May 31, 2013
The Poisoner’s Handbook, by Deborah Blum tells the tale of the birth of modern forensic medicine. Set against the backdrop of Prohibition, moonshine and corruption, this nonfiction offering reads like a crime thriller. The science of the book is accessible without being condescending. Each chapter deals with a specific poison and how it was employed in a specific murder. Manhattan’s newly appointed Chief Medical Examiner, Charles Norris, teams up with a revolutionary toxicologist to tackle some of the most baffling cases and sinister poisons’ of their age. In a time when death certificates were routinely signed, “Act of God,” Charles Norris brought order, accountability and proven results to the witness stand.