How to catch poisoners in early 1900s New York

How to catch poisoners in early 1900s New YorkThe Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York


Science journalist Deborah Blum’s book illuminates the careers of two pioneers in early 20th Century New York: the chief medical examiner, Dr. Charles Norris, and toxicologist, Alexander Gettler. A fascinating account of how they used science to discover the ways various poisons killed their victims.

Author Deborah Blum’s list of favorite poisons include:

  1. Carbon Monoxide – nice and efficient
  2. Arsenic – so common, called "the inheritance powder"
  3. Radium – makes bones radioactive for years
  4. Nicotine – first plant poison scientists detected
  5. Chloroform – home invasion robbery favorite
  6. Mercury – needs to be mixed with other chemicals
  7. Cyanide – one teasponn = death in a few minutes
  8. Aconite – the "saliva of Cerberus"
  9. Silver Nitrate – turns you blue
  10. Thallium – tasteless, odorless, but causes alopecia

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