Socrates also died of it: the deadly poison in Agatha’s novel “The Song of the Five Little Pigs” — all small d

Agatha Christie recounted the details of Armas’ death in “The Song of Five Little Pigs”: He was found lying in front of the easel, with his hands outstretched on the bench, and he seemed to be staring at himself Picture being taken. “He looked – quite natural. As if he was sleeping. But the eyes were open, and the body was a little stiff.” – as the dying state of Socrates:

Text: Catherine Harkap| Translator: Shimei Xu

Agatha Christieoh“The Song of the Five Little Pigs”be discussed in detailToxicand its toxicity. Christie is guided by the amateur pharmacist Murdis who likes to study herbs. Blake’s role provided five suspects for poisoning Armas. The knowledge and opportunities Querrey needs.

The five suspects were at Armas’ home at the time of the murder, as was Armas’ wife, Caroline. They are Philip. Blake, a friend of Armas; Madis. Blake, Philip’s brother, lives nearby; Aisha. Greer, a ruined society whose portrait Armas paints, and the two have an affair; Angela. Warren, Caroline’s half-sister; Celia. Williams, Angela’s governess.

The afternoon before Armas’ death, Armas and the rest of the Querrey family visited Merdis. Murdis gave a tour of his laboratory and pointed out the various preparations he made with plants. He specifically mentions the preparation of poison, and tells visitors that it is extracted from ginseng.

Murdis went on to describe the properties of tomatine, lamenting that it was no longer found in the Pharmacopoeia—it is clear that Christie continued to pay attention to changes in pharmaceutical practice. Murdis found that toxin was very effective in treating asthma and wheezing; it relieved symptoms by numbing the sensation of pain and relaxing muscles, but it could not cure the actual disease. Merdis also readPhaedoA passage where Plato describes Socrates dying.

Christie recounted the details of Armas’ death. He was found lying in front of the easel, with his hands spread wide on the bench, apparently looking at the picture he was drawing. Friends and family have often seen him in this pose, and it was not unusual for those who saw him from afar that day. When everyone finally realized something was wrong, no one was sure if he was dead or not, so the doctor was called.

“He looked quite natural. Like sleeping. But his eyes were open, and he was a little stiff. ” The doctor arrived, but it was too late.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Dazhi Video AI Generation

If it weren’t for Merdis, Armas’ death might have been attributed to natural causes, maybe it was heat stroke. On the morning of the incident, Murdis noticed that his toxin bottle was almost empty, even though it had been full the day before. Murdis was worried that someone would take the toxin without knowing the danger, so he went to Armas’ house to discuss the matter with his brother Philip. When he walked to the house, Armas placed an easel in the garden for Aisha. Greer paints a portrait, Elsa waves to Murdis. Merdis watched Armas walk towards the easel, and he could see that he was a bit stunned. He thought Armas was drunk, but in fact the poisoning had started.

Poisoning left no particular signs during autopsies, but the disappearance of the poison from the Murdis laboratory gave the forensic doctor some idea of ​​where to start. Enough poison was later extracted from Armas’ body, perhaps from Stapha, to confirm that he had died of acetidine poisoning. Once removed from the carcass, tomatine is easily identified by a specific chemical color test in addition to the smell.

These staining tests were crude and unreliable by today’s standards, but would have been fine for forensic scientists and jury members in the 1920s. Poisoning can now be identified using chromatographic techniques. Even if tomatine was not specifically detected in the post-mortem, testing for a wider range of alkaloids should have detected it, which is the standard procedure for forensic toxicology screening.

Doctors in the Querrey case believe the poison was administered two or three hours before the body was found. Based on the results of the autopsy, it is easy to reconstruct Armas. The last hours of Querrey’s life. Christie is well aware of the symptoms of scutellaria poisoning, and writes about the effects of the poison on Amas’ body. After the others went to lunch, he collapsed on a bench. At this point the muscles begin to paralyze.

Agatha believed in Plato’s account that Socrates died without pain, but we know that may not be true. Armas was probably in excruciating pain, and the gradual disorganization of his body should also have been prevented; the poison would keep him conscious and sensitive until the last moment, even though he could not call for help.

A glass bottle and beer found in front of Armas’ body were sent for examination. At first, it was suggested that Armas might have committed suicide. He had a big fight with his wife, but this was not unusual, and he seemed to have no motive to end his life. The police investigated the situation that day, and suspicion fell on Armas’ wife, Caroline. In a drawer in her bedroom, she found an empty bottle of jasmine perfume.

When the bottle was analyzed, traces of the toxin hydrobromide were found. Murdis must have prepared toxin hydrobromide in his own laboratory, and then made it into a solution for storage. During a visit to Murdis’ laboratory, Caroline poured acetidine into an empty perfume bottle when no one was looking. Her claim that she stole the poison as an attempt to commit suicide was not accepted.

Moreover, Caroline brought the beer to her husband. The police speculated that she had taken a dropper that was normally used to fill pin ink and add a toxin to the beer; the dropper was found smashed to pieces on the way from Armas’s easel to the house. This instrument can pick up about one to two milliliters of liquid. Assuming that Murdis produced a fairly concentrated solution of toxin hydrobromide, the capacity of the dropper should be sufficient to hold a lethal dose of poison.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Dazhi Image

Caroline was arrested and put on trial. He did not plead, was convicted and later died in prison. Years later, Poirot is tasked with finding out if Caroline actually committed the murder. He visits the “Five Little Pigs” and recreates the day of the crime in his mind. Poirot uncovers the true meaning of the many clues that the police investigation has overlooked, using his little gray brain cells to uncover the truth.

There is no doubt that Armas died of toxin poisoning, and it is reasonable to speculate that the toxin in his system came from Murdis’ laboratory. However, he is not so sure who took her and who poisoned Armas. The arguments against Caroline are so serious that everyone seems to assume that she did it.

However, one incident convinced Poirot that Caroline could not be the killer: the tests on the beer bottle and glass in front of Armas showed that only the glass contained toxin. Caroline passed the beer to her husband, but everyone present knew she didn’t touch the glass.

Another thing that works in Caroline’s favor is that he is supposed to be poisoned before she gets her husband her beer. The timing of the arrival of the poison, as well as evidence of what happened to Armas, shows that he had already tasted the bitterness of a toxin before his wife arrived – when he was drinking beer, he said: “I can’t drink anything. today.”

But if it wasn’t Caroline’s hand, who would it be? Anyone could have taken the poison from the lab, or seen Caroline take it and steal some from the perfume bottle she kept in a drawer. Caroline believes that her sister Angela stole the poison and mixed it into the bottle of beer that Armas wanted to drink.

Angela had had an argument with Armas before the murder, and was seen touching the bottle of beer that Caroline had sent to Armas. When Armas’ body was found, someone noticed that Caroline was wiping the fingerprints on the beer bottle, and then she grabbed her husband’s hand to hold the bottle, trying to create the illusion of suicide and divert others’ suspicion from Angela; Know that the cup contains the toxin.

Convinced that Angela was the killer and wanting to protect her sister, Caroline went on trial for murder without pleading. So Poirot excludes Caroline and Angela from his list of suspects. However, this leaves the four little pigs… If you want to find the killer, read this book yourself.

Subscribe to every few d.Circularsee more life details

Gayon in the same field

This article is taken fromA is for Arsenic: Agatha Christie’s Deadly SalesroomRyefield Publishing
*throughlink aboveBuy the book, “Key Review Network” will donate all profitsThe Children’s Welfare League.

book presentation

“Murder Queen” Agatha’s detailed plot concept is the key to the fascinating novels. Compared with other murder methods, “killing poison” is more common in Christie’s works. Sometimes the poison itself is the highlight of the story, and the deadly substance he chooses is not arbitrary. The chemical and physiological characteristics of each poison Each of these provides crucial clues for finding the killer. If it was shooting or the use of a sharp weapon, the cause of death is obvious, but if it was poison, it is not necessarily so. Why are some compounds so deadly in small doses?

The author of this book, Catherine Harkap, is a chemist and a loyal reader of Christie’s. She specially selected 14 of Christie’s popular novels and introduced 14 key poisons used in the books. It not only explains the chemical properties and effects of the poison from a scientific point of view, but also analyzes the actual causes of the current use of the poison.

Each chapter begins with a literary quote and goes on to tell us what the poison is, how and under what conditions it kills, what murders have been committed using it, and how it play out in Christie’s plotting and what role.

Through the harrowing narrative that moves layer by layer like a mystery novel, we can not only understand the relevant information about different chemical substances, but also recall the original plot of Agatha Christie’s work again, and understand the secret of her success in creating suspense.

Editor in charge: Lin Junting
Draft editor: Gu Jiaxuan


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.