Book Details

Poison for Suicide or for Murder in Minnesota

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the most common method of suicide was taking poison—usually arsenic. On the farm, strychnine, cyanide, and arsenic were used to get rid of gophers, rabbits, and other vermin. Mental illness, especially depression, was regarded as the most important factor for suicide. In the 19th century about half the coroners’ verdicts on suicide concluded that the victims were “insane.” Suicidal attempts were often triggered by life crises—the death of a close relative or, more often, a breakdown in a romantic relationship. When there were few available painkillers, escape from physical illness was a common reason for suicide. Arsenic was often used for murder, as it was readily available, cheap, and pretty much tasteless when dissolved. Death by Poison is a riveting collection of true stories about people who had a hard time coping with life—either ending it by suicide or by murdering a person who made their life miserable. These stories take place throughout Minnesota from 1859 to 1913, involving people from all walks of life, documenting their struggles, their hardships, and the sad ways they ended their lives.


About the Author

Patricia Lubeck

Patricia Lubeck lives in southwestern Minnesota and has written several thoroughly researched, historical accounts of murder, mystery, and mayhem from the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the state. She earned her BA degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and returned to Minnesota in 2005. Now retired, Patricia enjoys traveling throughout the United States, visiting national parks, historic sites and museums. Visit her website at

Also by Patricia Lubeck

Murder in Gales
Murder, Mystery & Mayhem in Minnesota
Crime and Calamity in Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota
Murder and Madness
Victims of Foul Play
Asylum Scandals