The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum

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The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York Read Online Free - Deborah Blum, writing with the high style and skill for suspense that is characteristic of the very best mystery fiction, shares the untold story of how poison rocked Jazz Age New York City. In The Poisoner's Handbook Blum draws from highly original research to track the fascinating, perilous days when a pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime.

Drama unfolds case by case as the heroes of The Poisoner's Handbook—chief medical examiner Charles Norris and toxicologist Alexander Gettler—investigate a family mysteriously stricken bald, Barnum and Bailey's Famous Blue Man, factory workers with crumbling bones, a diner serving poisoned pies, and many others. Each case presents a deadly new puzzle and Norris and Gettler work with a creativity that rivals that of the most imaginative murderer, creating revolutionary experiments to tease out even the wiliest compounds from human tissue. Yet in the tricky game of toxins, even science can't always be trusted, as proven when one of Gettler's experiments erroneously sets free a suburban housewife later nicknamed "America's Lucretia Borgia" to continue her nefarious work.

From the vantage of Norris and Gettler's laboratory in the infamous Bellevue Hospital it becomes clear that killers aren't the only toxic threat to New Yorkers. Modern life has created a kind of poison playground, and danger lurks around every corner. Automobiles choke the city streets with carbon monoxide; potent compounds, such as morphine, can be found on store shelves in products ranging from pesticides to cosmetics. Prohibition incites a chemist's war between bootleggers and government chemists while in Gotham's crowded speakeasies each round of cocktails becomes a game of Russian roulette. Norris and Gettler triumph over seemingly unbeatable odds to become the pioneers of forensic chemistry and the gatekeepers of justice during a remarkably deadly time. A beguiling concoction that is equal parts true crime, twentieth-century history, and science thriller, The Poisoner's Handbook is a page-turning account of a forgotten New York.

Title : The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1594202435
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 319 pages


Kemper rated it ★★★☆☆

May 11, 2010

I don’t know why publishers feel the need to put huge subtitles on non-fiction books. Take The Poisoner’s Handbook, for example. To me, that’s a great title that would probably intrigue most potential readers. But the full title is The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicin...

Carol. rated it ★★☆☆☆

November 26, 2012

Please note: this book is not actually helpful if you were looking for tips on how to poison someone (unless you are the U.S. government, in which case there are notes scattered throughout on how to poison industrial alcohols). I wanted to like this book. I wanted to rate it higher. I'm not quite...

David rated it ★★★☆☆

August 24, 2011

Mercury Rising : One Reviewer's Feverish Reaction to Annoying Trends in Non-fiction Book Titles Through our secret researches, we were able to discover some of the rejected titles for this book: Heavy Metal Madness : A Stroll Through Some of the More Insalubrious Back Alleys of the Periodic Table C...

Ginger rated it ★★★★☆

October 22, 2011

Wow! I picked this up as an impulse buy, thinking my sister (who loves all things Jazz Age) would want to borrow/steal it later. Now that I've read it, she can't have it: it's mine. Science! History! Prohibition! Murder! Accidental deaths due to the utter lack of regulation of drugs, household ch...

Carol rated it ★★★★☆

June 10, 2016

Yes, it's a 4 star read and I didn't finish it. I own it. The fault is mine, in that I am truly not a reader dedicated to reading non-fiction works start to finish. Blum's book is fantastic - both entertaining and fact-filled, and can be approached as a collection of short stories. That makes it...

David rated it ★★★★★

October 09, 2011

This book is mainly about two men; Charles Norris, the chief medical examiner of New York City, and Alexander Gettler, the chief toxicologist. These two learned, fiercely dedicated men fought city hall and the establishment, in bringing forensic medicine into the twentieth century, and to bring r...

Jane rated it ★★★★☆

August 03, 2012

Where I got the book: purchased at Borders ALAS POOR BORDERS. This short (278 pages of text) nonfic covers the development of forensic toxicology in New York from 1915 to 1936 (with a little look before and after) against the background of Prohibition, which led to an epidemic of self-poisoning as...

Jody rated it ★★★☆☆

April 02, 2017

I was really excited for this book and I was a little let down. It was very interesting, but so dry in parts that I had to set it down. The story was broke up in strange chunks with the ongoing problems of prohibition running throughout. There was a lot of information about forensic scientist and...

[Name Redacted] rated it ★★★★☆

January 14, 2013

Though the author's intent is clearly to argue against prohibition in the US, the main take-away for me is that people are IDIOTS and love filling their bodies with things they know are poisonous and will kill them. It's a wonder to me that, in an age so obsessed with eugenics; an age in which Ma...

☕Laura rated it ★★★★☆

January 23, 2016

While this book is ostensibly about poisons, it is also very much the story of the development of forensic toxicology and its pioneers Charles Norris and Alexander Gettler. In a time when cause of death was often determined by a politically appointed coroner with little or no medical or scientifi...

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