King of Poisons: A History of Arsenic by John Parascandola

By John Parascandola

For hundreds of years arsenic’s photo as a poison has been inextricably tied to photographs of foul play. In King of Poisons, John Parascandola examines the marvelous heritage of this lethal element.

From Gustave Flaubert to Dorothy Sayers, arsenic has lengthy held a spot within the literary realm as an software of homicide and suicide. It was once delightfully used as a resource of comedy within the well-known play Arsenic and previous Lace. yet as Parascandola indicates, arsenic has had a couple of fantastic real-world functions. It used to be usually present in such universal goods as wallpaper, paint, cosmetics, or even sweet, and its use in clinical remedies used to be common. American ambassador Clare Boothe Luce suffered from publicity to arsenical paint in her examine, and Napoleon’s demise has lengthy been imagined to be the results of unintended or intentional poisoning.

But arsenic poisoning continues to be a public threat. in the community round American collage in Washington, D.C., the military has undertaken a major cleanup of artillery shells and bottles containing chemical conflict brokers equivalent to arsenical lewisite after a few workmen and citizens grew to become ailing. Arsenic infection of the water provide in Bangladesh and in West Bengal, India, is an immense public ailment this present day. From homicide to crime fiction, from commercial toxin to chemical war, arsenic is still a robust strength in glossy lifestyles.

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She did so, she said, at the request of Barrow, who was bothered by the many flies in the room where she lay ill. This type of flypaper had to be placed in water, and Margaret stated that she placed four pieces of the paper in saucers in Barrow’s room. She also testified that one day she accidentally broke one of the saucers containing the flypaper and that she then decided to transfer all four of the papers into one soup bowl with water and left the bowl on a table in the room. Hall suggested that perhaps the water from the bowl had accidentally been poured into something that was given to Barrow to eat or drink (possibly by the servant).

A visitor who had eaten one of the chocolates had later become ill, but no one connected the two events at that time. Davies asked for the chocolates and found evidence of tampering. He then decided to obtain a urine sample from his son-in-law, and he and the doctor sent the sample and the chocolates to a laboratory in London for analysis. When the analysis revealed arsenic in the urine and in two of the chocolates, the situation came to the attention of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Meanwhile, Armstrong had been repeatedly asking Martin to come to tea again, and Martin offered excuse after excuse to avoid the encounter.

He indicated, however, that he was not comfortable signing a death certificate without further examination, so the coroner arranged for an inquest. The postmortem examination revealed nothing unusual, and the inquest jury returned a verdict of death by natural causes. The second tragedy suffered by the family occurred less than a year later, in February 1919. Vera Sidney had not been feeling well since the beginning of the year, but on February 11 her condition took a turn for the worse. That night at dinner, Vera had some soup.

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