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The Death of George Bodle & The Birth of Forensic Toxicology

January 12, 2020

In 1833, a small village in Kent, England became the focus of attention when the patriarchal head of a wealthy farming family wound up dead, presumed murdered after an attack on the entire household, presumed to be the work of Arsenic Poisoning. The 1830’s were on the eve of a new era in Forensics, and the previously vague symptoms of poisoning were being slowly unravelled and understood on levels far deeper than ever before, but would these new methods of detection prove to be enough to not only detect the presence of poison, but to finger the culprit and see them locked away for their crimes, or would the poisoner simply slip away into anonymity as so many had done in the decades and centuries before?

SOURCES:

Hempel S. (2013) The Inheritor's Powder: A Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science. W. W. Norton & Company, London

Hughes, Michael F, et al. “Arsenic Exposure and Toxicology: a Historical Perspective.” Toxicological Sciences : an Official Journal of the Society of Toxicology, Oxford University Press, Oct. 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3179678/?report=classic.

N Hughes, Michael F, et al. “Arsenic Exposure and Toxicology: a Historical Perspective.” Toxicological Sciences : an Official Journal of the Society of Toxicology, Oxford University Press, Oct. 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3179678/?report=classic.

“1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Orfila, Mathieu Joseph Bonaventure.” 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Orfila, Mathieu Joseph Bonaventure - Wikisource, the Free Online Library, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Encyclopædia_Britannica/Orfila,_Mathieu_Joseph_Bonaventure.

The Morning Advertiser - Monday 11 November 1833, Murder of Mr. Bodle. p.3

The Morning Advertiser - Friday 8 November 1833, Murder at Plumstead. p.3

The Morning Chronicle - Thursday 14 November 1833, The Murder by Poison at Plumstead. p.3

Public Ledger & Daily Advertiser - Monday 16 December 1833, The Murder at Plumstead. p.3

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Music was recorded by me © Ben Cutmore 2017

Other Outro music was Paul Whiteman & his orchestra with Mildred Bailey - All of me (1931). It's out of copyright now, but if you're interested, that was that.