The Queen of All Poisons

A Boston physician becomes an assassin for the U.S. government in this medical suspense thriller by an award-winning pathologist (Book 1 in the Dr. Lily Robinson trilogy.)

Hidden under a cloak of legitimacy, I have been pressed to deliver extraordinary service for my country. It has been a successful ruse. A premium blend of dark deception with just an aroma of truth. – Dr. Lily Robinson


Dr. Lily Robinson is a brilliant physician with an encyclopedic knowledge of all toxins and poisons, and a penchant for wearing stilettos. In an unforeseeable twist in her life, the United States Government appeals to her patriotism–and her knowledge of how to kill without bloodshed, to rid the world of threats to our nation. Emotionally blunted and flawed, she struggles to move between assassin and healer, yet still able to fulfill her competing objectives. Now asked to assassinate a terrorist threatening New York City, she quickly realizes the Russians have already released a deadly toxin in a surprisingly innocuous medium.

Based on 100 Reviews
Jay Ruud
July 20, 2023

5.0 out of 5 stars First Do No Harm, Then Do Them In

In this medical thriller by BJ Magnani, we’re introduced to Dr. Lily Robinson, a pathologist with a world-class knowledge of toxins and poisons whose day job involves working as a professor of clinical pathology at a Boston medical school and a physician in the hospital connected to her university. But we learn that she also has a secret life using her knowledge of poisons in the service of the U.S. government as an assassin. How political assassination squares in her mind with the Hippocratic oath to “do no harm” is only one of the myriad complexities of Dr. Robinson’s character. This first novel opens with an assignment for Lily to poison a Russia scientist at a dinner, but it seems the Russians are ahead of her and find a way to steal the toxin before she can use it. They have also, it seems, initiated a plan to spread a deadly toxin to large crowds in New York City on Superbowl Sunday. The novel begins like a Homeric epic, in medias res, as we learn about Lily’s backstory through various allusions through the first part of the book. But suddenly, at a crucial point in the story, we find ourselves decades in the past in South America, among a group of characters we’ve not met and who seem to have nothing to do with Lily or her current dilemma. One of the delights of the novel is in seeing how these disparate elements come together as you get closer to the story’s denouement. Another trick of Magnani’s is her shift in point of view. Some chapters are told in a detached third-person narrative, while others are from Dr. Robinson’s own first person perspective essentially allowing the reader to alternate an overall view of the action with a closer, more personal perspective, not unlike a film camera moving from a long shot that takes in a whole scene and a closeup giving a more subjective view of the character. These shifts make for an active reading experience, and by the end of the novel you’ll want more—and, of course, there will be more, as some of the story’s questions are left unanswered in the end. Looks like I’ll have to check out the sequel! It’s no secret that Magnani herself is a respected pathologist who taught and practiced at Tufts University School of Medicine, so one can assume there is a lot of her in Dr. Lily Robinson’s character. It’s certainly possible that, like her character, she has a penchant for wearing stiletto heels. Is she also a government assassin? Who knows. I suppose she could tell you, but then she’d probably have to kill you. Better not to ask. Just read the book. You’ll enjoy it.

David A Deese
June 7, 2023

5.0 out of 5 stars The brilliance and intrigue of the plot measures up to the very best suspense novels!

Several fascinating things caught my attention about this “page turner” suspense, mystery. action adventure novel. Certainly, the characters, their relationships, and their settings are refreshingly authentic and credible, first and foremost because the author seems to write from her own extensive professional background and experience. It’s both a “women’s” novel of mothers, daughters, and female subjugation, as well as a crime adventure driven by professional assassins, both female and male. Led by world renowned toxicologist Lily in particular, these people work tightly as teams, struggle with trust issues, and share passionate encounters as they try to separate profession from romance. Lily lives with a profound ethical issue. The brilliance and intrigue of the plot measures up to the very best suspense novels! The scenes and action highlight elements of actual forensic and medical science, as they shift dramatically from the poison garden, to the lab or morgue, and beyond to Columbia’s Jungles, Hong Kong, Seoul, and New York City — the epicenter. The twists and turns between past and present across multiple continents keep you guessing about who to trust, who will live or die, and who will prevail! It’s a story of both destiny and ingenuity. Finally, the scenes and events reveal terrifying cues about what could happen in the future if national governments and their intelligence establishments are not well prepared. The geopolitical realities and implications of international criminal networks, drug cartels, and global security threats — “the Russians” in particular, are all highlighted through a frightening form of terrorist threat. This reader is already into the second volume in the series in order to follow the two daughters at least as closely as Lily.

March 12, 2023

5.0 out of 5 stars Pay attention to the clues

Emotional and thrilling at the same time. The characters were well thought out. The plot builds and characters intersect like puzzle pieces to a riveting climax. I felt challenged to solve the puzzle as I tried to figure out who would support and who would betray Dr. Robinson in her espionage efforts, using her knowledge of deadly poisons to save many lives in spite of a ruthless plan to destroy those lives. The author makes good use of dramatic irony that begs the reader to pay attention to the clues. This kept me guessing and turning the pages. If you love a good mystery and thrilling moments with a female protagonist unlike any other, you’ll enjoy this book. I look forward to reading Book 2.

C. M. Wendelboe
July 2, 2022

5.0 out of 5 stars A mystery/thriller that keeps you guessing,

The author, a world-renown expert on poisons, takes the reader through a maze of intrigue. Lily Robinson is not your stereotypical assassin. She is beautiful, intelligent, and ruthless in her own way. Will a terrorist organization succeed in poisoning everyone in the city? You’ll have to read the book to find out. I need to warn you, the denouement isn’t what you’d expect.

Mei-Yu H.
June 23, 2022

5.0 out of 5 stars Be prepared to read it in one seating!

Fascinating murder mystery thriller! Engaging story lines make it both highly entertaining AND educational – hard to put down. Highly recommended!

Avram D Lavinsky
March 5, 2022

5.0 out of 5 stars Scary and Original

A scary and original slant on the thriller from an internationally recognized pathologist/toxicologist. So glad BJ Magnani works for the good guys.

September 22, 2021

5.0 out of 5 stars Clever page-turner

Looking forward to seeing what Dr. Lily is up to next. She’s a timely character – the book would make a great movie. Science-minded readers will enjoy the thorough explorations of toxins and their effects.

May 30, 2021

5.0 out of 5 stars You won't put it down — a real page turner!

It grabs you from the first page and hangs on till the last leaving you wanting more. A textbook thriller of toxins and international intrigue taught by an unforgettable character, Lily Robinson.

March 8, 2021

5.0 out of 5 stars There's something especially intriguing, and scary, about poisons…and poisoners.

There is something inherently fascinating and frightening about toxins. A gun you can see and hear. There’s little doubt when you’ve been stabbed. A poison can be picking you apart, from the inside, silently, while learned medical professionals fight to save you. Now, imagine one of the best among those professionals is hired to use that same expertise to kill. Dr. Lily Robinson- sexy and deadly- an assassin for her government. This novel is expertly plotted, filled with complex characters, a vehicle for exploration of the deadly science, and a reminder that, while throughout history poisons have killed queens, there’s nothing quite as formidable as the Queen of All Poisons. I can’t wait for the sequel The Power of Poison

Matthew Mostofi
December 30, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book With Lots of Twists And Turns!!

My favorite part of the book: the twists and turns throughout. It was exciting to see how things would connect between all of the characters. There were also a lot of surprises. There was enough heat in the book which also made it a great read. I loved all of the toxicology. I would also recommend reading the book over a couple of days which will help you remember all of the characters. Lily Robinson was a phenomenal character!! I highly recommend the book!!! I cannot wait for the sequel!

December 21, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this intriguing fictional story that is relevant today.

I loved the protagonist Lily Robinson’s smooth style and confidence. She made me curious about her inner feelings and her true beliefs about her career choice. Parts of the book gently lead you into her past, yet keep you in the dark and wanting more. Even though I am not a scientist, the writer made me want to learn more about the art of poison. Can’t wait for the next book!

December 9, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!

Fantastic! Plot twists that keep you guessing throughout the book. Combines science, medicine and adventure in a fun read!

Farhad A
November 9, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable reading!

I was first introduced to this book by a colleague pathologist. When I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down even for few minutes. Amazing story and amazing science of toxicology. Lily Robinson in the Art of Secret Poisoning and couldn’t wait for more Lily. If you enjoy reading crime scientific books, as well as learning about toxicology and effect of different poisons, this is a book for you. If you are even little bit curious about toxicology this book will amaze you. Yes and yes, looking forward to the next book and seeing what Lilly gets up to next.

Kenneth Weiss
October 31, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars The book is amazing with a special plot and characters.

This book is really amazing. The plot and the characters are really interesting and very special. Looking foward to reading the next book.

Dennis Strenk
October 24, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars “Pathologists are the invisible thread in the weave of healthcare.”

Dr Lily Robinson leads a double life. She’s a pathologist, but also an international assassin. As you can guess by the title, Poisons are her weapon of choice. The author, a pathologist as well, weaves a tale that keeps you guessing at what will happen next. You can tell she is passionate about her field. The best part is the science in the book is real, and so are all the poisons. There’s a section at the end of the book for those who wish to learn more about them. A great book. I look forward to more adventures of Dr Robinson.

September 25, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars Smart female pathologist saves lives but uses rare plant poisons to kill for CIA — in stilettos!

This is a real page-turner, reminiscent of a great Cold War spy novel, but with a new twist–a smart modern female pathologist with an amazing command of plant toxins. The author’s vast knowledge of toxicology and pathology makes the story credible, while a touch of romance lightens the novel, and makes Lily more human. She is an impressive character–brilliant, chic, and nimble–who manages to stay several steps ahead of her targets–and her readers. I devoured this book over a weekend, marveling at the intricate web of intrigue the author creates. There are tantalizing connections that dangle at the end, making this reader eager for the next book in the series.

Tom Q.
September 24, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read !!!

The “Queen of all Poisons” is the creative work of Dr. B.J. Magnani. It is a fascinating story of toxicology medicine mixed with espionage, that kept me at the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. Her detailed descriptions in every chapter were superb along with her impeccable knowledge of medicine, analytical testing, and toxicology. A must read for those in medicine and toxicology. I am looking forward to more books from Dr. Magnani. I highly recommend it.

Dan Manning
September 21, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! Lily Robinson is captivating

If you want a read that grapples with the complexities of a woman who is carnal in her personal life, compassionate in her chosen career as a Pathologist specializing in toxicology, but cold and detached in her un-chosen career as an assassin who kills with poison leaving no trace, you will love this book. It blends a back story of a coercive environment a mother faces in drug charged Colombia, her daughter and step daughter who diverge into separate lives, with a mass murder plot that accelerates to a torrid finish. Along the way you learn how cocaine is made, how to stop a heart, and where to get poison from the back of a frog. Couldn’t put it down.

August 30, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery, intrigue, science, feminism,

Totally drawn into the world of Lily Robinson and enthralled every minute. Left anxious for the story to continue in her next book.

geraldine emmett
August 29, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars Weekend mystery can’t put it down

I love the lily Robinson series ! After reading it I bought 9 copies for my girlfriends and gave them as gifts . It is well written ,great entertainment and a fast read . The main character is sexy and smart and the plot is very timely . Perfect for a weekend break !

July 29, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery and medicine….perfect combination!

Lily Robinson…toxicologist, trusted colleague, teacher, mentor, lover and friend. The many facets of this character take the reader down some very interesting paths. Wonderfully written combination of mystery and science. Great storyline that includes current events intertwined with the world of laboratory medicine. Enjoyable for those in the field yet the author provides enough explanation on the science plus the plot which captures the attention of all readers. Great read!

June 23, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars Great toxicology tale! Learn and be entertained at the same time!

This book is full of true facts about toxins and toxicants but also is a source of inspiration for those that might consider a career in toxicology. Great ending too!!! Highly recommended. GM

Patricia Danna
June 18, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars Medical thriller; covert assassinations; well-dressed killer.

Ms. Magnani’s book is a roller coaster thrill ride. She executes the perfect murders as part of a covert government assassination team. This is a good read…a little heavy on toxicology terms for the novice, but she does have a glossary of poisons as back-matter. A well-dressed killer, Dr. Robinson is the “queen of all poisons”–more wicked than Lucretia Borgia!

Bonnie Scott
May 31, 2020

5.0 out of 5 stars Great escape reading

What fun!! Fast paced, intriguing and smart. Never make an enemy of a toxicologist.

Graham Jones
May 29, 2020

Great read!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the fictional Dr. Lily Robinson in “The Queen of All Poisons”. Dr. Robinson is a clinical pathologist and medical toxicologist at a major hospital in Boston, who has a special interest in exotic and unusual poisons. That interest led her to be recruited (albeit reluctantly) by a major U.S. agency occasionally involved in clandestine assassinations in the U.S. and around the world. The author’s own experience as a pathologist and medical toxicologist helps lend authenticity to the poisoning scenarios described in “The Queen of Poisons”. The last part of the book is devoted to describing the various mineral, plant and animal poisons used by Dr. Robinson and should be of interest to any reader interested in “poisons” – both the nerdy scientists that some of us are, and the lay readers of Agatha Christie and other authors who love to include poisoning in their crime novels.

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