A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup
Updated: Aug 21, 2022
Non-Fiction | True Crime | Science
'That was the beginning of the whole thing. I suddenly saw my way clear. And I determined to commit not one murder, but murder on a grand scale.' - Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None
As a Christie fan, I cannot believe it's taken me this long to read this book. Kathryn Harkup perfectly reflects the genius of Agatha Christie and that was down to the Queen of Crime's extensive knowledge in chemistry and pharmacology. You don't need to worry about reading all of Christie's books before this one as Harkup helpfully warns of any potential spoilers!
I was a little bit hesitant before reading this book as my knowledge about chemistry and pharmacology is very slim. However, Harkup's writing is clear, easy to follow and very engaging. The book is broken down by exploring all the different poisons Christie uses and in which stories they feature. I learned so much more about Agatha Christie - this book reinforces why she is the greatest novelist of all time. Her stories were exceptionally well written and designed simply because Christie knew what she was writing about!
Harkup reflects how the high level of accuracy in Christie's books regarding poisons is a big component of her success. Not only were the stories clever in themselves, but the mode of execution was not exaggerated and very faithful to how these toxins work in real life.
This is the perfect book for any Christie fan.
Want to read more of Christie's books but don't know where to start? Click here for my little guide!
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Harkup breaks down this book as follows:
A is for Arsenic - Murder Is Easy
B is for Belladonna - The Labours of Hercules
C is for Cyanide - Sparkling Cyanide
D is for Digitalis - Appointment with Death
E is for Eserine - Crooked House
H is for Hemlock - Five Little Pigs
M is for Monkshood - 4.50 from Paddington
N is for Nicotine - Three Act Tragedy
O is for Opium - Sad Cypress
P is for Phosphorus - Dumb Witness
R is for Ricin - Partners in Crime
S is for Strychnine - The Mysterious Affair at Styles
T is for Thallium - The Pale Horse
V is for Veronal - Lord Edgware Dies
(Photograph from my Instagram @readwithmims & @jemima_reads)