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Book of Poisons - Review
The Book of Poisons, by Serita Stevens and Anne Bannon, isnít just for those who are looking for a way to rid themselves of someone they donít like, it is a guide for writers who need to decide what poison would be perfect for one of their villains to use. Donít be surprised if your spouse or significant other wonders a bit when they spot this book laying around.
When you write crime or mystery stories you want your readers focused on trying to figure out who the guilty party is, not trying to figure out why your facts donít make sense. Not everyone will notice if your facts are wrong, but there is always at least one who does.
In this book you learn how someone would be able obtain poisons. Donít be surprised if you find that some of them are growing in your own backyard! The yards of many people are graced with the beautiful flower, lily of the valley, each spring. Did you know that this lovely white flower has a toxicity rating of 6 (supertoxic)?
Nicotine has a toxicity rating of 5. This means it is extremely toxic (6 is the most toxic rating on the chart). This should cause those who smoke to think long and hard about this before picking up another cigarette.
Real life case histories are given with many of the poisons. For example, a British woman in 1940 snuck and mixed nicotine in with her husband's aftershave lotion. The next time he shaved and applied it to his face, he was out of her life forever.
In 1968, a woman did away with her wealthy older sister by stirring the residue from a bunch of cigarette butts (yuck!) into the jug of water kept by her sisterís bedside.
Along with its toxicity rating, its scientific name is also given, as well as the forms it appears in, the symptoms seen when the poison begins to take effect, how long it takes for the poison to work, antidotes and treatments, plus some interesting notes.
The case histories alone make this a fascinating read if you decide not to use it as a reference. Along with a history of famous poisoners, both real and fictitious, it reveals how toxicologists uncover poisoning crimes.
If your character for some nefarious reason decides to save his or her victim (at least this time) and be the hero, this book tells how it could be done.
In chapter 3 the classic poisons (arsenic, cyanide, and strychnine) are discussed. The chapters that follow tell about household poisons, poisonous plants, fragile fungi (such as mushrooms), poisonous insects and bugs, medical poisons, pesticides, industrial poisons, street drugs and poison weapons (biological, chemical, and radiological).
The 5 appendices classify known poisons by method of administration, form, the symptoms they cause, the time in which it takes the victim to react, and their toxicity rating.
Say you want the victim's eyes to bleed. What poisons would cause this? You turn to Appendix C ďPoisons by the symptoms they cause.Ē Under bleeding eyes there are 2 entries, adder and rhubarb. The poisonous part of rhubarb is the leaves; they must be removed before cooking. But what would happen if they accidentally werenít? Adder refers to the bite of an adder snake.
In case none of the existing poisons has caught your fancy or fulfills your needs, instructions are given on how to create your own poison.
This book makes writing a crime with a poisoner easy for the writer with no medical background or knowledge. Contained within is all the knowledge needed for your villain to successfully kill their victim by poisoning or for your detective to catch a poisoner.
If you wish to own this book to assist you with your writing or for some other reason, below is a link to buy it from Amazon.
HowDunit - The Book of Poisons
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