Poisoners in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries could literally get away with murder. Many poisons were undetectable by existing chemical tests and even if scientists could detect them, juries were unlikely to believe the scientists. With the appointment of Dr. Charles Norris as the chief medical examiner of New York City in 1918, things began to change. Dr. Norris soon persuaded chemist Alexander Gettler to found the first toxicology laboratory in New York and the two of them proceeded to make forensic medicine into a reputable and dependable science.
This fascinating and fast-moving account of the origins of forensic medicine is divided into chapters dealing with particular poisons. Stories about these poisons from the case files of Norris and Gettler illustrate the problems involved in their detection in the human body.
Reviewed by mc, 04/10. Other reviews by mc.