DCIB Book Club: Sparkling Cyanide, My Favorite Christie!!!!

Did I already label some other book as my favorite Christie? Oh well, that was a lie, this is my REAL favorite Christie.

This is a really unusual Christie in format. It’s a past/present mystery, which she likes doing a lot, that’s not super new. There’s a new murder that happens in the present and it makes everyone dig into and tell stories about the past. This book adds on to that by having varying perspectives on both past and present. And the final thing, the actual “mystery” is kind of unimportant. Like, it’s got the typical Christie “it is very simple once you work it out, they simply did blah blah blah” solution, but what’s far more important is the emotional resolution of the past issues that are lingering into the present.

Now, I am going to spoil the whole thing! In the past, a beautiful woman Rosemary was killed while in the midst of a love quadrangle. There was her boring husband, her dashing charming suitor, and her passionate mad secret affair with a politician. Now, in the present day, her boring husband is still dealing with his mixed emotions over the death of a wife he knew never really loved him, the charming suitor has re-appeared and is courting her little sister who isn’t quite sure he really loves her, and the politician deeply regrets the affair and is still afraid his wife will find out.

Sparkling Cyanide (TV Movie 2003) - IMDb

The solution to the mystery doesn’t really matter, ultimately the solution is “it was done by characters we don’t really care about for reasons that don’t really matter”. What matters is this idea of the past blurring into the present because the issues were not fully resolved. At the end of the book, Rosemary’s little sister says that she is now aware that Rosemary’s spirit has been watching over them, sensed that things were incomplete, and came back not as an evil ghost haunting them but as a protective spirit trying to bring a happy ending.

Okay, now important discussion questions!

Who is the most interesting female character? Efficient secretary Ruth, pure Iris, scary intense Sandra, beautiful Rosemary?

I actually find Ruth the LEAST interesting. The whole “efficient emotionless facade hides passion” is sort of blah. Next least interesting, tragically, is Iris. She is so dull that it almost feels on purpose, which in itself is sort of interesting. That Anthony Browne, super cool dude, falls for her just because he falls for her, this simple sweet nice young woman. Sandra is my second most interesting choice, the whole late reveal that she knew everything her husband was hiding from her all along and didn’t care (he married her for position, he had an affair, etc. etc.) is fascinating. But it’s Rosemary who, in the end, I find most interesting! She is dismissed as pretty and silly and spoiled. And then we end with the concept that her spirit was living around to protect all of them, wanting to protect her little sister who had almost forgotten her.

Who is the most interesting male character? Mysterious Anthony, ambitious Stephen, troubled George?

Ambitious Stephen is a little interesting because of that whole “I liked my whole life, but actually it was the truth I was just afraid to admit it to myself” thing. Troubled George I find slightly more interesting just as a character, the idea that he is this very boring straight forward person who is struggling to handle an unusual idea for the first time in his life, that’s something we don’t usually see. But Anthony I find MOST interesting! Not for his exciting spy past, but for his dull present. To have someone who traveled the world and was all DANGEROUS and all that, and then he just wants to marry a nice young woman from a good family and settle down is super interesting.

Was the solution to the mystery too lame or will you allow it?

The “character who has been mentioned twice was secretly there in disguise” was SUPER lame. But on the other hand, the “it was all about Iris in the end” was cool. In a feminist/social kind of way even, both Rosemary and Iris were only seen in relationship to the men around them. But actually it was about their money and the inheritance between the two sisters, not George, not Anthony, not Stephen, none of that.

Final question, how cool was the line “I felt like Romeo remembering Rosalind when seeing Juliet”?

Not sure if I got it word for word correct, but HOW FREAKIN’ COOL IS THAT LINE????

And finally, CASTING!!!!

Anthony Browne: Sid M

Iris: Alia

Rosemary: Katrina

George: Anil Kapoor

Sandra: Tabu

Stephen: Ajay Devgan.

15 thoughts on “DCIB Book Club: Sparkling Cyanide, My Favorite Christie!!!!

  1. Pingback: DCIB बुक क्लब: स्पार्कलिंग साइनाइड, माई फेवरेट क्रिस्टी !!!! - Dailyhant

  2. Pingback: DCIB Book Club: Sparkling Cyanide, My Favorite Christie!!!! » Filmybilla

  3. Pingback: DCIB Ebook Membership: Glowing Cyanide, My Favourite Christie!!!! » Filmybilla

  4. When casting Rosemary & Sandra need to be about the same age. Tabu is too old for the role. Ajay is also too old to be Stephen. The guy who plays the final cop in Pushpa, he would be a good Stephen. Okay, Stephen and Sandra were my favorite characters BY FAR. Maybe Anushka could be Sandra.

    Anthony Browne was my LEAST favorite character as he had no true motivation or reality. He was fond a gorgeous airhead but then fell for her super shy & innocent 17 year old sister? NO. But maybe Sid M. could make him beleavable. And why exactly did Rosemary want him at her party? That made no sense. Oh wait, Sid can’t play him, he’s supposed to be a good dancer.

    I would like to pat myself on the back for figuring out who the murderer was from just before the second murder. I enjoyed the book, read it in one day, but at the end was disgusted with the love between the sister and secret agent, way weird.

    Like

    • Stephen and Sandra have to be a couple that feel totally united. The final cop in Pushpa (Fahad Faazil) would be a perfect Stephen, very good at shut down and intellectual but with a fire underneath. But we would need to cast a Sandra who feels like his second half, right? So equally odd looking, intelligent, shut down. Hmmm. Not Anushka I think because she is both too pretty and too open feeling. Maybe Bhumi Pednakar? Or Radhike Apte? I’m picturing sort of proper but dowdy clothes, glasses, plain hair.

      Sid M can make anyone likeable! Also, I am impressed you solved the murder too. I was completely surprised on my first read both by the reveal of who it was and the reveal of who the true target was.

      On Sun, Feb 13, 2022 at 12:10 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

  5. I don’t believe in ghosts, and the book left it to my imagination, so Rosemary doesn’t get that mitigating factor from me. I felt that if she’d been more than the airhead Anthony and Stephen saw, we’d have heard more to that effect from George and Iris.
    You’re ultimately right about Ruth, though. The ease by which Victor was able to turn her makes her character unbelievable and therefore uninteresting.
    I’m torn between Iris and Sandra.
    For a while there, I thought the Farradays were going the classic route of “each thinks the other did it”, which would have predestined Sandra for the second murder. In the end I think it makes her a stronger person that she could just sit there and wait for the trap to spring. Plus, she is intelligent enough to really help her husband with his career. That’s always a plus.
    Iris isn’t a sparkling personality all by herself, but she is our first viewpoint into the whole mess and is in a pretty dramatic and interesting situation, knowing about the letters and so on. And I really, really like how smart she is regarding Anthony, NOT eloping with him and keeping enough of her money to not depend on him.

    Anthony was boring for turning out to be a good guy after all. We weren’t really in George’s head long enough to fully feel his impossible situation. So that leaves Stephen, who at least has the realization going for him that he actually does love his wife.

    I’m not very familiar with Mysteries, so I was pretty impressed with the “round table” solution. It wouldn’t have been realistic in any restaurant I’ve ever been, but after all, these were supposedly some of the best waiters ever. They just might have cleared the table that thoroughly and refilled everyone’s glass to the exact same level. And I was feeling that Victor would still have a role to play. He was definitely mentioned more than twice.

    Like

    • Farradays for the WIN! Again!!! I love that truth/untruth solution to their relationship, that they really did fall in love at first sight, sort of. And that Sandra is so tough compared to the other women, she is smart like Ruth without being resentful and blind, she is classy like Iris, and she gives all for love like Rosemary but with clear eyes. And then Stephen, at least he accomplishes things in his job and thinks at a higher level.

      On Mon, Feb 14, 2022 at 3:15 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

  6. The most interesting characters for me were Sandra and Stephan, not most likeable but I still found myself rooting for them. I like your interpretation of Rosemary, and I did enjoy the twist at the end that she was there to protect not to haunt. The relationship between George and Iris was also lovely. I disliked Ruth from the start, so well, yay.

    I was invested enough in the characters to not worry about whether the ending was ingenious… Just as long as the folks I liked were safe! This reminds me of a Ngaio Marsh novel, Surfeit of Lampreys. Have you read that one? I cared so much for the Lampreys that it didn’t matter who did it as long as that precious family was protected and the journey to the ending was enjoyable in itself.

    Like

    • PS That is not to say though that one of the Lampreys did not commit the murder! They may very well have but the book was still wonderful 🙂

      Like

    • I did read Surfeit of Lampreys! But now I can’t remember. Let me hop over and google. Oh! It’s the one with the lovely loving family who never has enough money and then surprisingly inherits!

      On Sun, Feb 20, 2022 at 1:43 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

  7. Late, but I finally finished it (work has kept me pretty busy lately) and I enjoyed it! I don’t think the ending was as much of a letdown as Murder on the Orient Express – that’s been the one ending of Christie’s that was really a disappointment for me – but I do think it would have been more interesting if Iris had been the killer. That would have explained making her character so dull. That she was in fact hiding a murderous nature. I just don’t really get why Anthony would have been so interested in her, although I didn’t find him all that interesting either. Or, perhaps to be fair, I didn’t find myself particularly invested in their romance, especially compared with Stephen & Sandra who were really bringing it. Anyway, in answer to your questions:
    1) Sandra!! Although I think they overdid it with comparisons to her ‘medieval’ nature, I really liked her romance with Stephen. Their loyalty and devotion once it was revealed that Rosemary was murdered was touching, and their’s is the kind of romance that I want to see more of.
    2) George. I like that he went into his marriage with open eyes. He wasn’t simply a cuckold, but know that being married to Rosemary meant having to put up with her affairs and still loving her in spite of them all.
    3) I’ll allow the ending because it was better than Murder On the Orient Express.

    Like

    • With George, I found it really interesting that he, Rosemary, and Iris all understood the unspoken rule that she could have light affairs but not serious ones. Iris knew it would break his heart if he found out about Rosemary’s passionate love letters, and Rosemary was worried about him too. Very subtle understanding there, that she would be a woman who needed many admirers, but wasn’t supposed to actually fall in real love.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.