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The Poisonous Pen of Agatha Christie

Overview

Poisoning occurs in over half of Agatha Christie's many novels and stories. In fact, she used a larger number and broader selection of poisons and medicines, for a wider variety of purposes, with greater frequency, ingenuity, and scientific accuracy than any other detective fiction writer. Yet very little has been written on the use of drugs, poisons, and chemicals in Christie's fiction. The Poisonous Pen of Agatha Christie entertainingly and authoritatively fills this gap. Michael Gerald explores the use of ...
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Overview

Poisoning occurs in over half of Agatha Christie's many novels and stories. In fact, she used a larger number and broader selection of poisons and medicines, for a wider variety of purposes, with greater frequency, ingenuity, and scientific accuracy than any other detective fiction writer. Yet very little has been written on the use of drugs, poisons, and chemicals in Christie's fiction. The Poisonous Pen of Agatha Christie entertainingly and authoritatively fills this gap. Michael Gerald explores the use of poisons and drugs in Christie's fiction not only to commit murder and suicide but also to incapacitate a victim, alter behavior, treat disease, or support addiction. He also analyzes her views, as expressed in her fiction and autobiography, on drug addiction, tbe health professions, the value of medicines, and scientific discoveries. Especially valuable is Gerald's exhaustive listing of all drugs, poisons, and chemicals mentioned in Christie's novels and stories, with references to the work(s) in which each appears and the ways in which each is used. Other tables list all the novels and short stories and the chemicals that are used in each. Throughout, the properties of all drugs are clearly explained so that the reader needs no special scientific or medical knowledge. The Poisonous Pen of Agatha Christie illuminates the fictional uses Christie made of her real-life experiences as a hospital drug dispenser and as a provider of nursing care. It will be of interest to fans and scholars alike.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Gerald (pharmacology, Ohio State U.) brings his expertise to Christie's use of poisons in her mystery stories. Well organized, wittily written. Will recall familiar scenes for afficianados. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292765351
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1993
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Selected Dates in the Life of Agatha Christie
Pt. I A Poison for Every Purpose 1
Ch. 1 A Matter of Taste: Better Dying through Chemicals 3
Ch. 2 Disposal of Unwanted Persons with Time-Honored Poisons 9
Ch. 3 Disposal of Still More Unwanted Persons: Natural and Unusual Poisons 20
Ch. 4 Poison or Not a Poison? That Is the Question 33
Ch. 5 How Was That Poison Given? 43
Ch. 6 Chemical Control of Body, Mind, and Soul 54
Ch. 7 Murder with Medicines 66
Ch. 8 Taking Drug Compliance to an Extreme: On Addicts and Addiction 84
Ch. 9 Poisoning by Professionals: Helpful or Harmful Health Providers 95
Ch. 10 Science and Scientists: Benefits versus Risks to Society 118
Pt. II A Guide to Christie's Poisons, Drugs, and Chemicals 125
Appendix One: Complete List of Novels and Short Stories and the Ways Poisons, Drugs, and Chemicals Are Used in Each 201
Appendix Two: Medical Use of Drugs in Novels and Short Stories 222
Notes 231
Bibliography 259
Subject Index 269
Title Index 273
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