Friday, August 31, 2018

Googling Old Boyfriends


I don't have another poison episode this month, because I'm busy finishing up my latest Camilla Randall Mystery (#7) Googling Old Boyfriends. I'm sending it to my editor on Monday. 

It's scheduled to come out in December. Paperback in January. (And there will be a fun staged reading in Morro Bay with actress Mara Purl in February.)

And yes, there will be poisons involved.
~

Here's a taste:


“Okay, ’fess up.” Mickie McCormack startled me as she plunked a copy of Liane Moriarty’s Truly, Madly, Guilty on my counter at the bookshop.
“If you’re that distracted by the Internet you’re either looking at porn or you’re Googling old boyfriends.”
Mickie’s brown eyes twinkled at me from behind Ralph Lauren tortoise shell frames.
I felt my cheeks heat up.
“Um, I’m guilty of the latter, I’m afraid. I’ve just run into an old boyfriend and he’s invited me to dinner, but…”
The bell on the door jingled.
There he was. Captain Maverick Jesus Zukowski of the L.A.P.D. Six foot, three inches of tall, dark, and the-one-who-got-away. 
~

No cover yet. I'm working on some ideas to give to the designer. I'm thinking of something like this:



Of course Buckingham will have to make an appearance.


As long as Oona Foster isn't there. Then he'll hide out until she's gone.


And here's Buckingham on the cover of his own book, which is only 99c right now on Amazon! 




SO MUCH FOR BUCKINGHAM: Camilla mystery #5

This comic novel—which takes its title from the most famous Shakespearean quote that Shakespeare never wrote—explores how easy it is to perpetrate a character assassination whether by a great playwright or a gang of online trolls.

It's a laugh-out-loud mashup of romantic comedy, crime fiction, and satire: Dorothy Parker meets Dorothy L. Sayers. Perennially down-and-out socialite Camilla Randall--a.k.a. "The Manners Doctor"--is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but she always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way. Usually with more than a little help from her gay best friend, Plantagenet Smith.

In this hilarious episode she makes the mistake of responding to an online review of one of her etiquette guides and sets off a chain of events that leads to arson, attempted rape and murder. 

Sample reviews:
"Delicious wit, wonderful eccentric characters, and a beguiling plot. Camilla Randall is a delight!"...Melodie Campbell, "Canada's Queen of Comedy."

"Both a comedic romance and a crime suspense thriller, it presents the 'Perils of Pauline' adventures of a modern author, Camilla, whose mad-cap follies are hugely entertaining. But the novel has a serious undertone of social comment. Even the craziest of its zanies have their counterparts in the real world and the author faithfully depicts their grim, and often deadly, sub-cultures behind a veneer of knockabout wit. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys romance, and crime suspense, with a lethally satiric edge." Dr. John Yeoman.

"Anne Allen's ability to weave throughout her stories a current social commentary easily and throughout the story amazes me. She does this without jeopardizing her plot or her characters' development."...
blogger Sherrey Meyer


So Much for Buckingham is available in ebook at all the Amazons,
And in paperback it is available at


And there's an Audiobook! It's narrated by CS Perryess and Anne R. Allen is available from 
Audible and iTunes


Friday, July 27, 2018

Sleeping Pills—Poisoning People for Fun and Profit #36.



Sleeping pills used to be a reliable way of putting nasty Great-Aunt Augusta out of your misery if you were a financially embarrassed heir who was afraid the old dear was about to change her will and leave all her millions to her pet hedgehog. 

"Flaming June" by Fredrick Lord Leighton
If she had a prescription for them, it would be tough for the police to tell a murder from an accidental overdose, so they came in very handy.

But sedatives have become much safer in recent years. The dangerous barbiturates of the late 19th and early 20th century have largely been supplanted by benzodiazepines. (The first benzodiazepine, Librium, was invented in 1955.)

In the 21st century the newer “Z-drugs” are usually the sleeping pills of choice.

Death from benzodiazepine or Z-drug overdoses alone isn’t common, but when they’re combined with alcohol, antidepressants, or opioids, there’s a much higher risk of overdose. And the elderly and people with chronic illnesses are especially vulnerable to lethal overdoses.


So if Great-Aunt Augusta is suffering from a chronic ailment, that Ambien or Xanax she takes might work just as well as the old-fashioned phenobarbital or Seconal if you put a high dose in her evening snack. Especially if she enjoys a bit of a tipple before bed.

Z-Drugs


Zolpidem (Ambien), Eszopiclone (Lunesta) and, and zaleplon (Sonata) are non-benzodiazepine drugs used in the treatment of insomnia and commonly referred to as the “Z-drugs.” 

Z drugs are typically used to assist people who have a hard time falling asleep, rather than ones who wake frequently. They act on the central nervous system (CNS) and reduce heart rate (the number of times the heart beats per minute), and increase shallow breathing both of which are controlled by the CNS. 

They induce sleep but don’t treat anxiety. And they’re very short lived. They leave the body within an hour or two.

Poisoning somebody with Z-drugs would take rather a lot of pills. One Ambien tablet is usually 10 milligrams. 600 mg could kill somebody in fragile health, but 2,000 mg would be necessary to make sure the job was done.

An overdose of Lunesta can happen at approximately at about 270 mg. and it takes about 200mg. of Sonata. But people have been known to survive that dosage if alcohol isn’t involved.

But it’s good to note that any number of sleeping pills over the recommended dose can kill under the right circumstances. They shut down the respiratory center and people simply stop breathing.


Benzodiazepines


Benzodiazepines (Librium, Ativan, Valium, Xanax) are named because of their actions on the benzodiazepine receptors located in the brain. They act in pretty much the same way as the Z-drugs, but they're less likely to affect other systems in the body.


They're also much more effective in treating anxiety.

Unfortunately they can be drugs of abuse, because it’s easy to build a tolerance for them. The FDA reported that in 2013, benzodiazepines were involved in 31% of the estimated 22,767 deaths from prescription drug overdose in the United States, usually caused by a combination of benzodiazepines with opioids.

Following an overdose of a benzodiazepine, symptoms kick in within 4 hours. Victims tend to appear drunk, with impaired balance, slurred speech, and uncontrolled muscle function. They also can show “paradoxical” symptoms like anxiety and aggression. Sometimes they’ll also suffer nausea and vomiting.

Barbiturates


The old fashioned barbiturates like Nembutal, phenobarbital, and Seconal are still in use, although they're no longer prescribed as sedatives.

They're used for general anesthesia, epilepsy, acute migraines, and cluster headaches. Veterinarians use them for euthanasia of small animals.

And they’re still one of the most abused drugs around. In 2007, the Lancet listed them third in terms of physical harm, fourth in terms of social harm and fifth in dependence.

They are highly addictive and the patient can become addicted within a month. They are a commonly sought-after street drug, since they give a feeling of well-being.

During the first part of the 20th century – especially during the 1930s and 1940s – barbiturates were popular prescription “wonder” drugs, prescribed for everything from autism to epilepsy. It’s estimated that in 1939 over 2.2 million doses were sold in the US. By 1945, that number had nearly tripled. 

"Sleeping Beauty" by Victor Gabriel Gilbert

But the number of barbiturate prescriptions have decreased significantly since the 1970s. 

Death due to acute barbiturate poisoning typically occurs because of a stoppage in breathing. Like other CNS depressants, barbiturates suppress respiration. This is especially true – and especially hazardous – when they are taken in combination with other depressants like alcohol or opioids.

Symptoms of an overdose again mimic drunkenness: staggering, difficulty in thinking, slurred speech, faulty judgement, and drowsiness.

A lot of celebrities of the era died of barbiturate poisoning, either accidental or self-inflicted. Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, and Jimi Hendrix all died of barbiturate overdoses. So did columnist Dorothy Kilgallen—although a number of conspiracy theorists of the Nixon era suspected murder in her case.

Antidote


Flumazenil (Romazicon) is a competitive benzodiazepine "receptor antagonist" that can be used as an antidote for both Z-drug and benzodiazepine overdose. But the drug is controversial since it can cause a number of dangerous side effects. 

Here's a list of all the poisons in this series

BOOK OF THE MONTH

ONLY 99C!!!

GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY:  Camilla Mystery #1 

After her celebrity ex-husband’s ironic joke about her “kinky sex habits” is misquoted in a tabloid, New York etiquette columnist Camilla Randall’s life unravels in bad late night TV jokes.

Nearly broke and down to her last Hermes scarf, she accepts an invitation to a Z-list Writers’ Conference in the wine-and-cowboy town of Santa Ynez, California, where, unfortunately, a cross-dressing dominatrix named Marva plies her trade by impersonating Camilla.

When a ghostwriter’s plot to blackmail celebrities with faked evidence leads to murder, Camilla must team up with Marva to stop the killer from striking again.

Ghostwriters in the Sky is available in e-book at all the Amazons iTunesGooglePlay  KoboInkteraScribd and NOOK.

It is available in paper at Amazon & Barnes and Noble 



Friday, June 29, 2018

A Serial Killer Poisoned the Lunches of 23 Co-Workers—Why?

Most of the poisonings I've talked about in this blog are old news: Victorians poisoning their families with strychnine and 1920s housewives using household rat poison as an alternative to divorce court.

But this week a new and spectacular case of serial poisoning has made the international news.

A 56-year old man identified as “Klaus O.” of Schloss Holte-Stukenbrock in northwestern Germany was arrested in May for poisoning the lunch of a colleague. The engineering worker is also suspected of killing 21 more of his co-workers at a metal fittings company over a period of 18 years. Two other possible victims are alive but on life support.

Klaus was caught on camera adding a mysterious white powder to his co-worker’s lunch.

The intended victim had sensed something “funny” in his lunch and told his boss, who wisely called authorities. They studied the company’s security footage and caught the culprit red-handed, sprinkling a whitish powder into the man’s sandwich. 



The village of Schloss Holte-Stukenbrock, where Karl O. perpetrated his crimes

At first the police thought the food tampering was just a prank, but when they tested the food, they found it had been laced with lead acetate.

Lead acetate—once known as "sugar of lead"—is colorless and not unpleasant in taste. (It's slightly sweet.) But it's highly toxic. It would have caused organ failure and likely the death of the victim, had he finished his sandwich.

When the police investigated Klaus O’s home, they found a home poison-making lab equipped with mercury, lead and cadmium.
He poisoned the sandwich with Lead Acetate 


They also discovered there had been 21 mysteriously premature deaths at the company since 2000 and are now investigating them as possible homicides.

A number of the victims died young of cancer or heart attacks, which could have been the result of heavy metal poisoning. Two other possible victims are still alive, b
ut one is in a coma and another on dialysis, according to Deutsche Welle

They report that the authorities are considering exhuming all 21 bodies.

But there is no information on the possible motive of this model employee of 38 years, whom the personnel manager called “conspicuously inconspicuous.” A colleague said that Klaus “always stayed by himself, did not speak and had no friends.”

Quiet serial killers in Arsenic and Old Lace.


It’s always the quiet ones, isn’t it?

Klaus has refused to comment since his arrest. But this story could provide a fascinating challenge for mystery novelists, couldn’t it? I can imagine a mashup of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Arsenic and Old Lace.

The quiet Klaus Ordinary takes the everyday bullying and jostling for power that happens in the workplace, and then one day decides to deal with the guy who’s been stealing his lunch by adding a little “something extra” to the sandwich.

When his victim drops dead of a heart attack and nobody suspects foul play, Mr. O. is emboldened. He decides to deal with the nasty woman in supplies who has refused to upgrade his squeaky uncomfortable chair. And that whiny one who is always claiming he gave her a cold, when he really only had an allergy attack. Then there’s the guy who took all the credit for the project they did as a team...and it's so easy.

A Homicidal Walter Mitty? 
He keeps working at the same job. 38 years. Because hey, there are no nasty bullies or whiners at the company anymore. He’s eliminated them all. 


A lot of us have probably fantasized about solving office problems that way. 

What about you? Does anybody have a scenario to suggest that would cause a quiet man like Klaus O. to become a serial poisoner?


SALE!

No Place Like Home: Camilla Randall Comedy-Mystery #4
(But it can be read as a stand-alone)

SALE! 99c on All the Amazons until July 15th

Wealthy Doria Windsor is suddenly homeless and accused of a murder she didn't commit. But Camilla, with the help of a brave trio of homeless people, the adorable Mr. X, and a little dog named Toto, is determined to unmask the real killer and discover the dark secrets of Doria’s deceased “financial wizard” husband before Doria is killed herself.

"A warp-speed, lighthearted comedy-mystery"...Abigail Padgett
"A fun, charming novel about the rich and less so" ...Karen Doering
"A cross of dry British humor and American wackiness, and it all adds up to a fun read." ...Deborah Bayles.
"It's comedy about a dark topic – homelessness – and it succeeds without ever descending into tasteless insensitivity, or tipping over into sentimentality."...Lucinda Elliot
Available at all the Amazons and NOOK Page Foundry, Kobo and iTunes It's also available in paperback from Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Barnes and Noble, in regular and LARGE PRINT. LARGE PRINT is also available at Barnes and Noble.
And NO PLACE LIKE HOME IS ALSO  AN AUDIOBOOK!!
Narrated by award-winner C. S. Perryess and Anne R. Allen (as Camilla)
Nearly 8 hours of hilarious entertainment!Only $1.99 if you buy the Kindle ebook

Friday, May 25, 2018

Carbon Monoxide: Poisoning People for Fun and Profit—Part 35


Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that’s odorless, tasteless, colorless, and slightly less dense than air. 

A Carbon Monoxide (CO) molecule

It is also deadly. Some people call it the “Silent Killer.”

The gas has an unfortunate affinity for hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying molecule in our red blood cells. CO binds to hemoglobin much more easily than oxygen does, so oxygen gets displaced and the victim suffocates.

According to the Center for Disease Control, it’s responsible for at least 20,000 trips to the emergency room per year in the US. At least 400 of them die.

The first carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are described as “flu-like”: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. But people can die of it without feeling symptoms if they’re asleep, drugged or drunk when the gas is released.

One of the tell-tale signs of CO poisoning is that the skin turns a vivid pink and the blood is a bright cherry-red. Other forms of suffocation leave the victim pale. 
CO victims have cherry-red blood

Carbon monoxide detectors are required in 26 US states, and many countries. But even when not required, sensible people should install them. Any heating system can get a glitch that releases CO into the home.

Sources of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning


CO is found anywhere people burn fuel. That’s in vehicles, generators, stoves, fireplaces, grills, furnaces, etc. It can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.

But it also can affect people in open spaces. There have been cases of people dying while working on their cars in a driveway, if they’ve been working close to car’s exhaust pipe .

Powerboat exhaust can also poison swimmers and water skiers who spend a lot of time on the back of a powerboat with an idling engine.

According to the EPA, the most common sources of CO poisoning are

• Unvented kerosene and gas space heaters

• Leaking chimneys and furnaces

• Back-drafting from furnaces

• Gas water heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces

• Gas stoves

• Generators and other gasoline powered equipment

• Automobile exhaust from attached garages

• Tobacco smoke

Cigarettes produce CO


Recent High Profile Deaths from Carbon Monoxide


A number of high profile deaths have happened in recently from badly ventilated rooms in hotels and apartment buildings where the heating or plumbing systems were compromised.

In March of 2018, an Iowa family that had mysteriously disappeared while on vacation in Mexico turned out to have been killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in their rented vacation condo.

In 2013, a series of mysterious deaths in a North Carolina hotel room had people speculating about curses and homicidal ghosts. But the death of all three people who had stayed in that room were found to be caused by CO poisoning.

In January, 37 people in New Jersey got sick and one died when a heating system went wrong and In June 2017, a NYC apartment building was evacuated after 32 people were poisoned with CO.

Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, but small children, the elderly, and people with chronic breathing problems are more likely to die if exposed to CO.


Celebrity Deaths from Carbon Monoxide


There have been many famous deaths from CO—mostly from suicide. Breathing gas from an oven or attaching a garden hose to a car’s exhaust and directing it into the interior of the vehicle were the most common methods.
Thelma Todd died of CO--was it murder?

Writers especially seem to choose this method to check out. Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, John Kennedy Toole, William Inge, Amy Levy, Nobel winner Yasunari Kawabata, and Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist Kevin Carter are some high-profile writers who chose that way out.

Emil Zola is thought to have died of CO poisoning which was accidental.

But it’s not just writers. Brad Delp, of the rock group Boston killed himself by lighting two charcoal grills in a bathroom with no ventilation. Politicians Dan White and John Porter East chose the garden hose in the car-exhaust method, and Hollywood stars Libby Holman and Thelma Todd went that way.

Although some thought Thelma Todd’s death was simply accidental. And over the years a lot of people have speculated that the actress was murdered, perhaps on the orders of mobster Lucky Luciano. 



Murder by Carbon Monoxide


Although it’s best known for suicide, CO isn’t an uncommon weapon of homicide.

The drugging-and-car-exhaust method that may have been used on Thelma Todd can be pretty foolproof. A drugged or drunk victim usually isn’t aware of the gas until it’s too late..

And unless the victim has been subdued by force, it can be pretty hard for authorities to detect a homicide by CO, since many suicides will drink or take a drug to hasten death

In the Gaslight Era, lots of people died of CO poisoning when their lighting fixtures developed leaks. 
The Gaslight Era gave murderers a tempting murder weapon

This gave murderers a tempting method for fairly undetectable homicide.

One man killed his victim by forcing a gas tube into his mouth until the carbon monoxide killed him. He then put the body in a bathtub and reported the death as an accidental drowning. Unfortunately for him, the autopsy revealed a curious lack of water in his victim’s lungs.

Another man of the Gaslight Era suffocated his wife with a pillow, then filled the room with gas after breaking apart a gaslight fixture.

But he was caught when the coroner noticed the woman’s face was deathly pale, not pink. Further investigation showed no CO in the victim’s blood.

More recently, a UK college lecturer killed his wife by using the gas from a cylinder from the college lab. He got her to spend the night alone in their travel trailer and fed a tube from the cylinder in through the window of the trailer while she was asleep. He blamed her death on the faulty stove in the trailer’s galley. But the coroner found the level of carbon monoxide in her blood was too high for it to have come from a faulty stove.

There are also some tragic stories of murder by CO that turned out to be suicide pacts gone wrong. 
Hemoglobin prefers CO to O2


In 2014, A 30 year old PA man was found disoriented but alive in a house full of gas, lying by his mother’s corpse. She had left a suicide note saying they were going home to God because they couldn’t afford their medical expenses. He was charged with murder, but later dismissed with probation and time served.


Treatment for CO Poisoning


The treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning is oxygen. In the emergency room, the patient is given pure oxygen to breathe. If the poisoning is severe, they are put in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

Most victims recover if they get out of the contaminated space and into the emergency room in time.

But people who survive carbon monoxide poisoning can develop long-term health problems associated with brain injury.
The brain is extremely sensitive to lack of oxygen. Symptoms of brain damage may not show up for several weeks. The most common injuries from CO poisoning are chronic headaches, memory loss, blindness, confusion, disorientation, poor coordination, and hallucinations. 

Not a good gas for humans. Get one of those CO detectors if you don’t have one yet.

Do you know of any famous mystery novels or films where CO is used as a murder weapon? 

Here's a list of all the poisons in this series

***

BOOK OF THE MONTH


On Sale on Amazon from May 25--June 8


SHERWOOD, LTD: Camilla Mystery #2

Snarky, delicious fun! The Camilla Randall mysteries are a laugh-out-loud mashup of romantic comedy, crime fiction, and satire: Dorothy Parker meets Dorothy L. Sayers. Perennially down-and-out socialite Camilla Randall a.k.a "the Manners Doctor" is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but she always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way. Usually with more than a little help from her gay best friend, Plantagenet Smith.

Sherwood Ltd. takes aim at the world of small press publishing and all things British. It's a madcap tale of intrigue, romance and murder set near the real Sherwood Forest in the English Midlands.

After discovering a dead body near the dumpster where she's been diving for recyclables, down-on-her luck socialite Camilla Randall escapes to England, enticed by the charming Peter Sherwood—a self-styled Robin Hood who offers to publish a book of her etiquette columns at his unorthodox publishing company. Suddenly-homeless American manners expert Camilla Randall becomes a 21st century Maid Marian—living rough near the real Sherwood Forest with a band of outlaw English erotica publishers—led by a charming, self-styled Robin Hood who unfortunately may intend to kill her. 


Sherwood, Ltd. is also available in ebook from iTunesGooglePlay Scribd24SymbolsInkteraKobo, Nook, and SmashwordsAnd in paper from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Friday, April 27, 2018

Gelsemium : Poisoning People for Fun and Profit—Part 34


Gelsemium is a plant that Arthur Conan Doyle believed might provide a break-through painkiller and anti-anxiety medicine. 

Gelsemium sempervirens aka Carolina Jessamine
Instead, it nearly killed him.

Gelsemium is a flowering plant native to North America and Asia. It’s a beautiful, hardy landscaping plant that can be found all over the warmer parts of the US. Yellow Gelsemium (Carolina Jessamine) is the state flower of South Carolina.

It’s also a deadly poison.

All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and most mammals. The nectar is even poisonous to honeybees.

Gelsemium is a Latinized form of the Italian word for jasmine, gelsomino, but it’s not related to the classic jasmine plant Jasminum officinale, which is NOT poisonous. In fact “official” jasmine is related to the olive tree, and as most people who have been a Chinese restaurant know, makes a lovely tea.


Arthur Conan Doyle experimented with Gelsemium

But don’t make tea out of gelsemium! 

Two species of gelsemium are native to North America, and one to China and Southeast Asia.

1) Gelsemium Sempervirens, Carolina jessamine, is found all over the US and Central America, and often used in landscaping. Yellow jessamine is sometimes called “evening trumpet flower.” As I walked around my neighborhood recently, I saw it everywhere. It’s hardy enough to survive the salt air here at the beach. It’s intriguing enough I may reconsider the murder weapon in my next Camilla mystery.

2) Gelsemium Rankinii, known as Rankin's jessamine, swamp jessamine, or Rankin's trumpet flower is native to the southern US. If you’re writing a southern gothic mystery, swamp jessamine might make a great plot device.

3) Gelsemium elegans, native to China and Southeast Asia, which is nicknamed "heartbreak grass,” grows in Asian foothills and mountains. It’s the most deadly of the species. 


Gelsemium Rankinii or Swamp Jessamine


The active components of gelsemium are alkaloids. Mostly a gel called emine, which is a poison related to strychnine.

Like most poisons, gelsemium has historically been used for medicinal purposes in small doses. It was once used topically to treat many ailments, including skin eruptions, facial tics, and measles, and it was ingested in a tincture to treat rheumatism, various tropical diseases, headaches, nerve pain, and psychological disturbances.

That's why the 20-year-old Arthur Conan Doyle decided to experiment with it. He hoped a tincture of gelsemium would alleviate the headaches and depression he suffered as a young medical student. Showing that his Sherlock Holmes stories may have been more than a bit autobiographical, he tested the newly discovered drug on himself—observing and taking notes as he increased the dosage. Eight years before he created Sherlock Holmes, he was a medical sleuth himself. 


In 1879, he reported his less than encouraging results in the British Medical Journal. He discovered the drug caused paralysis along with alleviating the pain and caused a constellation of life-threatening side effects including debilitating intestinal distress. 

Gelsemium Elegans--the deadliest species
But young Conan Doyle’s experience didn’t dissuade others from using gelsemium. As late as 1906, a drug called Gelsemium D3 (made from Gelsemium sempervirens) was used in mainstream medicine. It was considered a safe treatment of facial tics and malaria. It is still used as a homeopathic remedy, but it is not considered safe in any discernible doses.

It is, however very effective as a poison. It’s fast acting, and symptoms appear within minutes.

Breathing and vision are affected first. Then the victim suffers dizziness, nausea, and convulsions, and eventually paralysis and cardiac arrest. It appears that the victim has simply had a heart attack.

That may be while gelsemium has become popular with contract killers and political assassins. There have been two high profile victims of gelsemium in the past decade.

Long Liyuan. In December 2011 Chinese billionaire Long Liyuan died after lunching with business rivals. The cat-stew he was eating had been poisoned with Gelsemium elegans. (I tend to think it serves him right for eating kitties.)

Alexander Perepilichny. Perepilichny died at age 43 after going out for a jog in London in November 2012. He had escaped Russia after blowing the whistle on a major tax fraud involving high ranking Russian officials. Although he had been warned of Kremlin death threats, his death was first ruled a heart attack by the British authorities. 


But a later autopsy done by his insurance company found traces of Gelsemium elegans in his stomach. Gelsemium elegans does not grow in England, but is a favorite weapon of Kremlin assassins.

In 2017, a U.S. intelligence report to Congress stated with "high confidence" that Perepilichny was assassinated with gelsemium on the orders of the Kremlin.


 ***

Here's a List of All the Posts in the Poison Series


Part 32: Mercury
Part 33: Nerve Agents

***

The Gatsby Game, is only 99c at all the Amazons this month 

A paper version is available for $10.99 at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The ebook is available for $2.99 at Barnes and Noble for NOOKInktera and Kobo. It's also available at Scribd






When Fitzgerald-quoting con man Alistair Milborne is found dead a movie star's motel room—igniting a worldwide scandal—the small-town police can't decide if it's an accident, suicide, or foul play.

As evidence of murder emerges, Nicky Conway, the smart-mouth nanny, becomes the prime suspect. She's the only one who knows what happened. But she also knows nobody will ever believe her.

The story is based on the real mystery surrounding the death of David Whiting, actress Sarah Miles' business manager, during the filming of the 1973 Burt Reynolds movie The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing.