Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie

New job has forced me to cut back on my reading, but I have managed to finish Sparkling Cyanide from the Queen of Crime. Hopefully as I settle in and things start normalizing I will catch up on my reading and get a few more books read and reviewed.

Rosemary died a year ago, but her memory still lingers not just in the hearts of the ones who loved her but even in those who hated and wanted to forget her. At the Inquest a verdict of Suicide by consuming poison was returned, but Rosemary's widower, George Barton, has now got his hands on certain innuendos that suggest that the poor girl might not have committed suicide but that someone had put cyanide in her Champagne. When looked at things superficially who would want to murder Rosemary? A harmless wife or the heiress, the seductress or a cheating wife. She was a lot of things to a lot of people but only one present on that fateful birthday party of the departed, poisoned her. Now, George with help from Colonel Race wants to solve this murder by Sparkling Cyanide!


After reading 35 odd books from the Christie cannon, I seem to be getting tired of the same old story lines, by no means is this a bad book it is a decent cozy murder mystery with enough plot twists for a novice reader to enjoy but for a seasoned mystery veteran like myself, I daresay that this seem more like kid stuff. At this point in her career I guess dame Christie had started running out of ideas and was recycling the same story lines and characters that she used earlier. Sorry for sounding so critical, but her books are now starting to look redundant. Honestly speaking(or writing in this case) the last time I truly enjoyed a Christie novel was  a year back when I read the wonderful "The Moving Finger". After that whatever I have read from the Christie lore has been mediocre at best, this problem stems from the fact that in her later years Christie never put her characters in unusual or new situations they always were locked in houses, more ever it is a well known and observed fact that Christie was never good with characterization and that is why books where Poirot(yes I did not mention Marple intentionally) is missing seem bereft of a central character.

Another appalling mistake in this book is that it is 300 + pages and is missing any humor, not that Christie was very good at it, but her subtle attempts at jocularity do make her books more readable. That does not mean that this book is not an easy read, was able to breeze through it in two days.

What is the one thing that i think Christie is most famous for? Answer: Its her contrived and complicated plots, also pinning the murder on the least likely suspect. She kind of does not bring both these aspects in "Sparkling Cyanide", the plot is quite common place and murderer seemed more like a compromised choice.
The story has a lot of superfluous details about the lives of the characters and the victim, there is a lot less police work or detective work done in the novel then a regular Christie, clues over which reader can cogitate are a farthing. There is a second murder in the book which is explained by a logic of how people can be misled into where they were seated, now I have a real problem with it, but this being a spoiler free blog, I can't go in details, I will only say this that it is quite weird that people would forget such a thing from my personal observation people immediately realize that they are sitting in the wrong place if they do in fact do that based on the movement of a personal possession.

Over all this is a decent book for beginners but not at all recommended for Mystery lovers. Rating this one as two and a half stars out of five.

Book details:

Original Year of Publishing: 1945
Number of Pages: 336
Edition which I reviewed : Harper Collins 2002
Price: 175
Where Can I buy it? Landmark bookstore


  1. I rather liked this book Rishi but then I read it a long time ago and now perhaps would not find it so gripping. Your review is refreshingly honest. So many would consider it a blasphemy to speak anything against Dame Agatha. :)


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