Carol Ann Lee's research is extensive and the detail of her biography is almost overwhelming. Somehow I'd never heard of Graham Young before. Now I know so much about his life but no inkling at all of why he came to have such an obsession with poisons, such in-depth knowledge, but no empathy at all with the sufferings of the family, friends and colleagues he so viciously attacked with poisons.
This is an unusual choice of book for me as I've read only the classics of true crime; In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer. Those both resulted in the execution of the criminals but Graham Young was sent to Broadmoor for secure treatment. Not only did his first murder escape detection but this poisoner was still a minor and capital punishment had been abolished in the UK.
The inredible story continues as Young convinced the psychiatrists that he was a 'cured' (rather than 'reformed') person and achieved a lightly supervised release into the community. This was a recipe for disaster resulting in a horrific progress through more undetected poisonings until his eventual inevitable capture.
The author keeps up an almost unbearable tension with only the occasional diversion into more factual, less personal, areas. So we find out about the history of the use of poisons and of the treatment of the criminally insane, particularly at Broadmoor. There's no possibility of sugar-coating the crimes or the suffering Young's victims suffered; this is not a pleasant topic so it cannot help but be an unpleasant read.