Sparkling cyanide – Agatha Christie
Rosemary – her sister…
With a shock Iris realised suddenly that it was the first time in her life she had ever thought about Rosemary. Thought about her, that is, objectively, as a person.
She had always accepted Rosemary without thinking about her. You didn’t think about your mother or your father or your sister or your aunt. They just existed, unquestioned, in those relationships. You didn’t think about them as people. You didn’t ask yourself, even, what they were like.
What had Rosemary been like? That might be very important now. A lot might depend upon it. Iris cast her mind back. Herself and Rosemary as children… Rosemary had been the elder by six years.
Glimpses of the past came back – brief flashes – short scenes. Herself as a small child eating bread and milk, and Rosemary, important in pig tails, “doing lessons” at a table.
The seaside one summer – Iris envying Rosemary who was a “big girl” and could swim!
Rosemary going to boarding school – coming home for the holidays. Then she herself at school, and Rosemary being “finished” in Paris. Schoolgirl Rosemary; clumsy, all arms and legs. “Finished” Rosemary coming back from Paris with a strange new frightening elegance, soft voiced, graceful, with a swaying undulating figure, with red gold chestnut hair and big black fringed dark blue eyes. A disturbing beautiful creature – grown up – in a different world!
From then on they had seen very little of each other, the six-year gap had been at its widest.
Iris had been still at school. Rosemary in the full swing of a “season.” Even when Iris came home, the gap remained. Rosemary’s life was one of late mornings in bed, fork luncheons with other debutantes, dances most evenings of the week. Iris had been in the schoolroom with Mademoiselle, had gone for walks in the Park, had had supper at nine o’clock and gone to bed at ten. The intercourse between the sisters had been limited to such brief interchanges as:
“Hello, Iris, telephone for a taxi for me, there’s a lamb, I’m going to be devastatingly late,” or “I don’t like that new frock, Rosemary. It doesn’t suit you. It’s all bunch and fuss.”
Then had come Rosemary’s engagement to George Barton.
Excitement, shopping, streams of parcels, bridesmaids’ dresses. The wedding. Walking up the aisles behind Rosemary, hearing whispers: