The Crime Readers' Association

Helen Barrell

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Helen Barrell is an author of historical non-fiction. She has appeared on Radio 4’s Punt PI and written for Fortean Times and Family Tree, and is a guest blogger for Findmypast.

Her first book, Poison Panic: Arsenic Deaths in 1840s Essex is an historical true crime, investigating the cases of women in Essex who were accused of being part of a county-wide poisoning conspiracy. Were they murderers or victims of circumstance?

Her second book, Fatal Evidence: Professor Alfred Swaine Taylor and the Dawn of Forensic Science, is the first book-length biography of the Victorian toxicologist. Find out how forensic science – or ‘medical jurisprudence’ – came to be taught in British medical schools, and how the combined interests of medicine and chemistry led to Taylor becoming one of the leading experts in the field. The book is full of crimes that Taylor investigated, well-known and obscure, from poisons to explosions. And there’s even a skeleton in a carpet-bag.

Helen is working on a police procedural fiction series set in riverside Victorian Essex.

Books by Helen Barrell

  • Poison Panic: Arsenic Deaths in 1840s Essex

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  • Fatal Evidence: Professor Alfred Swaine Taylor and the Dawn of Forensic Science

    Hive Amazon

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