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The Inheritor's Powder


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About the Author

Sandra Hempel is a medical journalist whose work has appeared in the Times, the Sunday Times, and the Guardian. The author of The Inheritor's Powder and the award-winning The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump, she lives in London.


Readers of Sandra Hempel's un-put-downable true crime narrative will not only find themselves caught up in a grippingly suspenseful murder mystery; they will be treated to a string of brilliantly delivered lessons on everything from the origins of toxicological science to pre-Victorian medical practices to the beginnings of modern forensic detection. I can't think of another recent work that so thrillingly fulfills the two major aims of literary art: to delight and instruct.--Harold Schechter, author of The Devil's Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial that Ushered in the Twentieth Century
Sandra Hempel's fascinating book is a story of one of history's most important poisons--and most important murders. And the latter is true because this murder and the resulting trial--beautifully explained here--changed the course of criminal detection. It's essential reading for anyone interested in the history of forensic science--and in the way we catch our killers.--Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz-Age New York
Hempel skillfully weaves whodunit and courtroom drama to take us back to the beginnings of the controversial science of forensic toxicology.--Hugh Aldersey-Williams, author of Periodic Tales and Anatomies
This book will appeal to readers interested in the origins of forensic science as well as to readers of popular histories of science. Though nonfiction, it will likely appeal to mystery readers as well, with its vivid details, cast of potential poisoners, and curious twists in plot.
Hempel's fascinating look at how the science of poison detection developed is certain to draw in readers with its masterful combination of telling details, engrossing prose, and drama... The Bodle case reads like something out of Dickens, and those fascinated by modern shows like CSI will delight in learning about the field's early days.

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