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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

The last of the Colonel Race mysteries

Sparkling Cyanide - Agatha Christie

I listened to this one on audiobook - rather out of order, as it turns out, since this is the last of the Colonel Race books. I've not read Colonel Race 1 through 4, so, obviously, I didn't read them in the right order.


But, that's all right. Because Agatha wrote in the decades before the cliff hanger, and she didn't really do multi-book narrative arcs. So, it's all good.


My husband and I drove down to Eugene, Oregon today for the spring scrimmage. It was a gorgeous day, sunny, warm-ish, and Autzen stadium was full of duck fans. It was really a great time. For our drive, I recapped him on what had happened so far in the book, and we queued it up. We didn't quite finish it before we got home, so we muted the golf and finished it up in the comfort of our family room.


I honestly had paid little attention to the fact that Christie wrote more than Poirot/Marple books. I organized up a Christie reread project on my primary blog yesterday, and was stunned to learn that she had written a few more Inspector Battle books (I loved The Secret of Chimneys, after all), a short series with a pair of sleuths name Tommy and Tuppence (I've never read any of these), the Colonel Race books, as well as a few straight up stand-alones, and a whole bunch of short story collections.


Nary a Poirot or Marple to be found in Sparkling Cyanide. 


I wouldn't call this one of her best, but we both really enjoyed it. It was fun to listen with someone, because we were able to bounce solutions - the crazier the better - off of each other. The solution was clever (aren't they always) but firmly guessable. I figured it out before the end, although not a lot before the end. There is both a mechanical puzzle to solve (how did the cyanide get into the champagne glass) and an identification puzzle (the whodunnit). 


There's even a bit of a romance thrown in, just for fun. It's a Christie romance - not particularly developed, little focus, although it is important to the solution.


Nowhere near as brilliant as Murder on the Orient Express, not as charming as The Secret of Chimneys, and not as confounding as The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. But still a lot of fun.