agatha christie mystery author was queen of poison
Last Updated : GMT 03:44:40
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Agatha Christie, mystery author was queen of poison

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Agatha Christie, mystery author was queen of poison

German fan Sven Pehla dressed
Torquay - AFP

Throughout her prolific career, mystery author Agatha Christie killed off hundreds of characters by bullets, daggers, even a blow of the cleaver. But her ultimate weapon, and the one she was most fond of, was poison.

"They can't be poisoned every time but I am happier when they are," the author supposedly once said, according to her publisher HarperCollins.

It was a predilection no doubt linked to her encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject, said chemist Kathryn Harkup, author of "A is for Arsenic: the Poisons of Agatha Christie".

Harkup was speaking about Christie at a festival dedicated to the novelist in her hometown of Torquay, southwest England, which runs through Sunday.

The genteel seaside resort is celebrating the 125th anniversary of her birth. Christie died aged 85 in 1976.

Before launching her literary career, Christie served as a voluntary nurse during World War I.

As such, she soon developed an interest in the medicines of the day -- exotically named substances which in strong doses could be lethal.

Strychnine, morphine, cyanide -- "people could access them frighteningly easily," said Harkup.

"You could go to a chemist and just buy arsenic or cyanide and no one would ask any questions. Quite worrying."

Ever since her first book in 1920, "The Mysterious Affair at Styles", Christie used poison.

The victim in that case was Mrs Inglethorp and the toxic substance deployed was strychnine, which was often used as a stimulant to give old ladies a little pick-me-up but in higher doses paralyses the muscles.

"It's a very unpleasant way to die," said Ali Marshall, head gardener at Torre Abbey, a historic building in Torquay.

In the grounds of this almost 900-year-old abbey, Marshall has planted a small flowerbed featuring some of the plants from which Christie's favourite poisons derive.

"She's named queen of crime but she should be queen of poison," said Marshall, noting that more than half of Christie's victims suffered this fate.
 

- 'Death takes several days' -

One of the author's favourite poisons, cyanide, is present in bitter almonds.

"It's a great poison: very fast, very quick acting and you don't need much," said Marshall.

There was also digitalis, derived from foxgloves, which was used to treat heart conditions.

"Several of her characters took digitalis; you just have to give them a bit more," the gardener added.

And of course there was arsenic, which was used to get rid of rats, but also to knock off a sour-tempered aunt or a father who wouldn't let go of the purse strings.

"One of my favourites is the castor oil plant which gives ricin. Death takes several days, so you have plenty of time to fly to Australia," joked Marshall.

Christie obtained her chemist's diploma in 1917 under the supervision of a teacher with the unfortunate habit of making errors of dosage and walking around with a vial of poison in his pocket to make himself feel powerful.

As an author, Christie became so meticulous in her description of doses and the action of these poisons that she was once accused of providing the perfect handbook for apprentice poisoners.

On the other hand, she carefully avoided describing their most unpleasant consequences, like vomiting and diarrhoea. In her books, victims die cleanly, even when it involves cracking their skull.

Poison is often administered in an appetising dish, described beforehand in such a way as to leave the reader salivating.

"Victims are poisoned with cakes, sandwiches, tea. Champagne too is very dangerous," said Anne Martinetti, who has made an inventory of all the novelist's deadly recipes in the cookbook "Cremes et Chatiments", or "Creams and Punishments".

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

agatha christie mystery author was queen of poison agatha christie mystery author was queen of poison

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

agatha christie mystery author was queen of poison agatha christie mystery author was queen of poison

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Jordanian woman reveals her project

GMT 00:46 2017 Saturday ,11 November

Jordanian woman reveals her project
Arab Today, arab today The Big Apple bike boom

GMT 10:47 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

The Big Apple bike boom
Arab Today, arab today Sophian Yussef reveals suitable decoration

GMT 02:56 2017 Thursday ,23 November

Sophian Yussef reveals suitable decoration
Arab Today, arab today Leaders of Russia, Iran, Turkey meet

GMT 10:12 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

Leaders of Russia, Iran, Turkey meet
Arab Today, arab today 'Advanced' cyber attack targets Saudi Arabia

GMT 10:18 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

'Advanced' cyber attack targets Saudi Arabia
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Australian academic's book pulled

GMT 15:20 2017 Monday ,13 November

Australian academic's book pulled
Arab Today, arab today May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit

GMT 02:14 2017 Saturday ,18 November

May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit
Arab Today, arab today Delhi half-marathon to go ahead

GMT 03:51 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Delhi half-marathon to go ahead
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Honda recalls 800,000 minivans

GMT 11:43 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

Honda recalls 800,000 minivans
Arab Today, arab today VW says will invest over 34bn euros

GMT 07:19 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

VW says will invest over 34bn euros
Arab Today, arab today Singer Jahda Wahba has unlimited ambitions

GMT 07:56 2017 Monday ,20 November

Singer Jahda Wahba has unlimited ambitions
Arab Today, arab today paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 16:04 2017 Friday ,17 November

paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 09:23 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Fedra happy for “Between Two Worlds” success

GMT 11:15 2017 Thursday ,16 November

Angola oil boss sacked by father's protege

GMT 18:41 2017 Friday ,20 October

Designer Aql Faqih aspires to innovation

GMT 11:38 2017 Wednesday ,15 November

Unloved vultures fight for their survival

GMT 17:52 2017 Sunday ,03 September

Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts

GMT 13:41 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

French choke up over proposal

GMT 00:44 2017 Monday ,20 November

Japanese regulators raid Airbnb

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday