It seems that chloroform has not left the public consciousness, so to speak, as there were two recent notable appearances on TV. First was the three questions on the subject in the final of University Challenge, and what I found interesting was that the answers to all three questions could most probably only be found together in one place, my first published book, Chloroform; the Quest for Oblivion.
The second appearance, more interesting still, amply demonstrated that due to the action of chloroform being repeatedly misrepresented in works of fiction, people still have the false impression that it can render someone unconscious almost instantly.
The first episode of an ITV documentary series The Detectives: Inside the Major Crimes Team, featured a robbery of a post office in which the one employee present, cashing up at the end of the day, told police he had been disabled with chloroform. This detail wasn’t referred to later in the program, which simply showed the course of the investigation, but anyone who knew anything about chloroform would have had their suspicions aroused at once. It’s an old trick, in fact it’s 170 years old, claiming non-involvement due to instantaneous unconsciousness! As I anticipated, the employee was shown to be complicit in the crime.