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Download The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Poisoners Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York (Unabridged), by Deborah Blum
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (6,744 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Deborah Blum Narrator: Coleen Marlo Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Deborah Blum, writing with the high style and skill for suspense that is characteristic of the very best mystery fiction, shares the untold story of how poison rocked Jazz Age New York City.

In The Poisoner's Handbook, Blum draws from highly original research to track the fascinating, perilous days when a pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime.

Drama unfolds case by case as the heroes of The Poisoner's Handbook---chief medical examiner Charles Norris and toxicologist Alexander Gettler---investigate a family mysteriously stricken bald, Barnum and Bailey's Famous Blue Man, factory workers with crumbling bones, a diner serving poisoned pies, and many others. Each case presents a deadly new puzzle, and Norris and Gettler work with a creativity that rivals that of the most imaginative murderer, creating revolutionary experiments to tease out even the wiliest compounds from human tissue. Yet in the tricky game of toxins, even science can't always be trusted, as proven when one of Gettler's experiments erroneously sets free a suburban housewife later nicknamed America's Lucretia Borgia to continue her nefarious work.

From the vantage of Norris and Gettler's laboratory in the infamous Bellevue Hospital it becomes clear that killers aren't the only toxic threat to New Yorkers. Modern life has created a kind of poison playground, and danger lurks around every corner. Automobiles choke the city streets with carbon monoxide, while potent compounds such as morphine can be found on store shelves in products ranging from pesticides to cosmetics. Prohibition incites a chemist's war between bootleggers and government chemists, while in Gotham's crowded speakeasies each round of cocktails becomes a game of Russian roulette. Norris and Gettler triumph over seemingly unbeatable odds to become the pioneers of forensi... Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kelsey | 2/7/2014

    " Fascinating. This was a very interesting, crazy, and morbid read. I recommend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Robert | 2/1/2014

    " After reading "The Poisoner's handbook" by Deborah Blum I now have a greater understanding of early forensic science. In the late 1890s and early 1900s Forensic science was new to America and not very well understood. This was why many places such as New York had many people without medical backgrounds occupy the Coroner position. This led to many deaths going without certificates and mis-diagnosed. This led to increased crime rates and the victims families losing a lot of money. In the case of Mors he confessed to killing many nursery home patients before it was their time to die. Yet, without his confession they never would have known that most of the nursery home deaths were intentional. This all changed when the mayor of New York City was forced to hire a coroner with a medical background. He hired Charles Norris a very qualified doctor and he was able to set up an entire staff with experienced scientist Alex Gettler. In my opinion, this was when many more poison discoveries were made and crime rates decreased. I recommend this book to anyone that is interested in medicine, poisons, or forensic science overall. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Brian | 1/27/2014

    " I was pleasantly surprised with this book. The history of the ME office in NYC is a quick and worthwhile read for all tastes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Shelly | 1/17/2014

    " Book #22 for 2013 "

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About the Author
Author Deborah Blum

Deborah Blum is a journalist and the author of The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York. She worked as a newspaper science writer for twenty years, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for her writing about primate research, which she turned into the book The Monkey Wars.