A is for Arsenic

  • by Kathryn Harkup
  • Narrated by Beth Chalmers
  • 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Agatha Christie's detailed plotting is what makes her books so compelling. Christie used poison to kill her characters more often than any other murder method, with the poison itself being a central part of the novel, and her choice of deadly substances was far from random; the chemical and physiological characteristics of each poison provide vital clues to discovery of the murderer. With gunshots or stabbings the cause of death is obvious, but not so with poisons. How is it that some compounds prove so deadly, and in such tiny amounts? Christie demonstrated her extensive chemical knowledge (much of it gleaned from her working in a chemists during both world wars) in many of her novels, but this is rarely appreciated by the reader. A is for Arsenic celebrates the use of science in Christie's work. Written by Christie fan and research chemist Kathryn Harkup, each chapter takes a different novel and investigates the poison (or poisons) the murderer used. A is for Arsenic looks at why certain chemicals kill, how they interact with the body, and the feasibility of obtaining, administering and detecting these poisons, both at the time the novel was written and today. This book is published as part of the 125th anniversary celebration of Christie's birth.


What the Critics Say

"Intriguing and illuminating.... This compilation should please mystery fans, true crime readers, and lovers of popular science." (Publishers Weekly)
"Released just in time to celebrate Agatha Christie's 125th birthday on September 15, this is essential listening for both aficionados of the Queen of Mystery and anyone with a morbid interest in dangerous chemicals. Narrator Beth Chalmers's demure British accent is easy to listen to and quite addicting.... The subject matter itself is grim, but Chalmers's buoyant tones perfectly suit the well-researched and good-humored text." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Thoroughly enlightening

If you could sum up A is for Arsenic in three words, what would they be?

Well written.
Well read
Very interesting

What was one of the most memorable moments of A is for Arsenic?

Her description and the way Agatha Christie used her experience.

Have you listened to any of Beth Chalmers’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, not yet but intend to.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Makes you think

Any additional comments?

Thoroughly enjoyed, did not think I would have. Bought it because of Agatha Christie.

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- Chris Christopher/aka Ian Southard


A really interesting listen. And educational too. Narrator did a great job. Off to find more books read by her and more by the author too!
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- Julia

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-09-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury