The posthumous papers of the Picric Club

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The year is 1917, and all over England, scientists engaged in top secret research for the war effort are disappearing, quite literally in a puff of smoke. In each case, the disappearance can be linked to receipt of a copy of an obscure and apparently innocuous German patent, No 12,096 of 1880, for the preparation of red, violet, and green dyestuffs by the action of chloropicrin on aromatic amines. But this was no ordinary patent. No less a figure than the Government's leading expert on chemical warfare, Professor William Pope FRS has declared: ‘anyone who attempted to repeat the method [of the ’096 patent] would be pretty certain to kill himself during the operation'. Will the country's favourite consulting detective (and amateur chemist) solve the mystery of the deadly dyestuff disappearances, or is Sherlock Holmes himself destined for extinction, as the latest victim of the mysterious and malevolent ‘Picric Club’?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-852
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

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