Inheritance powder is the name that was given to poisons, especially arsenic, that were commonly used in the 17th and early 18th centuries to hasten the death of the elderly. For most of the 17th century, arsenic was deadly but undetectable, making it nearly impossible to prove that someone had been poisoned. The first arsenic test produced a gas—hardly something that a scientist could show to a judge. Faced with a growing epidemic of poisonings, doctors and chemists spent decades searching for something better
"Column: Every Last Byte,"
Journal of Digital Forensics, Security and Law: Vol. 6
, Article 1.
Available at: http://commons.erau.edu/jdfsl/vol6/iss2/1