The Poisoner's Handbook

Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

By Deborah Blum
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143118824, 336pp.)

Publication Date: January 25, 2011

Other Editions of This Title: Compact Disc, Compact Disc, MP3 CD, Hardcover, Hardcover

Shop Local
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.

Go


Description

***PBS's AMERICAN EXPERIENCE released a film based on The Poisoner's Handbook in January 2014***

Equal parts true crime, twentieth-century history, and science thriller, The Poisoner's Handbook is "a vicious, page-turning story that reads more like Raymond Chandler than Madame Curie"
(The New York Observer)

A fascinating Jazz Age tale of chemistry and detection, poison and murder, The Poisoner's Handbook is a page-turning account of a forgotten era. In early twentieth-century New York, poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. Science had no place in the Tammany Hall-controlled coroner's office, and corruption ran rampant. However, with the appointment of chief medical examiner Charles Norris in 1918, the poison game changed forever. Together with toxicologist Alexander Gettler, the duo set the justice system on fire with their trailblazing scientific detective work, triumphing over seemingly unbeatable odds to become the pioneers of forensic chemistry and the gatekeepers of justice.




About the Author

Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah Blum is a professor of science journalism at the University of Wisconsin. She worked as a newspaper science writer for twenty years, winning the Pulitzer in 1992 for her writing about primate research.  She is the author of Ghost Hunters, coeditor of A Field Guide for Science Writers, and has written about scientific research for the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Psychology Today, and Mother Jones. She is the president-elect of the National Association of Science Writers and serves on advisory boards for both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences.




NPR
Friday, Apr 2, 2010

In her book The Poisoner�s Handbookwriter Deborah Blum catalogs the myriad poisons that took the lives of Jazz Age New Yorkers. Part history, part chemistry, part crime novel, the book also chronicles the evolution of forensic medicine in the early 20th century. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.

NPR
Saturday, Mar 6, 2010

At the start of the 20th century, poisoning was one of the easiest crimes to get away with. Until, that is, Dr. Charles Norris developed an early form of forensic medicine. Author Deborah Blum's new book, The Poisoner's Handbook, follows New York's first trained chief medical examiner as he solves a series of sensational cases. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.




Praise For The Poisoner's Handbook

The Poisoner’s Handbook breathes deadly life into the Roaring Twenties.”—Financial Times

The Poisoner’s Handbook is an inventive history that, like arsenic, mixed into blackberry pie, goes down with ease.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Deborah Blum has not lost the skills of good storytelling she honed as a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist.” —Chicago Sun-Times

Reads like science fiction, complete with suspense, mystery and foolhardy guys in lab coats tipping test tubes of mysterious chemicals into their own mouths.” -- NPR: What We're Reading

Fans of those TV forensic shows or of novels by Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs or Jefferson Bass will find plenty to satisfy their appetites here.” —The Washington Post

“Blum’s combination of chemistry and crime fiction creates a vicious, page-turning story that reads more like Raymond Chandler than Madame Curie.”—The New York Observer

The Poisoner's Handbook opens one riveting murder case after another in this chronicle of Jazz Age chemical crimes where the real-life twists and turns are as startling as anything in fiction. Deborah Blum turns us all into forensic detectives by the end of this expertly written, dramatic page-turner that will transform the way you think about the power of science to threaten and save our lives.”—Matthew Pearl, author of The Technologists and The Dante Club

“With the pacing and rich characterization of a first-rate suspense novelist, Blum makes science accessible and fascinating.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Indie Bookstore Finder











Update Profile