Because I am only 22 pages away from finishing her latest book, The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York.
This engaging tale of the race of science and medicine against chemical poisonings for profit and punishment features the true story of NYC chief medical examiner Charles Norris and toxicologist Alexander Gettler.
Of course, the other actors are arsenic, methanol, chloroform, thallium, and radium, among others. In the teens through the mid-1930s, long before benchtop atomic absorption spectrophotometry and LC/MS instruments, Norris and Gettler devised methods to detect poisons in human tissues with high sensitivity. These advances led to the prosecution of some, the absolution of the wrongly-accused, and revealed that our own government poisoned citizens who dared to challenge Prohibition. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Terra Sigillata*