People have been poisoning each other for as long as written history has existed, and probably before that. In the past, it was one of the preferred methods of eliminating people in high places silently, unobtrusively, and swiftly. With the advent of life insurance in the mid-19th century, when the victim gained monetary value, death by poisoning became somewhat of a commercial transaction.

Poisonings have evolved along with the scientific knowledge and literacy of the population, the availability of accounts in newspapers and other published material, and the fascination with all things lethal by authors grinding out fictional accounts of “the perfect murder.” Some of the more common poisons include arsenic, cyanide, and strychnine; however, acids, aniline compounds, atropine, scopolamine, insulin, lye, carbon monoxide, metallic compounds, ...

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