I found this book compelling. Part murder mystery, part history, and a great lead-in to the PBS Prohibition series. For all who love the "police procedural" as a genre, this is how it started. All those procedures we take for granted in a 21st century police/forensic department were started by motivated honest people who had to fight "city hall" to do the right thing. And all this is just the context for the science and real life implications of poisons (intentional or not) on the human body. I would have listened to this book at twice the length and still wanted more.
I love to read, fly and play tennis. I always have a book and an audible book going at the same time. I'm a mystery/thriller junky.
I enjoyed this and learned a lot of interesting and unusual facts. It's not fiction but kind of written more like a novel then nonfiction so it keeps your interest. If you like murder mysteries this has a lot of that in it, but they're real stories. There were long periods of detailed information, then how that information was discovered, used in a murder, used in the trial of that murder, or used in everyday life. It told the basic story of 2 men, the history of forensic medicine and coroners offices, and a lot about prohibition (18th Amendment) that I never knew. The reader did a good job; maybe not so good with different voices but that didn't bother me at all since most of the book is narration and characters don't actually speak that often.
This was a very compelling book that I found hard to put down (or press the pause button). The author did an incredible job of interlacing true murder stories, the prohibition era and its effects, the discovery of new elements and chemicals in industry and their effects on workers, and the emergence and evolution of forensic medicine to deal with it all. I was absolutely fascinated and sometimes shocked by what I learned about the history of the science of forensics. I almost didn't get this book because of what some reviewers said about the narrator, but I didn't hear what they heard - I found her voice pleasing and thought she did fine. I am so glad I got this one. Loved it!
I'm going to listen to this again! very informative & educational. learned much keeps your interest. you really want more!
A published novelist and technical writer, who lives in Northern California with a cranky but loveable parrot and lots of books.
I bought this book on impulse during one of Audible's $4.95 sales, and boy am I glad I did! This book is a fascinating tour through a number of murder cases and investigations in New York between 1890 and 1930, touching on social history, chemistry, and the evolution of criminology and forensic science. The story is as much about the struggle of the NYC coroner to re-establish the reputation of his dept. after a series of inept Tammany Hall political appointees bungled their ways through various poisoning cases, as about the development of the science of detecting whether someone's been poisoned or died of natural causes. It's a great listen--interesting material and anecdotes, well-told, that paint a vivid picture of life during the Industrial Age, when foods, over-the-counter medicines, furnishings, clothing, and workplaces were commonly laced with poisons like arsenic and mercury, and when hundreds of people a year died of accidental poisonings before the Pure Food and Drug Act and various occupational safety laws came into effect. Very enjoyable, and I'm definitely going to look and see what else this author has written. So, if you're in the mood for a historical CSI-type book, I highly recommend this one!
This book was very intriguing and informative. I listened to it for the juicy murders and scandal but the part that sticks with me is the part about Prohibition. I didn't know much about Prohibition and the different kinds of (poison) alcohol people drank during that era. The book explains all about Prohibition and how the government accidentally became the biggest poisoner of all because they tried to make other kinds of alcohol, used for industry, undrinkable. People drank it anyway, and died.
Of course there is no shortage of juicy family murders, too!
I prefer urban/para romance right now for the fantasy aspect, but I listen to other genres as well.
This was an incredibly interesting book. It was great to hear about how the forensic sciences got its start. A great book for people who love history and how things started.
The book itself really made this time and place come to life for me. Detailed and informative for sure. The narration however left much to be desired. The character voices in particular seem so out of place to me as to really inhibit the enjoyment of, and my focus on the material. Coleen Marlo must desist from the character voices in all future endeavors.
I would never have believed that a story about pathologists would have been so fascinating. The combining of crimes, scientific bits about poisons of all sorts and the emergence of a new approach and new tools for detection and law enforcement made for a really engrossing story. Part detective story, part history, part science and all entertaining and educational. I loved it.
I am currently about 3/4 of the way through this book. The story itself if fascinating. However, for a reader with a scientific bent, it is a little lite. But I am really struggling with the narration. As bad as any I have heard in my experience with audible books. It's a real job to listen to this narrator. I guess it speaks well for the book, itself, that I am determined to finish it.