The Deadly Dinner Party and Other Medical Detective Stories Jonathan A. Edlow

Publication date:
22 Feb 2011
Yale University Press
264 pages: 235 x 156mm
Sales territories:

Picking up where Berton Roueche's The Medical Detectives left off, The Deadly Dinner Party presents fifteen edge-of-your-seat, real-life medical detective stories written by a practicing physician. Award-winning author Jonathan Edlow shows the doctor as detective and the epidemiologist as elite sleuth in stories that are as gripping as the best thrillers. In these stories, a notorious stomach bug turns a suburban dinner party into a disaster that almost claims its host; a diminutive woman routinely eats more than her football-playing boyfriend but continually loses weight; a young executive is diagnosed with lung cancer, yet the tumors seem to wax and wane inexplicably.

Written for the layperson who wishes to better grasp how doctors decipher the myriad clues and puzzling symptoms they often encounter, each story presents a very different case where doctors must work quickly to find the accurate diagnosis before it is too late. Edlow uses his unique ability to relate complex medical concepts in a writing style that is clear, engaging, and easily understandable. The resulting stories both entertain us and teach us much about medicine, its history, and the subtle interactions among pathogens, humans, and the environment.

Jonathan A. Edlow, M.D., F.A.C.P., is vice chair of emergency medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School. He is the author of the award-winning Bull's Eye: Unraveling the Medical Mystery of Lyme Disease and Stroke. He lives in Newtonville, MA.

"Edlow's collection of bite-sized essays about obscure infections, poisons and diseases - from infected piranha tank water to vitamin D intoxication - make an enjoyable and interesting book... giving an impression of a world packed with fascinating and bizarre ways of falling ill."—Druin Burch, New Scientist

"The Deadly Dinner Party... sounds more like a title you'd find under Arthur Conan Doyle or Berton Roueche and not surprisingly the author mentions their inspiration in a 15-story collection of mysteries where the murderer or culprit are superbugs, pathogens, bacteria, infections and personal hygiene. Figure that one out Mr Barnaby. If you liked Quincy you'll love this."—Irish Times

"The book flows well and is easy to read... I wholeheartedly recommend this book and hope that it inspires the hidden detective in all of us."—Emma Hill, Lancet