26 Jan
Pocket Books, a Simon and Schuster division of Gulf & Western Corporation By arrangement with Dodd, Mead & Company 1973 Mystery fiction 194 pages

Pocket Books, a Simon and Schuster division of Gulf & Western Corporation
By arrangement with Dodd, Mead & Company 1973
Mystery fiction paperback 194 pages

I’m not really a fan of Dame Agatha Christie. Most all her who-dun-its seem to fit quite nicely into the same box, with slight variations, of course. Places and characters change names, but there’s always something familiar about them.

I could go into some detail about how someone was murdered, only no one figured it out until a year later; I could describe the cast of characters, all of whom are suspects, based solely on near proximity to the victim when said victim downed a glass of champagne laced with cyanide; characters, as it turns out, with motives and hidden agendas; and of course I could tell you how the widower set up a reenactment of the year old ‘murder’ in the same restaurant with all the same players in order to flush-out the guilty snake. And that would be pretty much it, in a nutshell. Of course, the good guys always get the bad guys in the end. The trick is not knowing who the bad guys are – even if you think you know, you don‘t.

You’ll find all the Agatha Christie elements that make for a good mystery in this story. The same ones peppered throughout her other mystery books. What you won’t find in this Agatha Christie book is Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. This book, originally published in 1943 by The Curtis Publishing Company in Britain under the name of Sparkling Cyanide, plays around with the likes of Chief Inspector Kemp, and Detective Colonel Race instead. They’re not as colorful as Poirot and Marple, but they are entertaining. So then aren’t books supposed to be entertaining? This one was in spite of itself.


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