Probably every reader/viewer of sci-fi/fantasy has at one point encountered the classic bit of trickery: "The poison wasn't in the drink - it was in the cup!" - I am imagining a hypothetical reverse situation.
Suppose I am involved in an official ceremony with a visiting dignitary - one whom I would like to assassinate. The ceremony has me provide a drink (not necessarily wine) of which he will partake - making poison an obvious method of assassination. However, due to hard lessons learned from past misfortunes, the form of the ceremony has been changed in the following ways:
- I provide the drink, but both the dignitary and I must partake of it.
- Each of us will provide our own ceremonial cup, so neither of us can tamper with the other's.
This should, it is thought, defeat any attempt of mine to poison the dignitary without also poisoning myself. However, a devious alternative has suggested itself to my mind, and I'm off to see the chemist*.
I ask the chemist to provide me with:
- A poison that I can add to the drink, which, in lethal dose, is sufficiently undetectable to smell and taste.
- An antidote that I can have in my cup, which is:
- Preferably something I can smear around inside the cup (or added to something I can smear), as opposed to a liquid or powder which could fall out;
- Small enough in quantity that the cup appears empty to a cursory glance, yet of sufficient quantity/potency to neutralize the lethal dose of poison I will drink;
- Guaranteed to dissolve/mix with the drink without too much agitation (no more than 5 seconds of swirling it under my nose and enjoying the bouquet).
What does my chemist (*who is familiar with all the compounds generally known by the early-to-mid 1800s, but knows nothing of modern synthetic chemistry) suggest to me?
Some final freedoms/constraints:
- The drink need not be alcoholic; I may choose from a selection that includes anything from 0% to 40% alcohol per volume.
- My cup can be made of metal, wood, glass, pottery, or some artful combination; however, it is only a cup and cannot contain hidden compartments/mechanisms etc.
- DKNguyen makes the excellent point that if a poison is sufficiently slow-acting, an antidote could be taken after the ceremony. (Or, for a fast-acting poison, perhaps before.) However, my interest is primarily in the combination of chemicals that could be hidden in the drink/cup in this way.