Poisons permeate our world. They are in the environment, the workplace, the home. They are in food, our favourite whiskey, medicine, well water. They have been used to cure disease as well as to incapacitate and kill. They smooth wrinkles, block pain, stimulate, and enhance athletic ability. In this entertaining and fact-filled book, science writer Peter Macinnis considers poisons in all their aspects. He recounts stories of the celebrated poisoners in history and literature, from Nero to Thomas Wainewright, and from the death of Socrates to Hamlet and Peter Pan. He discusses the sources of various poisons-from cyanide to strychnine, from Botox to ricin and Sarin gas-as well as their detection. Then he analyses the science of their action in the body and their uses in medicine, cosmetics, war, and terrorism. _ With wit and precision, he weighs such questions as : Was Lincoln's volatility caused by mercury poisoning? Was Jack the Ripper an arsenic eater?