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The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York - Community Reviews back

by Deborah Blum
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Murder by Death
Murder by Death rated it 3 years ago
This is a fascinating look at the birth of forensic science in the United States from 1917 through the 1930's; specifically, at the revolutionary changes brought about by two men: the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City, Charles Norris, and toxicologist Alexander Gettler. It's well-written, eng...
Mystereity rated it 3 years ago
This first came to my attention as a show on PBS and I was fascinated by it, not only for the subject of poisonings, but also how forensics and medical examiners offices came about. The book has all the same information but was able to go a little more in depth. A little dry in parts (and I confess...
That's What She Read
That's What She Read rated it 4 years ago
Rabbit Reads
Rabbit Reads rated it 6 years ago
This book was awesome. Highly recommended with those interested in the history of forensics.
Stop Making Sense
Stop Making Sense rated it 6 years ago
The Beginning of Evidence-Based Medicine?Historical fiction set during the start of forensic chemistry in the U.S., full of tycoons, Typhoid Mary, Tammany Hall, high society, and everything else I love about old New York. Great overview of how one man brought science to the coroner's office, and how...
book reviews forevermore
book reviews forevermore rated it 6 years ago
Please note: this book is not actually helpful if you were looking for tips on how to poison someone (unless you are the U.S. government, in which case there are notes scattered throughout on how to poison industrial alcohols).I wanted to like this book. I wanted to rate it higher. I'm not quite su...
Cheryl's books
Cheryl's books rated it 6 years ago
An unexpected treat! There are many kinds of poisons, but back in the early 20th century, there wasn't much knowledge about them. Often it was the case that a substance wasn't even known to be poisonous. Other poisons were known about but it wasn't known how to measure them or assess their action....
madbkwm rated it 6 years ago
This was quite the read. Not only did I learn alot about different poisons, but also about the history of forensic medicine and Prohibition. Blum does a good job of following Norris and Gettler's careers as they fight to develop and establish forensic science in early 1900s in NYC. I found it int...
wealhtheow rated it 6 years ago
A well-researched, well-documented, and very well-written tale of chemical mysteries in early twentieth century New York. Dr. Charles Norris, the chief medical examiner of NYC, and his devoted toxicologist, Dr. Alexander Gettler, revolutionized New York's justice system by forcing it to pay attenti...
jbradway rated it 7 years ago
I liked this one well enough. Blum did a nice job of tying incremental improvements in forensic science to two New York scientists in order to provide a minimal narrative arc. It's also a good snapshot of the prohibition era and the underpinnings of some of the strife and adventure of the speakeasie...
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