- originally published 1945, aka REMEMBERED DEATH
- This edition in a collection called SEVEN DEADLY SINS published by Harper Collins in 2004, pp 353-513
- Source: my local library
- sleuth: Colonel Race
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. But which of those present has the murder of Rosemary Barton on their conscience?
In 2003 this novel was adapted for television and starred Pauline Collins and Oliver Ford Davies.
SPARKLING CYANIDE is very carefully constructed, beginning with 5 people remembering the death of Rosemary Barton from cyanide poisoning just a a year before. The coroner brought a verdict of suicide, but recently George, her husband, has received notes leading him to think that perhaps Rosemary was murdered. There seem to be any number of possible murderers.
George decides to set a trap, to hold another celebration at the same nightclub, this time for the birthday of Rosemary's sister Iris. The empty place at the table on the night of Rosemary's death had been for Colonel Johnny Race who had been unable to get there. George Barton had known Colonel Race in India. George invites Race to Iris' birthday party but Race refuses the invitation. Nevertheless George tells everyone that the empty place is for Colonel Race.
When George also dies from cyanide poisoning Colonel Race assists Chief Inspector Kemp from Scotland Yard to work out who is the murderer and what the motive is.
Colonel Race also appears in THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT (1924), CARDS ON THE TABLE (1936) and DEATH ON THE NILE (1937). It is unusual for him to appear on his own, as he is generally plays a supporting role for others like Hercule Poirot. By SPARKLING CYANIDE he is quite elderly.
This is still a cracking good read.
My rating: 4.4