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My grandfather, the poisoner
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My grandfather, the poisoner

Gail Bell’s The Poison Principle won a 2002 NSW Premier’s Literary Award, and with good reason. It’s the utterly compelling true story of Gail’s grandfather, Dr William Macbeth, who poisoned two of his sons in 1927 – and got away with it.

Or did he? The legacy of secrets and shame he bequeathed his descendants divided the family and the truth would eventually be revealed. “A chemist by profession but a writer to the core” is how literary legend Helen Garner describes Gail in her foreword to the new edition of The Poison Principle (brought back into print this month by Xoum Publishing). As such, no-one was better placed to tell Macbeth’s tale.

Read Helen’s full introduction here or get the story straight from the source by listening to Gail’s chat with ABC Local Radio’s Nightlife with Philip Clark.

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