The Poisoner: A Story of Family Secrets

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Macmillan, 2003 M10 14 - 288 páginas
Years after Dr. William Macbeth died, his ornate medicine case passed to his estranged son. Over the protests of his family, the son buried it deep in the ground, out of sight and out of reach.

Then ten-years-old, Macbeth's granddaughter Gail Bell watched the mysterious case of elixirs arrive at her home. She watched her father treat it like a poison chalice. Only decades later would she understand why: the case concealed evidence of her family's deadly secret.

In 1927, Macbeth was accused of poisoning two of his sons. He never stood trial. Bell, determined to discover how this "calm, warm, and caring" healer could become a cunning murderer-and evade detection-eventually uncovered the dark secrets that her father had tried to hide from the world. But as the unexpected twists of her investigation reveal, nothing is as straightforward as it seems.

At the same time, she explores what the crime of poisoning reveals about humanity, through the perspectives of myth, history, fiction, and the great poison trials. A pharmacist by profession, and the granddaughter of a suspected poisoner by circumstance, she is perfectly placed to revisit the cases of Cleopatra, Emma Bovary, Napoleon's doctor, Harold Shipman, and Dr. Crippen, and she is equally well-suited to chronicle the devastating effects of poison's many forms, from hemlock and belladonna to arsenic and strychnine.

Poison is at once a fascinating history of the science and sociology of poisoning, and a true, first-person account of one woman's struggle to understand its mysterious role in her own family's murderous history.
 

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POISON: A History and a Family Memoir

Crítica de los usuarios  - Kirkus

An Australian pharmacist debuts with a lively, if disorganized, story of poisonous death in her family framed within an informal history of toxic substances.In 1980, the author's great-aunt confirmed ... Leer comentario completo

LibraryThing Review

Crítica de los usuarios  - mephit - LibraryThing

Found this book a bit incoherent: the author jumped around with anecdotes and famous poisonings in history while unfortunately allowing the thread of interest held by the mysterious deaths of her two ... Leer comentario completo

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Contenido

The pleasures of found glass
1
Ingredients for a hellbroth
4
Bitter seeds
9
The victim begins to twitch
23
Post mortem courtesies
28
Theres not much in dying
40
The leap from chaos
47
Myth and evidence
49
Death by misadventure
144
The demon nurse
160
The ghost in the labyrinth
179
A supply of white rats
182
Their unflinching gaze
186
Murder on the table
197
Rescue
205
Kraken dreams
235

Lethal greens
52
Romancing death
76
The magicians clothes
102
One mans meat
120
Secundum artem
126
Dry white arsenic
135
Napoleons hair
142
Out of the coroners court
244
As children do
250
Rumour of a midnight monster
258
Endnotes
271
Acknowledgements
277
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Acerca del autor (2003)

Gail Bell was born in Sydney, Australia in 1950. A graduate of the University of Sydney, where she studied pharmacy and education, she has since written award-winning short stories, travel journalism, and many thousands of words about medicines and poisons. This is her first full-length work of non-fiction.

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