|Digital List Price:||$10.99|
Save $2.20 (20%)
A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
|Length: 288 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible book with Whispersync for Voice. Add the Audible book for a reduced price of $7.49 when you buy the Kindle book.
Kindle e-ReadersFire TabletsFire Phones
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
"Remember the homicidal glee of that old Cary Grant movie 'Arsenic and Old Lace'? Those adorable aged aunts, earnestly luring lonely old men to their house so they could knock them off with poison-laced elderberry wine? If you liked that, you’ll like A IS FOR ARSENIC: THE POISONS OF AGATHA CHRISTIE; it has a little of that lethal charm . . . And while it’s essentially good book-club-style fun, the book has a practical application: For every poison, it offers some antidotes." ―Washington Post
"A] scholarly and enjoyable analysis of the great author’s penchant for poison . . . if science was a banquet, then poison was her dish." ―The New York Times Book Review
"Chemist Harkup delves deep into the history and science behind more than a dozen lethal substances, introducing each through its appearance in Christie’s writing. You don’t have to be familiar with the likes of Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot, however, to enjoy Harkup’s detailed, near-gleeful dip into what she calls Christie’s deadly dispensary." ―Discover
"If you’re an Agatha Christie fan, read this book. If you’re a forensic-science fan, read this book. If you know someone harboring a grudge and an unseemly interest in poison, hide this book. Harkup, a chemist, has written a knockout analysis of poisons used in Christie’s novels and short stories . . . This is an absolutely bravura chemical compound." ―starred review, Booklist
"Intriguing and illuminating . . . This compilation should please mystery fans, true crime readers, and lovers of popular science." ―Publishers Weekly
"This would be a perfect reference for anyone writing murder mysteries and is scientific enough to be used as a textbook . . . The addition of real-life cases and comparisons to Christie’s works make this a nice little murder mystery of its own. Fear not, she’s careful not to spoil the endings of the classic novels." ―Kirkus Reviews
"A joy to read." ―FanGirl Nation--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 320 pages
- Publication date : September 10, 2015
- File size : 5347 KB
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B00WK3FGSQ
- Publisher : Bloomsbury Sigma; 1st edition (September 10, 2015)
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #63,545 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book is very stylishly presented with artwork which is wonderfully evocative of the 1930s art deco style that I somehow assign to the Christie novels even though they were not all written during, or for, that time period. Maybe the really good television series has something to do with that. Each chapter deals with one specific poison beginning with arsenic, then belladonna, cyanide, digitalis, eserine, hemlock, monkshood, nicotine, opium, phosphorus, ricin, strychnine, thallium, and veronal. Each chapter leads off with a brief synopsis of the major novel, or in one instance a short story, the author will be using as an example of the use of that specific poison, then moves on to the story (history) of the poison, how the poison works in the body to kill, whether there is an antidote, some real-life cases, and then how Christie used the poison. I had been afraid the chemistry associated with where the poison comes from and how it works within the body would have been either too technical or too boring for me to enjoy. Wow, was I ever wrong. I discovered all kinds of wonderful facts. This book is wonderfully readable by those of us who aren't trained in the science of chemicals. Plus Kathryn Harkup has a very wry sense of humor which caused me to get some strange looks when I was sitting in a doctor's waiting room laughing out loud while reading a book about poisons. Let's just say the chairs on each side of me became vacant when someone asked what book I was reading. This is the type of book Agatha Christie fans will keep right on the shelf with all their copies of the novels for reference during future re-readings of the novels. Because let's face it, if you love Agatha Christie novels you don't read them just once.
Another fascinating section of the book is Appendix 1: Christie's Causes of Death. This is a chart listing each novel and short story written by Agatha Christie and the method of the murder in that story. Sometimes, with multiple victims there are multiple murder methods. I found this absolutely fascinating and used the list to make sure I do own each story Christie wrote. Actually I own them multiple times over, but there is no need to go into my personal addiction here.
In discussing how Christie used the poisons the author has revealed some spoilers, but she always warns the reader to skip ahead to another section if they aren't familiar with the story and don't want to know who and how. I really appreciated how Harkup complimented Christie on her thoroughness and knowledge when it was warranted, but she didn't hesitate on several occasions to point out that Christie had gotten some things wrong. Interesting for me was how seldom Christie made mistakes in her information.
This book is most definitely aimed at the devoted Agatha Christie fan. I found it fascinating and if you didn't, well........I challenge you to a duel with the infamous Calabar bean!
Added Sept. 10, 2015: I received this book as an ARC through the Amazon Vine Voices program. Often ARC copies don't hold up very well over time and they will have portions omitted because it is not the shelf-ready book. I enjoyed this one so much I purchased the finished copy in hard cover to keep on my shelf for reference material when I'm reading mysteries.
Here we see a trained chemist using her training to give us well thought out and planned novels. Bravo.
Top reviews from other countries
Have read all Agatha Christie's books at least five times. The nice thing is that
Markup does not give anything away regarding the murderer for those who have not read the books.
As a medic I am surprised that she does not mention that the drug Brovon ( which was very commonly prescribed to asthma patients as an inhaler up to 2000 ) contained not only Atropine but also Adrenaline and Papaverin and the long term effects it may have had to those who used it in an in a pump unhaler. The drug often squirted a mouthful of all three drugs. Maybe I am a bit picky !
Well, I enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to those who are not only interested in poisons, murderers but also to Agatha Christie herself and her knowledge of drugs.
Enjoy, this is a must book.
Each poison has a section to itself and the author relates the history of the substance and its uses, if any, in medicine as well as a poison. How easy or difficult it would have been to obtain the poison at the time Christie's books or stories were written is also detailed together with the ways the law has changed since then. Real life poisoning cases are also detailed. How the poison works and its chemical make up are also covered and I have to confess to skipping some of the more technical passages as I found my O level chemistry was not really up to the task.
But the chemical details make up a very small part of the text and not always being able to understand these small sections did not spoil my enjoyment of the whole book which is a mine of information. There are two appendices to the book - one a detailed list of all Christie's books with causes of death of the victims and the other one showing chemical diagrams for all the poisons discussed. There is a bibliography and an index as well.
This is a fascinating book for anyone who loves Agatha Christie's writing and for anyone who reads crime novels or true crime.
Any present-day poisoner wishing to use some of the methods suggested by Christie will be disappointed to discover that even these underhand methods are unlikely to be successful, as increased checks and balances have since been put in place.
A is for Arsenic features the fourteen poisons deployed by the Queen of Crime in her various books, some of course were used more than once! She starts the book off by talking about Agatha Christie’s time as a working in the dispensary in her local Torquay hospital during World War I and her training to become as an apothecary’s assistant. It was here that she her interest in poison began and coupled with some inspiration of real-life cases many of her books featured some hapless person falling victim to one or other of her chosen poisons.
Each chapter starts off with a piece about the book, or books that the particular poison starred in followed by a bit about the discovery, chemical make-up and tests for presence of the poison featured. We then move on to how the poison kills, without I’m pleased to confirm overly descriptive passages concerning the symptoms which can be quite grim in reality. It is here that Kathryn Harkup indicates how Agatha Christie spared her readers too. For those who are on the receiving end of the poison, next up is any antidote or at the very least what your doctor should do to help support life while the body gets rid of the poison. We are then treated to some real life cases including Glasgow socialite Madeline Smith who was suspected poisoning of poor old Pierre Emile L’Anglier who came from Jersey because she was worried about him showing her love letters to her parents but instead stood accused of putting some grains of arsenic in his cocoa.
Despite the sometimes complex chemistry which the author manages to explain without sounding condescending but does so clearly enough that I could follow most of it, the book is for the most part pure entertainment.
I have to admit I really enjoyed the final part of each chapter which returns to Agatha Christie’s novels including the victim, the suspects and the potential methods employed to deliver the poison to the right person, at the right time.
Fortunately the murderer confesses, and even goes on to explain how the deed was done, the poison was added to Mrs Horton’s tea by one of her visitors. Arsenic trioxide is poorly soluble in cold water, but is much more soluble in hot water. By dissolving the arsenic in tea the killer was able to ensure that no suspicious gritty powder was left at the bottom of the cup.
I started by making a list of the books featured that I felt I simply must read right away, and then realised I would need to read Agatha Christie back to back for weeks to get through them all!! Well there are worse things I could be reading!
The author discusses relevant cases from the pages of Christie novels as well as real life cases. I was a little surprised that poisoning is actually a very rare means of murder. This is probably due to difficulty in getting hold of the poisons themselves, uncertainties over doses and other practical difficulties. Historic and modern cases are discussed. For example, the murders of Harold Shipman are discussed.
I would describe the presentation as efficient: each poison is discussed in turn. This makes for a clear but somewhat predictable format. One knows what to expect . However, this is a minor quibble. Overall a very interesting book that I can recommend. There is a good bibliography and recommended reading section. This is always welcome.