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Blum’s book opens door on solving modern-day crime

Deborah Blum's fascinating book "The Poisoner's Handbook..." reveals cases that once made killings through poisons the perfect crime. The birth of forensic science changed that.

Deborah Blum, author/journalist/professor who won the “Best Reporting” Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for her science series “The Monkey Wars,” has again received recognition. Her 2010 book “The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York” was seen last week on PBS and has received rave reviews. describes the gripping book from a New York Observer review –

Equal parts true crime, twentieth-century history, and science thriller, The Poisoner's Handbook is "a vicious, page-turning story that reads more like Raymond Chandler than Madame Curie"

A fascinating Jazz Age tale of chemistry and detection, poison and murder, The Poisoner's Handbook is a page-turning account of a forgotten era. In early twentieth-century New York, poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. Science had no place in the Tammany Hall-controlled coroner's office, and corruption ran rampant. However, with the appointment of chief medical examiner Charles Norris in 1918, the poison game changed forever. Together with toxicologist Alexander Gettler, the duo set the justice system on fire with their trailblazing scientific detective work, triumphing over seemingly unbeatable odds to become the pioneers of forensic chemistry and the gatekeepers of justice.

You can find more on PBS’ story based on the book from this author’s article below.

More on the latest about Deborah Blum –

“In 2013, she began writing "Poison Pen" which appears as a column in the New York Times and as a blog post in the newspaper's online edition. Her blog "Elemental" appears regularly on the Wired website.”

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