The Inheritor's Powder: A Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science - Sandra Hempel

-- "An ancient Egyptian text threatens anyone who betrays its sacred secrets with 'the penalty of the peach', implying that the priests knew how to extract cyanide from peach kernels." I read Cennino Cennini's book once; sounds like that sort of ancient knowledge type of thing.

 

-- "His maxim 'All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous' still holds good." That should be on a poster somewhere!

 

-- "Jabir's book of poisons lists some exotic recipes, including the directions: 'Take a gecko and a yellow tarantula, then pulverise them both finely; they are mixed with milk and left there to ferment.'" See first quote.

 

-- "[If not for his] fascination for chemistry, he could have made a fortune as an opera singer." I imagined a Sherlock Holmes AU from this line...

 

-- "The traditional red-and-white-striped barber's pole symbolizes blood and bandages." SOURCE???

 

-- "But there is an important proviso: when the statement is made, the victim must be under no illusion that he has the slightest chance of recovery. For he would not risk his soul by dying with a lie on his lips, or so the thinking went in the nineteenth century." Hmmm, related to deathbed confessions admissibility in courts of law?

 

-- "The practice of convening in a pub stemmed from the idea that an inquest should take place somewhere well known and accessible, but upholding the dignity of the law in such surroundings often proved a struggle." It would definitely have added a twist to CSI.

 

-- "Medical men who were acting for free out of the goodness of their hearts could not be expected to give much atention  to non-paying patients..." >=(

 

-- "[He] had been dead only for a few months but was so badly decomposed that the officials gave up on their lifting equipment and sent instead for a large spoon."

 

-- "...Thomas de Quincey had lamented a retrograde step in the way the British killed each other: 'Fie on these dealers in poison, say I: can they not keep to the old honest way of cutting throats, without introducing such abominable innovations from Italy?'"

 

-- "Some of the increase in the 1840s was due to better detection. By enabling scientists to expose murders that might otherwise have gone undiscovered, James Marsh had unwittingly helped promote the idea that poisoners were everywhere and danger lurked in every sip of milk and mouthful of stew." Interesting how media always plays a key role in promoting mass hysteria.