Sparkling Cyanide

Agatha Christie, read by a full cast. AudioGO, library edition, unabridged, two CDs, 1.5 hrs., $24.95 ISBN 978-0-7927-8912-3
Sean Baker’s performance of Colonel Race—one of Christie’s minor sleuths, probably best-known for his supporting role in the Hercule Poirot tale Death on the Nile—is reminiscent of the great Clive Merrison’s rendition of Sherlock Holmes. Baker, whether consciously or not, captures Merrison’s crisp enunciation and dry delivery of lines, as Race re-examines the suicide of Rosemary Barton. The case is reopened via a typical Christie plot device: Barton’s widower, George, reconstructs the fatal evening at the same venue, but ends up poisoned himself. This audio production benefits from a stellar full cast, and with a number of potential murderers for the listener to suspect, the distinctive voices of the players—including Naomi Frederick and Colin Tierney—make the mystery all the more compelling. But in a classic whodunit such as this, engagement hangs on the detective, and Baker’s spot-on characterization will make listeners regret that Race appeared in only a handful of books. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2012
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