- Audio Cassette
- Publisher: HarperCollins; Unabridged edition edition (17 November 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007170459
- ISBN-13: 978-0007170456
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3.4 x 13.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 240 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
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Sparkling Cyanide Audio, Cassette – Audiobook, Unabridged
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Audio, Cassette, Audiobook, Unabridged
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“The denoument will probably come as a surprise to nine readers out of ten”
New York Times
“SPARKLING CYANIDE is the one … which I should take with me to a desert island; for I find in it a seriousness and a psychological insight unparalleled in the author’s other works.’ Times Literary Supplement
From the Back Cover
Six people sit down to dinner at a table laid for seven. In front of the empty place is a sprig of rosemary – in solemn memory of Rosemary Barton who died at the same table exactly one year previously.
No one present on that fateful night would ever forget the woman’s face, contorted beyond recognition – or what they remembered about her astonishing life.
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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.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
On another note- This isn't in my top favorites by AC, but it's still a good (& quick) read. It also is not a Poirot or Marple mystery, for those wondering.
I don't think this one rates that highly, but it's a good read. It has more romance than most of her books and I think Christie generally handled romance very awkwardly. But this book has several interesting couples (married and single) and the author's insights into what drives their relationships is a fascinating look into her own experiences and what they taught her. It starts out slowly, so you'll have to be patient, but I think it's worth it.
This book was published in 1945, but it's set in pre-war London. There's some talk of espionage and armaments, but the war that almost destroyed England is ignored. The players are all ladies and gentlemen although their behavior is not always exemplary. Only one has a job. The rest are either independently wealthy, married to wealth, or own their own businesses. No one here is standing in line at the grocery store or walking to save bus fare.
Rosemary Marle Barton is the quintessential society lady. Beautiful, seductive,and self-centered, she married an older man with little to recommend him but his good-natured devotion. And she didn't marry him for the obvious reason since she inherited a large fortune of her own. She married nice, dull George Barton because she wanted to be "safe and taken care of." Would a romantic young girl who lives for flirtations marry for that reason? Seems improbable to me, but then when she finds a man she DOES want, she's ready to abandon her marriage with no remorse. So maybe it makes sense. In 1930's London, divorce was no longer particularly shocking. Easy come, easy go.
Having fallen deeply in love, Rosemary inexplicably commits suicide at her birthday party at a luxurious restaurant . Her husband is crushed, her younger sister (who inherits her money) is stunned, and the man with whom she was planning to elope is secretly relieved. But which man was it?
There are enough cliches in this book to fill a football stadium. There's the dull, stolid businessman, the flirtatious, self-absorbed society beauty, the secretary in love with her boss, the obscure politician who's gained prominence and power by way of a shrewd marriage, there's the elderly widow who dithers mindlessly and her ne'er-do-well son, and there's a mystery man of whom nothing is known except the obvious - that he's good-looking, charming, and well-financed.
The plot pivots around the death of Rosemary Barton. Would a beautiful, wealthy, selfish young woman kill herself in such a painful way, even if she was suffering rejection for the first time in her life? The police are satisfied with the suicide verdict, but her widower has other ideas. And he's determined to do his own detective work.
Christie never met a red herring she didn't like and she throws several into this story. And yet, as she always did, she supplies all the clues. But which is which? At one point, I was convinced that two mystery men were the same person. Was that Ms. Christie's intention or was I over-thinking the whole thing?
Christie was a craftswoman who recognized her own limitations and stuck to her strengths. Her only goal was to write books people would enjoy reading. I think she succeeded with this one.
This is why Agatha is the biggest selling author in the world after the Bible and Shakespeare. She always delivers.