The poisoner's handbook: murder and the birth of forensic medicine in Jazz Age New York

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Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Deborah Blum follows New York City's first forensic scientists to discover a fascinating Jazz Age story of chemistry and detection, poison and murder.Deborah Blum, writing with the high style and skill for suspense that is characteristic of the very best mystery fiction, shares the untold story of how poison rocked Jazz Age New York City. In The Poisoner's Handbook Blum draws from highly original research to track the fascinating, perilous days when a pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. Drama unfolds case by case as the heroes of The Poisoner's Handbook—chief medical examiner Charles Norris and toxicologist Alexander Gettler—investigate a family mysteriously stricken bald, Barnum and Bailey's Famous Blue Man, factory workers with crumbling bones, a diner serving poisoned pies, and many others. Each case presents a deadly new puzzle and Norris and Gettler work with a creativity that rivals that of the most imaginative murderer, creating revolutionary experiments to tease out even the wiliest compounds from human tissue. Yet in the tricky game of toxins, even science can't always be trusted, as proven when one of Gettler's experiments erroneously sets free a suburban housewife later nicknamed "America's Lucretia Borgia" to continue her nefarious work. From the vantage of Norris and Gettler's laboratory in the infamous Bellevue Hospital it becomes clear that killers aren't the only toxic threat to New Yorkers. Modern life has created a kind of poison playground, and danger lurks around every corner. Automobiles choke the city streets with carbon monoxide; potent compounds, such as morphine, can be found on store shelves in products ranging from pesticides to cosmetics. Prohibition incites a chemist's war between bootleggers and government chemists while in Gotham's crowded speakeasies each round of cocktails becomes a game of Russian roulette. Norris and Gettler triumph over seemingly unbeatable odds to become the pioneers of forensic chemistry and the gatekeepers of justice during a remarkably deadly time. A beguiling concoction that is equal parts true crime, twentieth-century history, and science thriller, The Poisoner's Handbook is a page-turning account of a forgotten New York.
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9781594202438
9781400115501
9781400195503
9781101524893
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Grouped Work ID 3b76f0cb-6589-5a42-92dc-5d1710ca4986
Full title poisoner s handbook murder and the birth of forensic medicine in jazz age new york
Author blum deborah
Grouping Category book
Last Update 2018-06-25 04:49:49AM
Last Indexed 2018-06-25 04:56:32AM

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author Blum, Deborah, 1954-
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display_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.

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subject_facet Forensic sciences -- New York (State) -- History, Forensic toxicology -- New York (State) -- History, New York (N.Y.) -- History -- 20th century, Poisoning -- New York (State) -- History, True crime stories
title_display The poisoner's handbook : murder and the birth of forensic medicine in jazz age New York
title_full The Poisoner's Handbook Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, The poisoner's handbook : murder and the birth of forensic medicine in jazz age New York / Deborah Blum, The poisoner's handbook [electronic resource] : murder and the birth of forensic medicine in Jazz Age New York / Deborah Blum, The poisoner's handbook [sound recording] : murder and the birth of forensic medicine in Jazz Age New York / Deborah Blum
title_short The poisoner's handbook :
title_sub murder and the birth of forensic medicine in Jazz Age New York
topic_facet History, Medical, Nonfiction