I received a letter of inquiry from a gentleman in Chicago who was writing a historical novel set in colonial New Mexico. At one point in his story, he intended to have the villain poison a flock of sheep. But he was at a loss as to what poisons were available in those days and how they would have been administered to a batch of sheep out on the range. Could I come up with any suggestions?
I had no ready answer to his question, and the problem set me to wondering. Among the hundreds of Spanish documents I’ve read over the years, I couldn’t recall a single one that referred to the use of poison. Surely someone must have poisoned their mother-in-law or their neighbor’s dog and been hauled into court. But no record of any such case seems to remain.
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