Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Monday, 12 September 2011

A worrying coincidence?

It's not a good time to be a patient at Stockport's Stepping Hill Hospital. While detectives swarm over the place looking for clues to the deaths of three patients from saline drips contaminated with insulin, another crisis looms.

In the latest incident, officers were called to the hospital at 20:30 BST on Saturday after staff found that a bottle of milk had been contaminated.

However detectives said there was no evidence of a link to the sabotage of saline drips earlier this year.

For readers of crime fiction, there is a distinct frisson from the fact that a milk-bottle spiked with bleach had been left on a ward - precisely the method by which someone is murdered in a hospital in an early book by one of our foremost authors of detective stories*.

And a quick trawl through Amazon turns up another bit of light reading: 'Insulin Murders' by Caroline Richmond and Vincent Marks.

Insulin Murders is the first book on the market to describe real life cases of murder using insulin (and other hypoglycaemic agents) as a murder weapon. Written by a leading authority on insulin and its use as a murder weapon, this is a gripping account of true life crime, intended for doctors and laypeople alike.

It will appeal to both the medical and non-medical communities, and especially to all those with an interest in forensic medicine or true life crime.

And - just possibly - potential murderers as well.

*Spoiler Alert; this one.


  1. Ban Sherlock Holmes! More seriously this implies someone able to read and understand books of this type.

  2. And don't forget that killer on our dining room tables.

    It was Nurse Jones in the X-Ray Room with the Salt Cellar!

  3. Demetrius, I suppose they could try and track down anyone who has ordered a copy - it doesn't look like the kind of thing a bookshop would stock on spec.

    Then again, the Artful Dodger is currently researching body snatchers and the Victorian underworld; there's probably enough on his bookshelf to put us in the frame for every unsolved crime in the UK.

    Julia - too true! Ironic, really, that serious food contamination might well go undetected because everyone's worrying about the salt and saturated fat content.

    JH, if so, I'm definitely working from the wrong book!