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Sparkling Cyanide

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Sparkling Cyanide First Edition Cover 1945


Sparkling Cyanide is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie andggj first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in February 1945 under the title of Remembered Death and in UK by the Collins Crime Club in the December of the same year under Christie's original title.

The book features the last recorded appearance of the recurring supporting character and some time detective Colonel Race. The book is also a reworking of an earlier short story entitled Yellow Iris which had previously been published in issue 559 of the Strand Magazine in July 1937 and in book form in [[The Regatta Mystery] and Other Stories]] in the US in 1939. It was published in the UK in Problem at Pollensa Bay in 1991. The full-length novel omits the character of Poirot.

The novel uses the basics of the short story, including the method of the poisoning, but changes the identity of the culprit(s).

SPOILERS One year ago on November 2, seven people sat down to dinner at the Luxembourg. One of them, Rosemary Barton, never got up. She was thought to have committed suicide due to post-flu depression. Her husband, George Barton, received anonymous letters saying that Rosemary did not kill herself but was murdered. George started to investigate and decided to reconstruct the dinner at the same restaurant, inviting the same people, except that he had asked an actress who looked like his late wife to come too - but that actress never did, and instead George died, in the same way Rosemary did - cyanide in his glass. His death could have been dismissed as suicide too but his friend Colonel Race investigated. The intended victim was actually Rosemary's sister, Iris - who was now a rich 18-year old, having inherited the money from Rosemary (the money did not pass to her husband because the uncle who left the money to Rosemary willed that the money was to go to Iris if Rosemary died childless, which she did). If she had died, her fortune would have gone to Victor Drake, a cousin who plotted her death together with Ruth Lessing, George's secretary. However, the wrong person died, because when the group went off to dance, Iris dropped her bag, and a young waiter retrieved the bag and placed it one seat away from her actual seat. Hence when Iris returned from the dance to sit down, she was not sitting at her original place. As a result, George sat at her original place, drank her poisoned glass of drink and died in her stead. Ruth had even left a pack of cyanide in Iris' bag, just like she did in Rosemary's case, to re-stage another death by suicide. Victor was disguised as a guest sitting at a nearby table with a blonde. At one stage, he disguised himself as a waiter to introduce the cyanide to Iris' glass. Not giving up, Victor Drake and Ruth even tried to run Iris down with a car but Iris did not realise her life was in danger as everyone still thought that George was the intended murder victim, apparently murdered by Rosemary murderer to stop him from unveiling the truth. Eventually, Colonel Race together with Inspector Kemp and Anthony Browne, suitor of Iris, unravelled the truth and saved Iris from being gassed to death - Ruth had hit Iris on the head and arranged her in Iris' room to make Iris appear as if she committed suicide by gassing herself in her room. The anonymous letters to George were sent by Ruth, to induce him to re-stage the dinner at the Luxembourg so that Victor and Ruth could re-stage death by suicide of Iris.

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