Book Review: The Poisoner’s Handbook
During the 1920’s, poisons could be found in abundance in almost any New York apartment. Cyanide, arsenic, lead, carbon monoxide, radium, mercury, methyl alcohol and more; these materials were part of everyday life, especially bootlegged alcohol in the “dry” era when the only stiff drinks commonly available had to be distilled from more dangerous liquids. Accidental poisonings were not uncommon, but with the availability of so many lethal substances it was easy for some to use them for their own nefarious purposes. What might seem to be an accident might truly be murder, and, as Deborah Blum illustrates in her new book The Poisoner’s Handbook, a new science was needed to tell the difference.
These developments were more important than