Agatha Christie is more than the most popular mystery writer of all time. In a career that spans over half a century, her name is synonymous with brilliant deception, ingenious puzzles, and the surprise denouement. By virtually inventing the modern mystery novel she has earned her title as the Queen of Crime. Curious? Then you're invited to read...
It's been less than a year since beautiful heiress Rosemary Barton took her own life during a birthday dinner in her honor. Her...read more
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful: Remembered Death: Rosemary, for remembrance, February 17, 2002 Reviewer: M. L. Worley from Kingdom of the Mouse, United States If you're interested in an audio edition, I recommend the unabridged narration by Robin Bailey, who's always good. At least one film adaptation exists under the title _Sparkling Cyanide_, made in 1983, but with the action moved to California. (However, the top-billed screenwriter was Sue Grafton.) The book's original title is _Remembered Death_, which better describes the story. Six people are remembering Rosemary Barton, who died a year ago; the 3rd-person viewpoint changes in each of the first six chapters to give us their knowledge and opinions about her and her death. Each attended her final birthday party at the Luxembourg, and saw her die of cyanide poisoning. The verdict was suicide while of unsound mind (depression after influenza, since no other motive was apparent.) Iris was always put in the shade by her glamorous, beautiful elder sister during their mother's lifetime, as their mother concentrated on Rosemary's first Season and subsequent marriage, but she knew her turn would come. Even their honorary uncle Paul left all his money to Rosemary, to go to Iris only after Rosemary's death. Ruth Lessing, the young, perfect secretary to Rosemary's husband, George, organized his life, but certainly not his marriage. George even entrusted her with the task of paying off Victor Drake, Rosemary's unsatisfactory cousin, and seeing him off to South America. Victor amused himself by making Ruth see just how much she disliked featherhead Rosemary, and how much better off George would have been if he'd married Ruth instead. Stephen Farraday, ambitious M.P., married the woman who could best further his career; when he met Rosemary, he succumbed to emotional madness and began an affair with her. In the end, he regretted it when Rosemary began to speak of divorce and remarriage, which would break him politically. Sandra Farraday, suffering the tortures of the damned, wonders how Stephen can imagine that she didn't know. Tony Browne, one of Rosemary's social hangers-on, was alarmed that (through disreputable Victor) she knew about his criminal record; with so much less brains and character than Iris, she might give him away at any time. Finally, George Barton, a middle-aged financier who deeply loved Rosemary, and who knew that she married him because she wanted a stable home life with a man she liked, rather than loved, lost both brightness and pain when she died. He's become suspicious of the circumstances of her death, and is staging another dinner party at the Luxembourg with the same guests. Colonel Race refused to attend. The party ends with George Barton's murder (cyanide again), and Race gets involved in the investigation when he reveals George's suspicions to the police. The stage setting of the murder(s?) is much like that in the Poirot story "Yellow Iris", incidentally, but don't let that lead you astray. This would be a good novel even without the question of the second death; the characters are developed beautifully, and the opening gambit of changing viewpoint is lovely. There are other aspects to care about: the Farradays' marriage, the developing love affair between Iris and Tony Browne, impressive Ruth Lessing, and even Iris' gullible aunt (who has spoiled her son Victor all his life).