Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Agatha Christie's Sparkling Cyanide (AKA Remembered Death)


DorothyL, the listserv where many of my favorite mystery people hang out, has started its own book discussion. The first title is Sparkling Cyanide, and the discussion begins in August. I have run two book groups myself, and I'm looking forward to see how one is run as part of a listserv.

I've read (I think) 4 Agatha Christie titles:
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Hercule Poirot's Christmas
And Then There Were None (AKA Ten Little Indians, & other titles)
Sparkling Cyanide

While The Murder of Roger Ackroyd has an incredible twist to it, I believe I enjoyed Sparkling Cyanide the most. I thought the character description and development was very good, and the story was well told. I didn't guess "whodunnit", but, then, I almost never do :).

Spoiler Alert (don't read this part if you're planning on reading And Then There Were None):



Both my husband and I read And Then There Were None for Magna Cum Murder Crime Writing Festival's One Book/One Conference. We both disliked it because the end was wrapped up by a message in a bottle. Sorry to all the Christie fans out there, but, good grief! I'm sure I'll get some comments on that one ;).



End Spoiler Alert

I'm sure I'll get some other comments when I say this: I'm not a huge fan of Agatha Christie. I'm not sure why. I enjoyed watching some (but not all) of the Hercule Poirot TV series, but her books overall haven't grabbed me. I will always try one, usually for a book discussion, as she is one of those who wrote during the Golden Age of Mysteries*, but I don't choose Agatha Christie to read on my own.

For character description and development, and good storytelling, I would definitely recommend Sparkling Cyanide.

Happy Reading!

*"The 1920s ushered in the Golden Age of mystery fiction. A time of growing prosperity in both England and America, the popularity of mystery fiction was at an all-time high. No longer used only to describe the period in history, Golden Age refers as well to the style of writing itself. Crime in these stories strictly adhere to a prescribed format with little or no variation." (quote from )

1 comment:

Patti O said... to me
show details 4:36 AM (4 hours ago) Reply

Well, of course I LOVE Agatha & Sparkling Cyanide is one of my favorites. There are other good ones - The ABC Murders, Halloween Party, The Mirror Crack'd - all wonderful. I find I appreciate them more as I read newer, too long books - she is concise & manages to make her stories unfold naturally. HOWEVER I do agree about 10 Little Indians - that's never been my favorite. Also she's a very funny social commentator - Roger Ackroyd is a good example. In a way she makes it look TOO easy. I would almost compare her to Robert B. Parker. You take him for granted, but he really is good. So is Agatha! But - heresy - there are a few Ngaio Marsh books that put Agatha to shame. I think, Patti, that you've never read one! So get to it!!