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Summary

As any listener 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 narrative crime nonfiction, 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: 11 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 fascinating tales of spurned lovers, shady scientists, medical professionals and political assassins, showing 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-and-tonic cocktail to the arsenic-laced wallpaper in Napoleon’s bedroom, A Taste for Poison leads listeners on a fascinating tour of the intricate, complex systems that keep us alive—or don’t.

©2021 Neil Bradbury (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"What's not to love about a book that examines the plants and minerals that epitomise murder? Wonderfully logical in its layout, captivating in its storytelling and just enough science for the geeks. A tremendously entertaining dip into the dark and compelling world of death via the ladies' weapon of choice: poison." (Professor Dame Sue Black, author of All That Remains: A Life in Death)

"We’ve all seen Colonel Mustard dead in the library from poisoning. Instead of telling us why, in this original and invigorating book, Neil Bradbury focuses on how, exploring the workings of crime from a scientific basis. Fascinating." (Judith Flanders, author of The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime)

"An engrossing history of poisons, poisonings and poisoners. Alongside the very human stories of the people who fall victim to these deadly substances, it’s packed with quirky detail and easily digestible (pun intended) science." (Kate Morgan, author of Murder: The Biography)

"Indecently entertaining." (A Daily Mail Book of the Week)

"A fascinating tale of poisons and poisonous deeds which both educates and entertains." (Kathy Reichs) 

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A brilliant wee gem of a book

I wish Audible had more books like this as is so much fun! All the common poisons are included plus the criminals who used them usually to murder someone. Where the poison comes from mostly plant based, its effect on the human body, snippets of history where applicable and the antidote if there is one. I listen to this over two days then immediately started again, something I rarely do!

Well narrated and well worth a credit.

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Brilliant

So well presented. A great balance of historical fact, scientific information and a view of humanity and human weaknesses.
Worth listening to more than once.

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Fascinating Subject

I absolutely loved this book, the explanation of each of poisons mentioned was fascinating, some of the stories of actual poisoning I was familiar with. Extremely informative and very interesting.

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Loved this!

If you’re interested in medicine/plants this is a fantastic audiobook. Thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook

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Fascinating book. Amazing .

This is such an interesting, educational book. I loved it. It was amazingly easy to listen to and full of fascinating facts about how the body functions and how humans use drugs, often, plant based products to murder. Recommended.