A Is For Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup
Rating: 5 Stars
Description: People are fascinated by murder. The popularity of murder mystery books, TV series, and even board games shows that there is an appetite for death, and the more unusual or macabre the method, the better. With gunshots or stabbings the cause of death is obvious, but poisons are so inherently more mysterious. How are some compounds so deadly in such tiny amounts?
Agatha Christie used poison to kill her characters more than any other crime fiction writer. The poison was a central part of the novel, and her choice of deadly substances was far from random; the chemical and physiological characteristics of each poison provide vital clues to the discovery of the murderer. Christie demonstrated her knowledge (much of it gleaned by working in a pharmacy during both world wars) in many of her novels, but this is rarely appreciated by the reader.
Written by former research chemist Kathryn Harkkup, each chapter takes a different novel and investigates the poison used b the murder. Fact and fun-packed, A is for Arsenic looks at why certain chemicals kill, how they interact with the body, and the feasibility of obtaining, administering and detecting these poisons, both when Christie was writing and today. (Goodreads)
Why I Picked This Book: Really all I needed to see was Agatha Christie's name on the cover and I was in.
My Impression:If this book had been written for me I'm not sure I could've been more pleased with it! This has been one of the books I was most looking forward to this month and it didn't disappoint. I knew I was going to be happy when I saw that the chapters were not only divided by poison but had a book connected to it:
A is for Arsenic - Murder is Easy
B is for Belladonna - The Labours of Hercules
C is for Cyanide - Sparkling Cyanide
and so on down the alphabet.
Each chapter tells you everything you've ever wanted to know about each poison - the chemical makeup, the history, famous cases involving that poison, antidotes and treatments, and Agatha's experience with it and how she used it in her books. I loved reading about the ins and outs of the poison and seeing the real life cases that Agatha must have seen as well as seeing how it all tied into her books.
While I really loved this one to me it's more of a reference book than a read from start to finish so ebook wasn't the format I wanted to go with. I've already ordered my print copy and can't wait for it to get here! I'm looking forward to adding this book to my Agatha collection
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely! I'm hoping for more books tied into the great mystery authors.
Would I Recommend this Book?: If you are an Agatha fan - particularly if you own all her books - you must get your hands on a copy of this one.