Kathryn Harkup’s A is For Arsenic-The Poisons of Agatha Christi

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Agatha Christi has a reputation as a mystery writer. It’s one that seems to be well-deserved. The thing is, Ms. Christi had a particular fondness for knocking her fictional victims off with poison. Ms. Harkup has decided to see how accurate the Queen of Mystery was with her poisonings.

Story Telling: Ms. Harkup had a great idea when it came to formatting this book. We get an overview of the poison, how the poison works, some real life cases, and then we end with how Ms. Christi used the poisons.

Likes: The big like is the fact that, with a few exceptions, Ms. Harkup didn’t spoil the plots of Ms. Christi’s books.

Also, the appendices are terrific for those of us who are unaware of the many titles by Ms. Christi, especially the Americanized titles. The other appendix will attract the more scientific minded mystery fan. Diagrams of chemicals may not really mean that much to me, but other will enjoy them.

Dislikes: Some of these poisons are just cruel. Anyone who can just stand by and watch someone suffer for three to thirty days before he or she finally dies, doesn’t deserve any sympathy. Those people deserve the death penalty, preferably the same way their victims died.

Favorite Character: There were a couple of Agatha Christi fans who used some of the poisoning symptoms found in her books to save lives. Unfortunately, Nurse Marsha Maitland is the only one mentioned by name.

Favorite Quote: Leave it to a book about the poisons that an author uses to include the perfect quote. The attribution goes to Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Lady Nancy Astor. ““Winston, if you were my husband, I would flavor your tea with poison.” “Madam, If I were your husband, I would drink it.””

Favorite Scene: I was fascinated to see the effects nicotine had on those suffering from Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.

Conclusion: This is an excellent book for fans of Agatha Christi, those who have an, hopefully benign, interest in poisons, or those who are interested in the writing trade. It has made my library.


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