Kathryn Harkup

Literature Reviews

Kathryn Harkup: Death by Shakespeare

Hmmm.  After having read and liked — though not loved — Harkup’s book on Agatha Christie’s use of poisons in her mysteries (A Is for Arsenic), it took the Shakespeare fan in me about a millisecond to snatch up this third book of hers when I came across it earlier this year … only to […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Halloween Bingo 2020: The Second Week (+1 Day)

Posting this on Monday instead of Sunday again … oh well. I guess after a near-phenomenal first bingo week it was only to be expected that the second week would not be quite as fabulous. Mind you, I’m not complaining — my card is coming together nicely, and none of the books I read this […]

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Kathryn Harkup: A Is for Arsenic — Chapters 10 & 11: Phosphorus & Ricin

Phosphorus and Ricin — two particularly nasty ones.  And the way she’s describing the discovery of phosphorus, it sounds like something straight out of a sorcerer’s lab … byproduct of the search for the philosophers’ stone.  Why stop at gold, anyway?!       Overall Review and Comments on Other Chapters: Overall Review Introduction and […]

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Kathryn Harkup: A Is for Arsenic — Chapters 7-9: Monkshood, Nicotine, Opium

What does it say that I read the opium chapter this night, after having woken up at 4:00AM (against all habit)? I can see the temptation in using Sad Cypress as the anchor book for this chapter, and I’m glad Harkup gave an unambiguous spoiler warning this time around before proceeding to give away the […]

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Kathryn Harkup: A Is for Arsenic — Chapter 6: Hemlock

Oh, FIE.  Major spoiler alert. In the “Hemlock” chapter, Harkup gives away — without any prior warning whatsoever — the identity of not one but two of the key suspects in Five Little Pigs who ultimately turn out to be innocent, and she also reveals the answer to the question that Poirot is chiefly asked […]

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Kathryn Harkup: A Is for Arsenic — Chapter 4: Digitalis

I just finished the digitalis chapter — a fairly fast read, since for once this was one dealing with stuff of which I had at least a working knowledge going in. Christie herself discusses some of the basics re: digitalis in Appointment with Death and some of her short stories (most notably, The Herb of […]

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Kathryn Harkup: A Is for Arsenic — Chapter 3: Cyanide

Harkup recounts the story how Rasputin’s enemies allegedly lured him to a lunch featuring “cake and [Madeira] wine … said to be laced with enough cynide to kill ‘a monastery’ of monks, but it left Rasputin unaffected.  He was then shot, at least twice, but was still alive and fighting back against his would-be assassins.  […]

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Kathryn Harkup: A Is for Arsenic — Introduction and Chapter 1: Arsenic

Oh man. I’m only a chapter (plus introduction) in, and I’m having all sorts of “mysteries read” flashbacks already — not only for Christie’s writings but also for those of other writers. E.g., those Styrian peasants get a really major nod towards the end of Dorothy L. Sayers’s Strong Poison, and the initial setup of […]

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