Exciting and interesting book. The reader told the author story with great detail and intrigue. I'm not sure how we moved from radio to movies- especially since thus was only one person! Good read.
This is an intriguing mix of science, crime story, and urban politics. Perhaps one of the more amusing stories was the trial on which Double Indemnity was based. The ineptitude of the criminals, and their subsequent rancor would be hilarity if not for the death of her husband. The stories both of crime and of science, can be gruesome. Some animal studies are described fairly vividly. This is the real CSI, in an age well before computers and other wiz-bang. These were the men who created the foundations of modern forensic medicine. Was a quick read.
The writing is excellent. This story is a fascinating chapter of American History.
I'm not sure that I had a favorite character.
I agree with previous reviews in that the voices and accents are ill-fitted to the characters and the pauses and mis - pronunciations in the reading are very distracting.
No - way too much information to process all at once. Instead, one should take their time and savor it...
Do not be put off by the poor reviews of the Narration! This book is a fantastic listen!
Love to listen to my favorite genres.
First the good..
This book is what they call educational but entertaining. I enjoyed listening to the story line and learning the facts. It wasn't what I expected for the title, but it was great despite my misconceptions as to the content.
I learned about poisons and I learned how the poisons were detected over time. It is a true forensics novel, that follows one person, a medical examiner's efforts to prove different cases were poisonings. I learned of the tragedy brought on by prohibition, and the sad desperation of alcoholics to drink what was sometimes poured from bottles labeled poison. I heard of other deaths and how they were found to be murders via poison and how it was proven.
Cocktails were invented to disguise the taste of the poisonous rot gut being used as alcohol. Prohibition failed. There were more deaths from alcohol after prohibition started than before.
It is not a book for everyone. It is a book that recounts horrific cases of animal testing to prove or disprove how poison kills. It tells of people killed in the electric chair.
The narrator sounds bored in a few spots. I truly believe a book should have those bits edited out and replaced. Other than those spots, the narration was good, if a little slow in spots. I had to speed the reading up a quarter so the cadence was right for my ears.
The book was very focused on prohibition and the methyl alcohol. It did tie into the story but I was hoping for a little more varied topic. It was a good overall story and despite my hope for different types of poisonings being mentioned, I learned a lot from the book. I couldn't hang up my headphones once I started.
In conclusion, I love a book where I learn something and this one fits that bill. I learned much about the 1920's and I am glad I didn't live in those glamorous but scary times. The medical examiners and autopsy knowledge has come a long, long way, much in part to the one person featured in serval chapters. That man deserves a medal and a huge plaque in his honor. His heirs should be proud to be descended from his lines. He was a determined man who solved murders and worked out issues. We could use more people with that dedication and determination in life.
It has a wealth of information about the topic presented in an entertaining logical manner
She avoided doing too much in the way of accents, but still did a bit more than I like to hear.
I haven't checked the text of the book, but at one point she says "he wrote a one letter sentence". I am pretty sure it was supposed to say "he wrote a one sentence letter"
Using one potent aspect of the era, this author illustrates clearly how science changed the investigation of death from theater and theories to evidence and objectivity. The story especially illuminates Prohibition and its unexpected effects on society.
This is one of the absolute best audiobooks I've listened to. The writing is compelling, the stories told are fascinating, if a little creepy at times.
Probably Charles Norris, the dedicated physician and scientist.
Absolutely. Her writing is excellent, she is obviously well-versed in her subject matter.
It's hard to pick just one, I've been irritating friends for the last week by spouting interesting (in their words, "creepy") facts and anecdotes from this book. I was fascinated by the things people drank during prohibition - everything from Sterno to Ginger Jake (which caused an odd paralysis of the muscles, resulting in a distinctive toe-heel tapping gait known as Jake Leg).
First, I didn't mind the narrator.
Second, I found the first few chapters boring, but glad I stuck it out
Main point - I was fascinated by how much of a role prohibition played in the development of forensic medicine. I was interested to learn how the various distillations of underworld alcohol impacted forensic science at the time. The details of poisoning, both accidental and criminal via consumption of industrial alcohol is a little mentioned byproduct of that foolish chapter in American history. Like with today's drug war, the somewhat glamorous lives of underworld bosses make it to our consciousness, but the thousands?... hundreds of thousands..? Millions? of sad characters who suffered neurological devastation, painful, slow, physical destruction, and pathetic demise due to consumption of improperly distilled spirits is rarely addressed. There is a thorough analysis of the subject in the Poisoners Handbook, along with the impact of prohibition on the coroners offices, and science of forensic medicine.
I was also interested to learn how the government persisted in making the problem worse, even going so far to restrict industrial alcohols to those that would cause the most damage when consumed by humans, even though it was patently obvious that humans would end up consuming much of the product. I also learned what Jake-Leg is.
I think the book was worth the effort for what I learned about prohibition, and would recommend to those interested in US and political history, as well as those interested in the scientific content. Good character development as well.
It was fascinating to learn how much more toxic the world was in the early 20th century than it is now.
All of it! I thought at first the narrator was a computer-generated voice. She seemed to have little understanding of the content, and made many mistakes. I think the most glaring mistake was when she said one of the characters wrote a "one-letter sentence." It then became apparent that it should have been a "one-sentence letter." Does no one "proof listen" to audiobooks?
I found it very interesting, but it wasn't a particularly emotional book.
Re-record this book with a different narrator!
This was a great book. While the narration wasn’t super special it was adequate and the story was not only informative but interesting and held your attention well. I learned a lot I didn’t know about prohibition and the variety of poisons which were the murder weapon of choice during that era and about the efforts of the fledgling ME’s office to develop ways to identify these poisons. Definitely a great book and well worth the listen.