Chasing Beethoven’s Head

When scientists announced recently that Ludwig van Beethoven died as a definitive result of lead poisoning, a number of gaps in the composer’s biography – his gradual descent into deafness, his erratic behavior and violent temper – began to be filled in. But someone had to do the legwork for the lead poisoning theory to be proven, and that someone was author Russell Martin, whose quest for the skull fragments that would yield the truth could be alternately described as obsessive, gruesome, and fascinating.