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Dissenters' Chapel, Kensal Green
391 Ladbroke Grove, W10 5AA London, United Kingdom
Until recent times women had so little status and power that their only way of escaping an unhappy marriage was murder. In 17th Century Italy Giulia Tofana ran a successful business selling aqua tofana, an arsenic-based concoction, to a largely female clientele.
Even in 19th century it was frighteningly easy to bump off unwanted relatives. Arsenic was readily available over the counter for just a few pennies, horribly difficult to detect in food and drink and fatal in tiny doses, hence its name The Inheritor’s Powder. In 1833, when wealthy farmer George Bodle is taken violently ill and dies, suspicion falls on his family. But is there any way to prove it? The case would mark the birth of the modern science of forensic toxicology.
In her talk, Sandra Hempel brings to life a gripping story of domestic infighting, wayward police behavior, a slice of Victorian history, stories of poisonings, and an unforgettable foray into the origins of forensic science.
Tickets £12. Each ticket includes one delightful Hendrick’s Gin cocktail and a 20% donation towards a host of restoration projects at Kensal Green Cemetery.
This salon in the cemetery is part of the London Month of the Dead 2017.
Sandra Hempel is a journalist and author who specializes in health and social issues. She has worked for many leading newspapers and magazines, including The Times, the Sunday Times, the Guardian and the Mail on Sunday, as well as for the Department of Health and the NHS. She is the author of The Medical Detective. She lives in London with her two daughters.