I disagree with the other reviewers and don't feel that the narrator did a poor job at all. I really enjoyed the book, it some how remains very light when covering such a dark topic.
I'm about 3/4s through.....The book is pretty good, the structure is interesting, but the narration! Otherwise, I'ld rate it higher.
Almost every character is a man, and the female narrator just sounds silly (though to be fair, some of the women she does are even worse). THE worst are the foreign accents...the corny stereotype accent of french accent, etc.
There was one, it's supposed to be british, but is more like the love-child of a cockney and an australian. At that point, I decided to enjoy it as camp. The book is interesting, but the author over does it on the adjectives and melodrama (instead of red, or crimson, it is a red the color of the red on the black widow spider, etc)
Note to the squeamish - some of the descriptions of the victims suffering, and the parts on experimentation on animals are hard to take.
A great depiction of forensic science at the time of the great depression, speakeasies, and Ginger Jake, this story highlights an era when we knew very little about chemistry, physiology, and toxicology as they intertwine in the human body. Charles Norris and Alexander Gettler, along with their team of scientists, work tirelessly to further our understanding in the field, setting the foundation and paving the way for modern-day scientists. Cyanide, arsenic, mercury, radon, and methyl alcohol are amongst the poisons discussed in this book utilizing various crimes as a stage.
Toxicology, like any science, is an ongoing study. Even with as much data we've collected on chemicals once thought to be safe, there are still compounds, new and old, that we have little to no research on their long-term effects. We hope our government, with its current laws and regulations, are able to keep us safe, but constant vigilance is a must especially when there are so many factors involved. Factors such as the lack of long-term research, the desire for monetary profits, or the desperate need for physical enhancements can contribute to detrimental health.
Narrator: Coleen Marlo
Stories like this requires a narrator that is neither too animated nor too dull because the contents of the tale is not heavily dialogue driven but more factual information being presented. Marlo was easy to listen too and she added some dramatization to the various individuals depicted in the novel which helped add variety and interest to the story.
Fabulous listen for anyone interesed in forensic science. Meaningful, insightful and useful information delivered in a descriptive manner. Narration was distracting as the narrator had what sounded like a irish accent being covered up.
I thought this would be heavy on the true crime side of things with lots and lots of fascinating clues and impressive deductions.
It was about 50% what I was hoping for and 50% a loving biography of the pathologist and the lab guy. Yes, they were interesting, and they sounded like sterling fellows, both of them, but it was not a thrilling listen. The organization of the book was a little strange as well.
It was ok, but I wouldn't recommend it.
I'm a 70 tear old retiree who is busier now than when working; the difference being I'm busy doing the things I really enjoy.
Didn't care for much...the story is detail-filled verbosity. It never reached any real degree of interest for me. The narrator's voice often became droning and uninteresting.
The history presented in this book is very interesting, especially for anyone interested in chemistry. The reader was sort of droning, but it didn't get in the way of my enjoyment too much.
It was more a listing of how various poisons work than any coherent story.
The performance was very flat.
I have already recommended this audiobook to several friends. It is the kind of listen that keeps you in the car after you have parked it and shut off the engine.
The books compares neatly to and in some ways complements The Murder of the Century, since Poisoner's Bible takes up in NYC about 15-20 years after the main events of the Murder of the Century took place in NYC. Between the two, you can see some major shifts in the way that criminal investigations were being conducted.
Mediocre, mediocre, and mediocre. She created minor but annoying distractions by mispronouncing the names of chemical elements and so forth. Her voice is pleasant and well-enough modulated, but either pronounciation should be checked ahead of time, or narrators who know something about the subject should be engaged.
Moved isn't the right word. Rather I was especially interested by the descriptions of the on-going mouse/mousetrap developments between government scientists, who were deliberately adding toxins to the already dangerous industrial alcohol in order to discourage people from drinking during prohibition and the (ahem) entrepreneurial chemists, who were trying to remove or mask the taste of those toxins so they could make money by selling hooch during prohibition. By some perverse quirk of human nature, one part of the public response to all of this was that the numbers of alcoholics, drunk-driving incidents, and alcohol-related deaths all apparently sky-rocketed as prohibition went on.
The new medical examiners and their chemists, the real subjects and heroes of the book, then had their work cut out, learning to track all these toxins through, mostly, cadavers and parts of cadavers.
If you liked the Ghost Map, or the Murder of the Century, you will probably enjoy this, too.
I really enjoyed this - a fascinating look at science, told through interesting anecdotes and with a good historical context. I wasn't expecting to learn so much about Prohibition, which was an added bonus.
I have to say, though, I did not really love the narration. Her voice was kinda nasal and overemphatic. But by the last half either she had got better, or I had got used to her voice, and it was okay.