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Book Review--> Sparkling Cyanide (Colonel Race #4) by Agatha Christie

Title and Author: Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie
No. of Pages: 288
Series: Colonel Race #4
Publication Date: 1944
Genre: Mystery, Classics, Crime, British Writing, Murder Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Supernatural
Language: English

Book Review:

“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!

Some other quotes I loved in Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie:

“Most successes are unhappy. That's why they are successes-they have to reassure themselves about themselves by achieving something that the world will notice.... The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves that they don't give a damn.” 

“Most successes are unhappy. That's why they are successes - they have to reassure about themselves by achieving something that the world will notice.” 

“Yes it was a lie – and yet in a queer way it wasn't. I'm beginning to believe that it was true. Oh, try and understand, Sandra¨. You know the people who always have a noble and good reason to mask their meaner actions? The people who 'have to be honest' when they want to be unkind, who 'thought it their duty to repeat so and so, 'who are such hypocrites to themselves that they go through to their life's end convinced that every mean and beastly action was done in a spirit of unselfishness! Try and realise that the opposite of those people can exist too. People who are so cynical, so distrustful of themselves and of life that they can only belive in their bad motives. You were the woman I needed. That at least is true. And I do honestly believe, now, looking back on it, that if it hadn't been true, I should never have gone through with it.”

Buying Links
Flipkart: Paperback | Ebook
Amazon IN: Paperback | Kindle Ebook
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  1. I love Agatha Christie. Saw her on Doctor Who the other night, lol.

  2. I just love her books. They are ingenious and so enlightening, not to mention their entertainment quota :)


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