Sparkling Cyanide

  • Novel
  • 1945

A beautiful heiress is fatally poisoned in a West End restaurant. Six people sit down to dinner at a table laid for seven. In front of the empty place is a sprig of rosemary – in solemn memory of Rosemary Barton who died at the same table exactly one year previously. 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.

The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves that they don't give a damn.

Anthony Browne, Sparkling Cyanide

More about this story

The novel was published in February 1945 under the title Remembered Death in the US. It was an extended version of the short story Yellow Iris, which had Hercule Poirot leading the investigation, whereas here he is replaced by Colonel Johnny Race. The novel changed the identity of the culprits as well, a common feature of Agatha Christie’s rewritten works.

In 1983 the story was adapted as a TV film for CBS, set in the modern day and starring Anthony Andrews (although the character of Colonel Race was omitted). 2003 saw it again adapted as a TV film, this time in the UK by Laura Lamson. Again in a modern setting, it was only loosely based on the original story. BBC Radio 4 broadcast a three-part dramatisation of the story in 2012.

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