“Poison is a mainstay in mysteries and thrillers. Agatha Christie’s villains used it. Sherlock Holmes suspected it in several of his cases. And modern mysteries haven’t let poisons disappear. No, something about the subtlety of a deadly bane captures the human imagination. Is a servant trying to slip a nefarious concoction into the king’s wine? Is that housewife secretly dousing her soufflé in something that will kill her husband? Is the smallest student trying to do away with his teacher? The beauty of poison is that we never know until too late.
To celebrate our continued fascination with belladonna, arsenic, cyanide, and hemlock, here is a list of five nonfiction books that reveal the secrets behind poisons. Their stories span the centuries from ancient Athenian trials to villainy at modern wineries. Each of them tells us something about the deadliness of the world around us. Each of them also tells us something about the lethality of man.”
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