Spoiled by the Greats... (Reading progress: 7%)

The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries - Otto Penzler

I finished the story Gold, Frankincense, and Murder by Catherine Aird this morning and was at once reminded how Dame Agatha has spoiled my reading: when a murder plot involves poisoning, I now feel the need to question the author's research. 

 

With Dame Agatha, this is usually a fun excursion into the criminal cases of her time and into a detailed description of how poisons work and what the symptoms and antidotes are. (And thanks to Kathryn Harkup's excellent work A is for Arsenic and John Emsley's The Elements of Murder, I now have a go to compendium to start looking.)  

 

So, when I finished Aird's story this morning, I had doubts. The solution just didn't sound right. It's been nagging me all day, and there was little I could do about it. I mean, it's not really right to start a conversation at work about whether a certain poison would have this or that effect and whether a sublimate of x would be more or less poisonous than another form. It's just not the done thing in the office...

 

So, I had to wait all day to confirm my suspicion that the solution to this story was utter nonsense.