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Insulin Murders Paperback – April 26, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1853157608 ISBN-10: 1853157600 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: RSM Press; 1 edition (April 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853157600
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853157608
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.5 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,577,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


One of the creepiest crime books I have ever read.
Daily Telegraph, 2007

An enthralling series of true-life murder case studies
Mail on Sunday, 2007

5 Stars: A really fun read
This is all the fun of reading the very worst gruesome gory details of a murder ... Anyone who feels science isn't fun should read this book. The book really does make science come alive.

Amazon customer review, Jul 2007

5 Stars: Creepy, clinical crimes
The cases themselves are creepy and sometimes gruesome, and will appeal to anyone interested in true crime stories. Any would-be murderers considering the use of insulin should consider alternative techniques ...

Amazon customer review, Aug 2007

4 Stars: Highly technical, fascinating book
Very good read that relates many interesting and notorious cases of murders by insulin injection detected by forensic scientists, including the first author. The book is also a salutary reminder of how over-confidence in faulty scientific tests can lead to miscarriages of justice.

Amazon customer review, Oct 07

About the Author

Vincent Marks went to Oxford on a scholarship to study medicine just after the Second World War. He became a world authority on hypoglycaemia early in his career, during which he was Professor of Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Surrey in Guildford, where he was also Dean of the Science Faculty and Founder of the Medical School. He is one of the pioneers of immunoassay and founder of the biotech company, ClifMar Associates, amongst others. He is a former President of the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and former Vice-President of The Royal College of Pathologists. He is one of the world's leading authorities on the measurement of insulin and has extensive specialist knowledge of medical research, including clinical chemistry and nutrition. Investigators worldwide call upon his expertise whenever a crime, or suspected crime, involves insulin or hypoglycaemia.

Caroline Richmond has had three careers: as a laboratory scientist in pharmacology and neurosciences; as a book editor; and as a science writer and medical journalist. She is a respected obituary writer for the British Medical Journal, The Independent and The Guardian, and also writes for the The Oldie magazine. She founded HealthWatch, which campaigns for evidence-based medicine.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
I had a physiology professor who said that as a physiologist, he knew many ways of committing the perfect, undetectable murder. He would not tell us what they were, but he joked that he was tempted to go into the business of writing whodunits, except that he didn't know enough bad words. He knew plenty about poisons, of course. The perfect poison would be one that not only produced a death that seemed natural, but was undetectable by the medical examiners thereafter. Many potential murderers have thought that insulin would be perfection. It is a substance produced by the body, and it is available for injection; diabetics use it to prolong life, but given in overdose, it can drive blood sugar down and produce a coma and death. And because it is in everyone's body naturally, a poisoner could count on its presence being overlooked and thus get away with murder. But the poisoner would not be counting on the skills of people like Dr. Vincent Marks, a physician with a special expertise in measuring insulin and in its potential misuse. He has compiled such cases of poisoning, some of which he himself investigated or testified about, in _Insulin Murders: True Life Cases_ (Royal Society of Medicine Press). Dr. Marks writes, "I realized that my writing style was not necessarily conducive to easy reading" (good for you, Dr. Marks) and so he enlisted the help of a co-author, a journalist who has written on medical issues, Caroline Richmond. Some of the book is still not easy reading, but that is part of its appeal. There is a great deal of physiology in these pages, with discussions of laboratory procedures, glucose levels, insulin levels, and more.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Grant on January 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you like reading about true crime and forensics, this book is for you. The book is arranged in chronological order, from the first known case of a killing in which insulin was involved as a weapon (though it didn't directly cause the death) to the present. Dr. Marks is an expert in the field and appears as a witness in a number of such cases.

Perhaps most interesting is the account of the Claus von Bulow trials. Unless you are pathetically young, you probably remember this trial, so sensational for a number of reasons--wealthy, celebrity couple; the wife, Sunny, left in a coma and suspicion falling on the husband; his celebrity actress mistress. (In fact, a feature film called Reversal of Fortune was made, based on this story.) I remember that everyone was certain von Bulow administered insulin to his wife and caused her coma, and in fact, he was convicted at first. However, Dr. Marks was called to testify as an expert witness at the retrial, and after reading the medical reports on Sunny von Bulow, he came to very different conclusions from experts at the first trial. Dr. Marks describes the problems with blood tests and conclusions drawn by other experts that led him to question von Bulow's guilt--or in fact, the idea that Sunny had been poisoned at all. The retrial ended in von Bulow's acquittal.

The book is chock full of bizarre cases, from the men and women who killed multiple spouses for inheritances and life insurance policies, to the nurse who administered lethal doses to babies under her care for no apparent reason. And then there are the puzzlers--the woman thought to have committed suicide by insulin, but if so, how did she manage to give herself an injection in the buttocks? And where were the vials and syringes?
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By brad in pgh on April 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book does not read well. Poorly written stories. Donated book after getting it as I really didn't like the small stories in the book.
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