RogerBW's Blog

Sparkling Cyanide 07 February 2023

2012 audio adaptation by Joy Wilkinson of Christie's 1945 mystery, in three 30-minute episodes. The feckless and erratic wife dies of cyanide in the champagne at her birthday party; suicide, everyone supposes. Then a year later her husband recreates the event, and dies the same way…

I confess I rather enjoy the complete ghastliness of Rosemary, portrayed here by Jasmine Hyde. She is so splendidly horrible that it's really only a question of who will kill her first. (Inevitably one does wonder a little how anyone could have fallen for her for long enough to marry her, but one can hardly claim that that sort of thing is unrealistic.)

Joy Wilkinson seems to have more freedom to alter matters than Michael Bakewell did, but she doesn't use it much here. There are some minor variations in detail as to exactly who is where, but nothing that would significantly derail the plot (certainly nothing on the order of the changes that Christie made in expanding the short story Yellow Iris to novel length).

Colonel Race (Sean Baker) manages to avoid the appearance of blimpishness (perhaps because for a change he isn't the Watson to Poirot). Naomi Frederick manages to make Iris-the-ingenue less than completely annoying. It's a decent staging of an enjoyable story.

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