What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us About Crime

Book - 2014
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The dead 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. This book draws on crime novelist McDermid's own 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.
Publisher: New York :, Grove Press,, [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780802123916
Branch Call Number: 363.25 McDermid 2014
Characteristics: ix, 310 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm


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Apr 02, 2017

"Murder is not a repeatable experiment. Every one is unique." McDermit provides a huge amount of information in an enjoyable and fascinating read with case histories and interviews from many experts. The budding or seasoned reader of crime novels will learn lots of insights into how crimes are solved on topics such as fire scene investigations, entomology, toxicology, blood splatter, fingerprinting and even forensic psychology.
The author clearly shows how each of these scientific techniques help detectives in the non-fiction world solve crimes which thus allows the reader to better understand the solving of crimes in the world of fiction. In other words 'the dead talk'.

Jan 18, 2017

This book is excellently written. A great balance between the history of each discipline, practical application, and how it continues to evolve. She addresses arson investigation to entomology, autopsies to DNA analysis, even the reliability of the sciences in the courtroom. Val McDermid both introduces forensics to the curious first-time reader and further intrigues someone with more than a passing interest. What's more, it's about the people who study each field and the people they honor in each investigation. This is most certainly not a dry, technical read. McDermid uses the human component she's developed as a crime writer to engage the reader and makes us care about the victims as well.

Oct 20, 2015

I'm impressed with how well this was written. Lots of information about the history of various forensic methods, how the information gleaned has been used in court cases, and where things stand today. This could have been dry, but the way McDermid has sprinkled it very liberally with details about true life cases makes it very compelling. You'll come away from reading this with a more knowledgeable background to enhance your enjoyment of crime novels.

Aug 26, 2015

EXCELLENT book!!! Really well written and informative


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