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Val McDermid is one of the finest crime writers we have, whose novels have captivated millions of readers worldwide with their riveting narratives of characters who solve complex crimes and confront unimaginable evil. In the course of researching her bestselling novels McDermid has become familiar with every branch of forensics, and now she uncovers the history of this science, real-world murders and the people who must solve them. The dead talk—to the right listener. They can tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died, and, of course, who killed them. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help serve justice using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene, or the faintest of human traces. Forensics draws on interviews with some of these top-level professionals, ground-breaking research, and McDermid’s own original interviews and firsthand experience on scene with top forensic scientists. Along the way, McDermid discovers how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine one’s time of death; how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer; and how a team of young Argentine scientists led by a maverick American anthropologist were able to uncover the victims of a genocide. It’s a journey that will take McDermid to war zones, fire scenes, and autopsy suites, and bring her into contact with both extraordinary bravery and wickedness, as she traces the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.
In the course of researching her best-selling books, McDermid has become familiar with many branches of forensics, and now she uncovers the history of this science and the people who make sure that for murderers, there is no hiding place. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help serve justice using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene, or the faintest of human traces. Now available in paperback, "Forensics" goes behind the scenes with some of these top-level professionals and their groundbreaking research, drawing on original interviews and firsthand experience on scene with top forensic scientists. Along the way, we discover how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine time of death; how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer; and how a team of young Argentine scientists led by a maverick American anthropologist were able to uncover the victims of a genocide. The journey takes us to war zones, fire scenes, and autopsy suites, reveals both extraordinary bravery and true wickedness, as we trace the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.
The dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died - and who killed them. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help justice to be done using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene or the faintest of human traces. Forensics draws on interviews with top-level professionals, ground-breaking research and Val McDermid's own experience to lay bare the secrets of this fascinating science. And, along the way, she wonders at how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine time of death, how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer and how a team of young Argentine scientists led by a maverick American anthropologist uncovered the victims of a genocide. In her novels, McDermid has been solving complex crimes and confronting unimaginable evil for years. Now, she's looking at the people who do it for real. It's a journey that will take her to war zones, fire scenes and autopsy suites, and bring her into contact with extraordinary bravery and wickedness, as she traces the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day. Published in partnership with the Wellcome Collection. WELLCOME COLLECTION is the free museum and library for the incurably curious. It explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. It is part of Wellcome, a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas thrive.
“Brilliant and persistent scientific work that brought murderers like John List, Ted Bundy, and Jeffrey MacDonald to justice.”—Publishers Weekly “Landmarks of forensic science [that] are representative of the evolution of the discipline and its increasingly prominent role in crime solving.”—Library Journal Modern ballistics and the infamous Sacco and Vanzetti case. DNA analysis and the 20th century’s most wanted criminal—the hunt for Josef Mengele. “The Iceman”—a contract killer and one-man murder machine. Scientific analysis and history’s greatest publishing fraud—the Hitler Diaries. How the “perfect crime” can land you in prison. In a world so lawless that crimes must be prioritized, some cases still stand out—not only for their depravity but as landmarks of criminal detection. Updated with new material, this collection of 100 groundbreaking cases vividly depicts the horrendous crimes, colorful detectives, and grueling investigations that shaped the science of forensics. In concise, fascinating detail, Colin Evans shows how far we’ve come from Sherlock Holmes’s magnifying glass. Although no crime in this book is ordinary, many of the perpetrators are notorious: Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, John List, Bruno Hauptmann, Jeffrey Macdonald, Wayne Williams. Along with the cases solved, fifteen forensic techniques are covered—including fingerprinting, ballistics, toxicology, DNA analysis, and psychological profiling. Many of these are crime fighting “firsts” that have increased the odds that today’s techno sleuths will get the bad guys, clear the innocent—and bring justice to the victims and their families.
To take a crime from scene to court may involve several specialized branches of forensic science. Criminalistics specialists look at statistics, splash patterns, fingerprints and distribution of material at the scene; forensic chemistry deals with fires, explosives, glass, paint and soil analysis; toxicology looks at poisons and drug abuse; serology is the science of body fluids including blood, saliva and semen; the documents unit look at fakes and forgeries; and the computer branch investigate hacking and electronically detectable crimes. This case-packed book shows you how each unit works through 50 carefully selected crime studies that describe how scientific methods have been used within the field of criminal investigation across the world.
Crime novelist and former police officer Nigel McCrery provides an account of all the major areas of forensic science from around the world over the past two centuries. The book weaves dramatic narrative and scientific principles together in a way that allows readers to figure out crimes along with the experts. Readers are introduced to such fascinating figures as Dr. Edmond Locard, the "French Sherlock Holmes"; Edward Heinrich, "Wizard of Berkeley," who is credited with having solved more than 2,000 crimes; and Alphonse Bertillon, the French scientist whose guiding principle, "no two individuals share the same characteristics," became the core of criminal identification. Landmark crime investigations examined in depth include a notorious murder involving blood evidence and defended by F. Lee Bailey, the seminal 1936 murder that demonstrated the usefulness of the microscope in examining trace evidence, the 1849 murder of a wealthy Boston businessman that demonstrated how difficult it is to successfully dispose of a corpse, and many others.
Welcome to the exciting world of forensic investigation—the science of solving crimes. This introduces the field of forensic anthropology, where scientists and criminal investigators use the human skeleton to solve some of the world's most mysterious and violent crimes. From the nineteenth-century murderer who boiled his wife in a vat of acid, to the modern-day pig farmer accused of murdering more than sixty women, forensic anthropology shows how even the tiniest fragments of bones can reveal the identities of victims as well as killers. From mass-transit accidents to war to genocide and terrorist attacks, this science also pieces together the most scattered and seemingly unidentifiable remains. Using recent finds such as bags of bones in the woods, or the five-thousand-year-old skeleton of a victim of foul play, forensic detectives use the smallest clues, revealing a massive crime-recording device: the human body. See how the dead do tell tales to those who know how to listen!

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