A Taste for Poison

A Taste for Poison

Neil Bradbury

Pub date
A4 159x240mm
304 pages
Download jacket

Book Overview

’Indecently entertaining.’ A Daily Mail Book of the Week

‘A fascinating tale of poisons and poisonous deeds which both educates and entertains.’ — Kathy Reichs

As any reader of murder mysteries can tell you, poison is one of the most enduring — and popular — weapons of choice for a scheming murderer. It can be slipped into a drink, smeared onto the tip of an arrow or the handle of a door, even filtered through the air we breathe. But how exactly do these poisons work to break our bodies down, and what can we learn from the damage they inflict?

In a fascinating blend of popular science, medical history, and narrative crime nonfiction, Dr Neil Bradbury explores this most morbidly captivating method of murder from a cellular level. Alongside real-life accounts of murderers and their crimes —some notorious, some forgotten, some still unsolved — are the equally compelling stories of the poisons involved: eleven molecules of death that work their way through the human body and, paradoxically, illuminate the way in which our bodies function.

Drawn from historical records and current news headlines, A Taste for Poison weaves together the fascinating tales of spurned lovers, shady scientists, medical professionals and political assassins, showing how the precise systems of the body can be impaired to lethal effect through the use of poison. From the deadly origins of the gin & tonic cocktail to the arsenic-laced wallpaper in Napoleon’s bedroom, A Taste for Poison leads readers on a fascinating tour of the intricate, complex systems that keep us alive — or don’t.

About the author

Dr Neil Bradbury is Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, where he teaches and conducts research on genetic diseases. A full-time scientist and educator, Bradbury has won numerous awards for his unique approach to teaching physiology. He has presented his research around the world and authored more than 80 scientific articles and book chapters. Born in Manchester and educated in Britain, he currently lives in Illinois with his wife and two border collies. A Taste for Poison is his first book.


  • ‘This very splendid book is essentially a detailed primer on how to dispose of your enemies. … A winning mixture of hard science and true crime stories, is almost indecently entertaining.’ Daily Mail
  • ‘What’s not to love about a book that examines the plants and minerals that epitomise murder? Captivating in its storytelling and just enough science for the geeks. A tremendously entertaining dip into the dark and compelling world of death.’ Professor Dame Sue Black, author of All That Remains: A Life in Death
  • ‘We’ve all seen Colonel Mustard dead in the library from poisoning. Instead of telling us why, in this original and invigorating book, Neil Bradbury focuses on how, exploring the workings of crime from a scientific basis. Fascinating.’ Judith Flanders, author of The Invention of Murder
  • ‘Neil Bradbury writes with wit, flair, and authority.’ Lindsey Fitzharris, bestselling author of The Butchering Art
  • ‘An engrossing history of poisons, poisonings and poisoners. Alongside the very human stories of the people who fall victim to these deadly substances, it’s packed with quirky detail and easily digestible (pun intended) science.’ Kate Morgan, author of Murder: The Biography
  • ‘Weaves jaw-dropping true stories and spellbinding histories behind the most infamous poisons.’ Lydia Kang, bestselling author of Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything
  • ‘An unselfconsciously jaunty work of horror. Its stories may leave you eyeing your housemates and sniffing your coffee.’ Judy Melinek, M.D. and T.J. Mitchell, bestselling authors of Working Stiff
  • ‘An accessible and fascinating study.’ Publishers Weekly starred review
  • ‘Appealing to any true crime fan … genre-bending.’ Booklist
  • ‘A frightening romp … fascinating, edifying, and terrifying.’ Library Journal