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Book of Poisons: A Guide for Writers

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  277 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Discover Deadly Doses to Kill Off Characters

The readers of your crime and mystery stories should be trying to figure out "whodunit"not wondering why your facts don't make sense. If you want to kill off characters with something poisonous, you need to know how a villain would gain access to such a poison, how it would be administered, and what the effects on the victim woul
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Writer's Digest Books (first published December 26th 2006)
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Jax Riley has it but it's a crazy high price ($65-100 USD) I got mine on Amazon years ago. Keep checking there and Amazon...sometimes people end up… has it but it's a crazy high price ($65-100 USD) I got mine on Amazon years ago. Keep checking there and Amazon...sometimes people end up with books they don't know what value they are and sell them at a reasonable price. (less)

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Terry Odell
Jul 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Great reference, although hubby freaks when he sees it on my desk.
Jan 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
It takes a great deal to earn a permanent place on my night stand and this book has done just that! It covers a HUGE range of poisons and gives a thorough explanation of every one, from toxicity level to symptoms to the amount of time before it takes effect. It also has handy indexes for quick lookups of the forms of poison, possible symptoms, time, methods of administration etc. It is a great reference book! This edition also has a new chapter on biological weapons and expanded the chapters on ...more
Jen Bluekissed
Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Such a handy thing to have on my shelf...
Jax Riley
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's a great reference to have on hand if you plan to have your characters poisoned or drugged. It always made my dad nervous though when he'd see it on my desk. The book goes into various substances from household poisons, to medical industrial, plants, animals, street drugs, biological/radiological/chemical weapons and their effects, toxicity, forms a given substance comes in, scientific name, brand names, antidotes, reaction times, etc.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: research
I bought this book before I realized I didn't actually want to kill anyone in my current writing project, just drug them for a bit, but it was still an interesting read!
Jan 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful tool/resource book! It's very easy to understand; the symptoms, forms, methods and reactions are cross-referenced so if you are looking for a poison that will turn a person yellow it's easy to find.

The book lists acute poisonings (immediate) and not chronic poisoning (slow effect) which is great since quick effect is what most writers need.

Neat how the book walks you into a toxicologogist lab and explains WHY it is impossible to get DNA results in 24 hours (like they do on C
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
My first read on my new Kindle, and a free one at that. This was on my list as it was cited in The Poisoner's Handbook. It is meant as a guide and reference for writers, and would be very useful for that purpose, though it is not as interesting a read as the aforementioned Handbook. In trying to be exhaustive, Ms. Stevens sticks to the same outline for each and every substance, so there is a lot of redundancy. Like the Handbook, it is illustrated throughout with historic murder cases as well as ...more
Janet Jay
This will be a really valuable resource-- not even just the info, but how it's arranged and ordered, is done with the writer in mind. However, I noticed a couple of inaccuracies in a topic I'm familiar with, which makes it harder for me to entirely trust this as a resource. But what source should you trust entirely? My highlighted copy of this will help me write, and let my biographers puzzle over my mental state. (And scare visitors when it's sitting around.)
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Very useful for writers and aspiring writers (and probably aspiring killers). Poisons are sorted by several categories so you can find the one you need based on name, or the time until it takes effect, or its deadliness, or search by symptoms, and so on. If possible, an antidote or possible treatment is also listed.
Jun 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful guide for authors who are planning on killing off any characters with a particular poison. This book goes into detail about various poisons, the ease of access in obtaining them, and everything else that would help to explain why a character would choose a certain poison. Definitely a must-read for authors of suspense and intrigue.
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Wonderful! While it may be somewhat difficult to understand, it is still a very good reference book. I have been writing about a character who loves to deal with poisons and this book has come in handy to help me understand poisons and how they work.

Might I add that it was very interesting to read! I have learned quite a lot reading this book.
James Tomasino
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you are going to write about poisons or run an RPG with poisons taking a major role, this book is invaluable. Get it now, read it cover to cover, then keep it in your pile when you run or write anything.
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Another amazing book in the Howdunit series. Great all around poison reference book that provides accurate information and save a writer having to go through book after book for ideas to kill off characters. This book like the rest of the series is a must for any crime author.
Romy Warner
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm macabre. I know.
Mills College Library
615.9 S846 2007
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent reference source!
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fascinating reference book for writers.
May 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writer-y-books
This is a fantastic book, if not very medical. Not for the faint of heart or easily confused, but if you want to kill a character off and use something more subtle than rat poison, this is your book.
Dawn Turner
Sep 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Full of great information. I just add notes in the margin with more information. Never know exactly what details I'll need until I need them, so if it's not in the book already, it gets added.
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Sometimes also published as Megan MacDonnell, Shira Stevens, Serita Mendelson Stevens, or Serita Deborah Stevens.

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