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Deadly Doses: A Writer's Guide to Poisons
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Deadly Doses: A Writer's Guide to Poisons (Howdunit Series)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  290 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Never before has such specialized information been so thoroughly compiled and easily accessible to writers Each book is written by a professional in their respective field, providing the inside details that writers need to weave a credible -- and salable -- story.
Paperback, 298 pages
Published January 1st 1990 by Writer's Digest Books
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Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it

I've taken out LOTS of people on my hit list using this book. This is one of the few books that I can say is accurate about killing people with poisons...
Simon Goetz
Aug 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've carted this reference book to each of the dozen or so places I've lived since college, and I've only used it a few times, but it's one of those books that is so well done that I can't let it go. You can look up poisons by reaction time, symptoms, foods that disguise them, and many other characteristics that make it simple to augment the scheming in your next mystery novel or revenge killing. Worth tracking down, even for people who don't write. Buy two copies and send one to your local peni ...more
May 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
If anyone I know dies mysteriously of unexplained circumstances, I did it. This book is awesome! And creepy. And making it difficult for me to eat out at restaurants where anyone could have have access to my food. Then again, something could also be slipped into my shampoo...

Time to wrap myself in foil and start living in the woods of North Dakota.
Very comprehensive book about all kinds of various different poisons from normal household chemicals to plants and industrial. I've read through this books tons of times and often reference it for story ideas and directions to take stories. I also often will refer to the last few pages that break down all the information into easy to reference sections of reaction times, symptoms/effects of poisons, type of poisons and so on.

Very good for coming up with inventive and new ways to drive your stori
May 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
I learned a lot about how to use poisons of different kinds in my writing. The chapter on how to make your own poison will be, I think, especially helpful.

I was a little disappointed that the chapter on snake, spiders and other living things only had a small paragraph on the effects of poisonous amphibians, since I really wanted to know more about poison dart frogs.

All in all, I found it easy and entertaining to read, without lacking the information I'd need to use these poisons in a story.
Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Any fiction writer, especially of crime stories
Another in a very useful library of books for writers published by the Writers Digest - this one would be most useful for someone writing a murder mystery, but the information could be worked into other kinds of plots as well. Another one to be sure to have on your shelf if you aspire to write fiction.
T.G. Campbell
An excellent reference guide for anyone writing mysteries. It's particularly easy-to-use because it lists poisons by their toxicity, how they are ingested, how long they take effect, and even where to find them etc. Whenever I decide to use a poison in one of my plots this is the book I always reach for on my bookshelf. It's also quite the conversation starter when I have guests around!
Sho Gibbs
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Honestly, this book was pretty amazing. For a writer it seems to be a very good reference. The information goes from names to symptoms to cases in the past. The most interesting part was that the author included where you could get it. I think the author assumed that no people who would use it for murder would read the book.
Michael Barnette
Aug 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: authors of mysteries or thrillers
A wonderful reference book for writers of mysteries and thrillers, it helps you determine the right method of death for your victim if poisoning is how they died. It also gives the symptoms of such poisoning so, if you show the victim dying, or want to have the detective puzzle it out from the visible effects of how they died.
Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wordsmithing
Awesome book on anything and everything that could kill you, dosages, and case studies of individuals who have died from any and all forms of anything you can and can't imagine. Great read and morbidly informative.
Jul 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, writing
An invaluable reference for writers, if you write stories with poisons in it. From this book, you can pick and choose what symptoms you want to appear in your story (long-acting poison, instant death, what have you), and find what poison would suit your needs.
Philana Walker
Mar 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't prepared for all the information I found in this book, especially in the Poisonous Plant section- ornamental plants in my yard that can cause serious illness or death! This has helped enormously with my writing and is an indispensable reference guide.
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
A little out-dated now, but good information for mystery writers.
Doree Burt
Mar 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is my favorite How to Murder Someone book so far. Um...wait, am I the only one who has a favorite in this category?
T.M. Carper
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very helpful if you know how you want someone to die. It's very through and has a lot of options and information. The indexs make it easily accessible as a reference.
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for any writer who wants to make sure that the poison they use in their book is portrayed correctly. Simple to find different deadly toxins and easy to understand.
Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: informational
A writer can never have too many reference books! This is a good one.
Fredrick Danysh
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
A resource guides for writers that features various poisons and their effects. It enables the writer to have actual medical facts available.
Jul 14, 2009 rated it liked it
A marvelous reference for the writer who feels the need to poison one of their characters. Don't try this at home, kids.
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent reference book. Good data with sources.
Jul 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ownit, nonfiction
Fun, informative, fascinating. Gives not only information about the poisons and how they interact with the human body, but also historical and literal cases.
N.L. Riviezzo
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Feb 28, 2013
Louisa Swann
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Sometimes also published as Megan MacDonnell, Shira Stevens, Serita Mendelson Stevens, or Serita Deborah Stevens.
More about Serita Stevens...

Other Books in the Series

Howdunit Series (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Howdunit: How Crimes Are Committed and Solved
  • Scene of the Crime: A Writer 's Guide to Crime Scene Investigation
  • Cause of Death: A Writer's Guide to Death, Murder, and Forensic Medicine
  • Just the Facts, Ma'am: A Writer's Guide to Investigator's and Investigation Techniques
  • Missing Persons: A Writer's Guide to Finding the Lost, the Abducted and the Escaped
  • Rip-Off: A Writer's Guide to Crimes of Deception
  • Private Eyes: A Writer's Guide to Private Investigating
  • Malicious Intent : A Writer's Guide to How Murderers, Robbers, Rapists and Other Criminals Think (The Howdunit)
  • Modus Operandi: A Writer's Guide to How Criminals Work
  • Body Trauma: A Writer's Guide to Wounds and Injuries