be something else! I haven't read Agatha Chrisite for years and years, and ambling through the library one day recently, waiting for something to pop out at me, this did! Like so many of her stories, this murder involves just a small group of people, intimately linked to the deceased, with more than likely one of the remainings to no longer alive at the end of it all. So as well as pondering over who did it, you are also left pondering who isn't going to make it.

The title refers to the means of death - cyanide in a glass of French champagne. Rosemary Barton is the first deceased, whose death at the dinner table, with previously mentioned small group of people, opens the story. The remaining characters are her older husband George, her younger sister Iris, her husband's personal assistant Ruth, her lover Stephen Farraday, another male 'friend' Anthony Browne and lastly Sandra, the wife of Stephen Farraday. All with their intriguing back stories, and their motives, but do they have the means? And who else won't be left standing by the end?

Brilliant stuff, such insight and understanding into the human condition, what motivates us, and why we behave in certain ways. And she writes so easily, making her novels very readable and compelling. With the last of the Hercule Poirot TV movies starring David Suchet being made this year, hopefully interest will be revived in the marvellous and timeless books written by Agatha Christie.

Reviewed by Donna McLeanon April 17, 2012 - Cheers to Sparkling Cyanide!

*spoiler free guarantee*

Six people gather at a swanky 40's era nightclub to celebrate the birthday of the beautiful but self-absorbed Rosemary Barton, who lifts her champagne glass for a toast at midnight and drops dead on the expensive silk tablecloth the very next minute.
This novel was originally a Hercule Poirot short story, Yellow Iris, with similar settings and characters but a completely different ending. Poirot doesn't appear in the novel. As a Christie fan I have a particular fondness for both versions of the story, and the novel is notable in that it presents a different form of storytelling than the typical mystery. In Part One, the six characters who were present when Rosemary died each tell their story of what happened that fateful night and the months preceding it. In this way the reader is given insight into the lives and minds of the suspects and may, perhaps, begin piecing together the jigsaw puzzle toward the eventual conclusion of the mystery. The remaining two parts of the novel revert to the usual straightforward style of a murder mystery, telling us "what happens next" and keeping us turning pages in suspense until the satisfactory conclusion is reached and the murderer revealed, in deft Agatha Christie style. If you like a classy whodunit in the grand tradition, you will not be disappointed in Sparkling Cyanide.

Reviewed by Kasia S.VINE VOICEon November 28, 2010 - Decadent and wonderful, a perfect mystery

With an exception of one Miss Marple mystery, all of my other reads from Christie had Hercule Poirot in them so I was amused to find that this was the last novel for Colonel Race who does the sleuthing in this book, apparently he's been in a few of other works penned by the infamous queen of crime. All I can say is better late than never! This was such a fun read, the characters were all so absolutely over the top that it made them memorable yet flawed enough to all be guilty, some were snobs, other socially inept, few unsavory and perhaps questionable and others supposingly pure but with an air of fakeness about them..Needless to say this was as entertaining to read as it was to solve and whether the reader guesses or not, there this is a satisfying mystery to read. It's a tricky story, one that almost had no explanation but with so many motives there had to be a thread of truth somewhere, the journey begins and manages to hit many peaks before it's wonderful ending, and it's a good one...

The tale opens with the death of Rosemary Barton, a rich and glamorous bombshell who has celebrated her last birthday at the super posh "Luxembourg" restaurant. Upon drinking her celebratory glass of champagne she is suddenly struck dead, her gloriously shiny mane covers the plate upon which she hits her face, her life on this Earth has come to an end, but is it by her own choice or did someone else decide for her? Some speculate suicide stating she had a cold on top of her latest outburst with depression while others think of foul play, sadly time is unable to bring an answer but the case is stirred once again at the one year anniversary of Rosemary's death. Her husband Geroge gets some hand written notes saying that her death was not suicide, that his wife was in fact murdered in cold blood. Deep interest spiked with anger propels him on a quest to recreate her last birthday dinner to catch the killer, it's only fitting that someone present at the time of her death was the one who has done the deed and someone else has seen it but couldn't come out in the open. The dinner is scheduled, the guests nervous for different reasons, the reader gets to see more of the relationships between Rosemary and each guest, some positive and some quite surprising, the ending is like a snow ball, it rolls of that cliff and only gets larger as it gets to the bottom, demolishing everything on its path. I adored the story and where it was going, the guilt was like a pet rabbit, jumping on everyone and giving me a reason to suspect them. This was a rich and well crafted read, hard to figure out at times and later obvious in other spots and it's something that I want to re-read again to get maximum enjoyment from the story and it's well crafted corridors, this was quite an adventure, one that will stay with me for a while.

Reviewed by Howard Kayon December 1, 2014 - One of Her Best!

As others have mentioned no Poirot in this one, which I find refreshing. There is no sidekick who can't figure out how to tie his own shoes and whose sole purpose is to show the genius of Poirot. The investigators here are neither dunces nor infallible which really makes this a treat. The story unfolds gradually. The characters are multi sided which adds to the interest and intrigue.

Reviewed by Antoinette Kleinon May 7, 2001 - Death From the Past Lends Itself To Great Detective Story

Agatha Christie goes back in time to solve a murder. The victim was Rosemary Barton who died the year before the story begins. She was celebrating her birthday with husband and friends at a fashionable restaurant when she apparently took her own life. Because no one present had any desire to kill her and cyanide was found in the depressed woman's purse, suicide was accepted as the cause of death. Nine months later, her husband George begins receiving anonymous letters saying the death was not what it appeared. These hints of murder lead George to suspect that one guest at the dinner party did indeed kill his wife. The killer strikes again a year later when an almost identical party is held at the same restaurant to celebrate the birthday of Rosemary's younger sister Iris.
Who was the beautiful heiress Rosemary Barton? Through the words of each of the characters, the reader gets various versions of Rosemary---her personality, her lovers, her love affairs, her marriage, her death.
Once again, Christie gives us memorable characters: Iris, the younger sister who failed to inherit but would receive all on Rosemary's death; George, the husband who just might be resenting her philandering ways; Ruth Lessing, George's faithful secretary; Anthony Browne, her gentleman friend with a notorious past; Stephen Faraday, one of her lovers; and Sandra Faraday, Stephen's wife.
Colonel Race, a recurring character in Christie novels, appears in this one as a family friend of the Bartons who is called in by George to find the killer.
In 1983 this novel was adapted to television. Unfortunately, by moving the setting from England to California and updating the plot, much of Christie's excellent novel suffered.

Reviewed by Jeanne TassottoVINE VOICEon June 26, 2005 - A treat for Col. Race fans

Charming socialite Rosemary Barton had committed suicide during her birthday party. Or had she been murdered? She had been a bit depressed after a prolonged bout of the flu but Rosemary had everything to live for, she was young, rich, had both a devoted husband and a lover. And why choose a busy glamorous restaurant during a dinner party held in her honor? Over the next few months doubts began to surface over Rosemary's death, but if she had been murdered then who could have done it but a guest at her party - her husband, adoring younger sister, loyal secretary, friend, her lover or his unsuspecting wife? Then the second murder happened.....

This 1943 mystery (also published as REMEMBERED DEATH) is told from the points of view of starting with Iris, Rosemary's younger sister, shifting to the other members of the ill-fated dinner party. The detective called in here to solve the crime is the mysterious Col. Race.

As always with a Christie novel the clues are all fairly laid out for the reader to follow, the mystery is clever with some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Reviewed by Michele L. Worleyon February 17, 2002 - Remembered Death: Rosemary, for remembrance

If you're interested in an audio edition, I recommend the unabridged narration by Robin Bailey, who's always good. At least one film adaptation exists under the title _Sparkling Cyanide_, made in 1983, but with the action moved to California. (However, the top-billed screenwriter was Sue Grafton.) The book's original title is _Remembered Death_, which better describes the story.
Six people are remembering Rosemary Barton, who died a year ago; the 3rd-person viewpoint changes in each of the first six chapters to give us their knowledge and opinions about her and her death. Each attended her final birthday party at the Luxembourg, and saw her die of cyanide poisoning. The verdict was suicide while of unsound mind (depression after influenza, since no other motive was apparent.)
Iris was always put in the shade by her glamorous, beautiful elder sister during their mother's lifetime, as their mother concentrated on Rosemary's first Season and subsequent marriage, but she knew her turn would come. Even their honorary uncle Paul left all his money to Rosemary, to go to Iris only after Rosemary's death.
Ruth Lessing, the young, perfect secretary to Rosemary's husband, George, organized his life, but certainly not his marriage. George even entrusted her with the task of paying off Victor Drake, Rosemary's unsatisfactory cousin, and seeing him off to South America. Victor amused himself by making Ruth see just how much she disliked featherhead Rosemary, and how much better off George would have been if he'd married Ruth instead.
Stephen Farraday, ambitious M.P., married the woman who could best further his career; when he met Rosemary, he succumbed to emotional madness and began an affair with her. In the end, he regretted it when Rosemary began to speak of divorce and remarriage, which would break him politically. Sandra Farraday, suffering the tortures of the damned, wonders how Stephen can imagine that she didn't know.
Tony Browne, one of Rosemary's social hangers-on, was alarmed that (through disreputable Victor) she knew about his criminal record; with so much less brains and character than Iris, she might give him away at any time.
Finally, George Barton, a middle-aged financier who deeply loved Rosemary, and who knew that she married him because she wanted a stable home life with a man she liked, rather than loved, lost both brightness and pain when she died. He's become suspicious of the circumstances of her death, and is staging another dinner party at the Luxembourg with the same guests. Colonel Race refused to attend.
The party ends with George Barton's murder (cyanide again), and Race gets involved in the investigation when he reveals George's suspicions to the police. The stage setting of the murder(s?) is much like that in the Poirot story "Yellow Iris", incidentally, but don't let that lead you astray.
This would be a good novel even without the question of the second death; the characters are developed beautifully, and the opening gambit of changing viewpoint is lovely. There are other aspects to care about: the Farradays' marriage, the developing love affair between Iris and Tony Browne, impressive Ruth Lessing, and even Iris' gullible aunt (who has spoiled her son Victor all his life).

Reviewed by A New Christie Fanon December 29, 2007 - One of my favorites

Sparkling Cyanide is definitely one of my favorite Agatha Christie novels. I love the setting in which the big bang of the story takes place: in a fancy restaurant with the lights out after a big musical number. Just imagine the setting as being in those 1950s night clubs, like in the I Love Lucy episodes. The murder takes place during a birthday bash, when the lights are turned off to bring in the cake. Cyanide is dropped into the birthday girl's champagne. Once the lights are turned back on, the birthday girl is found dead, slumped over the table.

You'll have to find out how the story revolves around this murder scene. I thought the pacing was really nice. The characters were very interesting, and if memory serves me right, the novel is narrated from the perspectives of several of the members present at the birthday party. In the end, the husband, of the woman murdered, tries to reenact the murder scene by holding a "birthday" reunion at the same restaurant a year later hoping that he'll be able to catch the murderer the second time around.

Reviewed by Carver Greenon May 1, 2008 - WILL SOMEONE LET THE WOMAN SPEAK?

What "improvements" have been made for the St. Martin's Minotaur edition? There are already major differences in punctuation, word choices, and scene breaks between the original Collins and Dodd Mead (REMEMBERED DEATH) editions of this novel. There are further differences between the Dodd Mead editions republished by Random House/Avenel and the Dodd Mead editions republished by Simon & Shuster/Pocket. There are further additions still in the Signet, Bantam, Berkley, and Black Dog & Leventhal editions. For every publishing house putting out her works, there seem to be a new batch of editors altering Agatha Christie's words and the sound of her voice. What's the matter with these publishers? Whose voice do they think we want to hear when we sit down to a novel by Agatha Christie? And what will she sound like twenty years from now? It's frightening that her estate has failed to see the importance of guarding her words as she wrote them. Please tell me I'm not the only one here who senses that a crime has been committed.

Reviewed by PortCityDeDeon June 10, 2016 - Loved it...

This tale really kept me guessing til the end. I got the culprit right but for the wrong reasons . Another enjoyable read. Onto the next Christie book.

Reviewed by Katieon February 1, 2004 - Still My Favorite Christie

Sparkling Cyanide, also published as "Remembered Death" was the first book by Agatha Christie that I ever read, and it is still my favorite.
The story centers around the death of Rosemary Barton. What is so interesting about this story is the fact that it is a year after Rosemary has died and the reader needs to piece together what actually happened through remembrances of others.
Whether you're just looking for a good way to spend a rainy afternoon or you're looking for a challenging mystery, this is a story every Christie fan should read.

Reviewed by Larry Ton March 29, 2016 - Agatha Rocks!

If you're not familiar with Agatha Christie you have a treat coming. She's still the best.

Reviewed by Kittyon July 27, 2014 - I loved it. I'm just a fan of Agatha Christie ...

Finished this book a few days ago. I loved it. I'm just a fan of Agatha Christie and I love her books. But this book was like, OH MY GAWD at some points. I don't wanna give spoilers so. It's just good in my opinion.

by Agatha Christie - Sparkling Cyanide
Reviewed by Amazon Customeron November 29, 2009

This book is a must read for mystery lovers. It is a great book with a lot of suspense. The case is very clever what with everybody having a motive. This novel will keep you on your toes wondering who is the murderer and the reader suspects everybody... except the murdered!

Reviewed by A. Simmonson July 31, 2014 - Five Stars

I've never read an Agatha Christie that I didn't like.

Reviewed by D. Shreveon July 27, 2014 - Five Stars

excellent condition

Reviewed by A customeron September 7, 2001 - Who Mixed the Cyanide Cocktail?

It was certainly no way to celebrate Rosemary's birthday. On the other hand, each guest at the party had a motive for her murder.
It was a mystery alright, so a year later, on the same date, another party was held to trap the killer. But instead...death struck again!

Reviewed by A customeron February 22, 2001 - JUST PURELEY AWESOME

This was such a great book, this was my first time reading Christie's books and it is already one of my favorites of all time. It is so clever and not a typical murder mystery you will often read. Get it, read it, you'll love it

Reviewed by A customeron February 22, 2001 - TRULY AWESOME

This was such a great book, this was my first time reading Christie's books and it's an all time favorite. It is so clever and not a typical murder mystery you will often read. Get it, read it, you'll love it

Reviewed by A customeron May 25, 1999 - Very very good

Sparkling Cyanide was very good. The suspense was high and the characters were realistic. The wa everyone had a motive was clever. THis book is a must read for any mystery lover.

Next.. Sparkling Cyanide

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