“A fascinating tale of poisons and poisonous deeds which both educates and entertains.” --Kathy Reichs
A brilliant blend of science and crime, A Taste for Poison reveals how eleven notorious poisons affect the body--through the murders in which they were used.
As any reader of murder mysteries can tell you, poison is one of the most enduring—and popular—weapons of choice for a scheming murderer. It can be slipped into a drink, smeared onto the tip of an arrow or the handle of a door, even filtered through the air we breathe. But how exactly do these poisons work to break our bodies down, and what can we learn from the damage they inflict?
In a fascinating blend of popular science, medical history, and true crime, Dr. Neil Bradbury explores this most morbidly captivating method of murder from a cellular level. Alongside real-life accounts of murderers and their crimes—some notorious, some forgotten, some still unsolved—are the equally compelling stories of the poisons involved: eleven molecules of death that work their way through the human body and, paradoxically, illuminate the way in which our bodies function.
Drawn from historical records and current news headlines, A Taste for Poison weaves together the tales of spurned lovers, shady scientists, medical professionals and political assassins to show how the precise systems of the body can be impaired to lethal effect through the use of poison. From the deadly origins of the gin & tonic cocktail to the arsenic-laced wallpaper in Napoleon’s bedroom, A Taste for Poison leads readers on a riveting tour of the intricate, complex systems that keep us alive—or don’t.
NEIL BRADBURY, Ph.D. is Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, where he teaches and conducts research on genetic diseases. A full-time scientist and educator, Bradbury has won numerous awards for his unique approach to teaching physiology. He has presented his research around the world and authored more than 80 scientific articles and book chapters. He currently lives in Illinois with his wife and two border collies. A TASTE FOR POISON is his first book.
“Bradbury takes the reader on a lively spin through the histories of 11 of the most commonly used poisons and toxins, using real cases — famous and otherwise — to explain how each works in the body. A professor of physiology and biophysics, Bradbury is an engaging, cheerful tour guide.” –New York Times Book Review
“A fascinating tale of poisons and poisonous deeds which both educates and entertains.” --Kathy Reichs, bestselling author of the Temperance Brennan Bones series
“Macabre? Undoubtedly. Mesmerizing? Exceptionally…true crime enthusiasts will enjoy this erudite and entertaining book.” –Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
“[A]n accessible and fascinating study of poisons, using real murder cases to explain how the chemicals affect the human body. Readers of A Is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie will be entertained.” –Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Appealing to any true crime fan, A Taste for Poison is a genre-bending book that holds readers' interests through each chapter.” –Booklist
"Bradbury takes readers on a frightening romp...fascinating, edifying, and terrifying. This absorbing volume about murderers’ use of poison will appeal to true crime lovers and fans of popular science in the vein of Mary Roach." --Library Journal
“Weaves jaw-dropping true stories and spellbinding histories behind the most infamous poisons in the world...readers will be alternately entertained, horrified, and educated.” –Lydia Kang, bestselling author of Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything
“An unselfconsciously jaunty work of horror, and its stories may leave you eyeing your housemates and sniffing your coffee.” --Judy Melinek, M.D. and T.J. Mitchell, New York Times bestselling co-authors of Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner
“Delightfully detailed and engaging...Bradbury's enthusiasm for his subject shines through. A fascinating read from start to finish.” –Kathryn Harkup, bestselling author of A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie
"Over the centuries, as poisoners became more able at their craft, scientists became more able to explain how and why poisons work...I couldn’t stop reading A TASTE FOR POISON. I just had to find out how and why forensic sleuths manage to solve what once might have been considered a perfect crime." –Penelope Le Couteur, bestselling author of Napoleon’s Buttons
“Neil Bradbury writes with wit, flair, and authority in a debut that will both shock and delight readers. A TASTE FOR POISON is a perfect mixture of pop science, true crime, and medical history. I loved this book, and so will you.” –Lindsey Fitzharris, bestselling author of The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine
“A taut, exciting read about some of the most diabolical killers in history—the poisoners. Bradbury’s fusion of science and slayings is grounded in research that reads like a thriller.” –Kate Winkler Dawson, author of American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI