The Poisonous Pen of Agatha Christie

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Poisoning occurs in over half of Agatha Christie's many novels and stories. In fact, she used a larger number and broader selection of poisons and medicines, for a wider variety of purposes, with greater frequency, ingenuity, and scientific accuracy than any other detective fiction writer. Yet very little has been written on the use of drugs, poisons, and chemicals in Christie's fiction. The Poisonous Pen of Agatha Christie entertainingly and authoritatively fills this gap. Michael Gerald explores the use of poisons and drugs in Christie's fiction not only to commit murder and suicide but also to incapacitate a victim, alter behavior, treat disease, or support addiction. He also analyzes her views, as expressed in her fiction and autobiography, on drug addiction, the health professions, the value of medicines, and scientific discoveries. Especially valuable is Gerald's exhaustive listing of all drugs, poisons, and chemicals mentioned in Christie's novels and stories, with references to the work(s) in which each appears and the ways in which each is used. Other tables list all the novels and short stories and the chemicals that are used in each. Throughout, the properties of all drugs are clearly explained so that the reader needs no special scientific or medical knowledge. The Poisonous Pen of Agatha Christie illuminates the fictional uses Christie made of her real-life experiences as a hospital drug dispenser and as a provider of nursing care. It will be of interest to fans and scholars alike.