Patty's Reviews > The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum
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There are so many reasons that I like being a member of book groups. I enjoy discussing the book we all read and those books that we may have recently enjoyed. I like the opportunity to defend my opinion and interpretation of whatever we read. I especially am excited when a discussion group introduces me to a book I would not have picked up on my own. This month I have been lucky enough to get two non-fiction books that showed me two new authors and subjects that I wouldn't have found by myself. The Poisoner's Handbook is one of them.

Science writing often fits my criteria for good books. They teach me lots of new, fun facts and introduce me to worlds I could not have imagined. Thanks to non-fiction books about science, I have learned about corn sex, malaria, genetics, abundant life in one small creek and even the difficulties of studying human sex. Now I get to add that I have learned more about poisoning and the birth of American forensics than I really thought I would want to know.

Blum writes well and so I was glad to go for the ride to discover how Prohibition affected the rate of poisoning, to learn about Norris and Gettler who together advanced toxicology and forensics and all the other things she taught me. This is a well-written book that held my interest from the first chapter onwards.

I recommend this book to discussion groups, to any reader that wants to learn more about our world or our history and to those folks who love true crime. Even if you don't fit these categories you may find that The Poisoner's Handbook is just what you are looking for.
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