A Taste for Poison: Eleven Deadly Molecules and the Killers Who Used Them

A Taste for Poison: Eleven Deadly Molecules and the Killers Who Used Them

by Neil Bradbury Ph.D.
A Taste for Poison: Eleven Deadly Molecules and the Killers Who Used Them

A Taste for Poison: Eleven Deadly Molecules and the Killers Who Used Them

by Neil Bradbury Ph.D.


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“A fascinating tale of poisons and poisonous deeds which both educates and entertains.” —Kathy Reichs

A brilliant blend of science and crime, A TASTE FOR POISON reveals how eleven notorious poisons affect the body—through the murders in which they were used.

As any reader of murder mysteries can tell you, poison is one of the most enduring—and popular—weapons of choice for a scheming murderer. It can be slipped into a drink, smeared onto the tip of an arrow or the handle of a door, even filtered through the air we breathe. But how exactly do these poisons work to break our bodies down, and what can we learn from the damage they inflict?

In a fascinating blend of popular science, medical history, and true crime, Dr. Neil Bradbury explores this most morbidly captivating method of murder from a cellular level. Alongside real-life accounts of murderers and their crimes—some notorious, some forgotten, some still unsolved—are the equally compelling stories of the poisons involved: eleven molecules of death that work their way through the human body and, paradoxically, illuminate the way in which our bodies function.

Drawn from historical records and current news headlines, A Taste for Poison weaves together the tales of spurned lovers, shady scientists, medical professionals and political assassins to show how the precise systems of the body can be impaired to lethal effect through the use of poison. From the deadly origins of the gin & tonic cocktail to the arsenic-laced wallpaper in Napoleon’s bedroom, A Taste for Poison leads readers on a riveting tour of the intricate, complex systems that keep us alive—or don’t.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250270757
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/01/2022
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 147,595
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

NEIL BRADBURY, Ph.D. is Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, where he teaches and conducts research on genetic diseases. A full-time scientist and educator, Bradbury has won numerous awards for his unique approach to teaching physiology. He has presented his research around the world and authored more than 80 scientific articles and book chapters. He currently lives in Illinois with his wife and two border collies. A Taste for Poison is his first book.

Table of Contents

Part I Biomolecules of Death

Introduction 3

1 Insulin and Mrs. Barlow's Bathtub 9

2 Atropine and Alexandra's Tonic 34

3 Strychnine and the Lambeth Poisoner 69

4 Aconite and Mrs. Singh's Curry 92

5 Ricin and Georgi's Waterloo Sunset 117

6 Digoxin and the Angel of Death 139

7 Cyanide and the Professor from Pittsburgh 159

Part II Molecules of Death from the Earth

8 Potassium and the Nightmare Nurse 181

9 Polonium and Sasha's Indiscriminate Intestine 197

10 Arsenic and Monsieur L'Angelier's Cocoa 215

11 Chlorine and the Killer Nurse of Lufkin 239

Epilogue: The Garden of Death 257

Appendix: Pick Tour Poison 261

Acknowledgments 267

Notes 269

Selected Bibliography 285

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