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Posted January 15, 2009
The book begins explaining the background of detective work by informing the reader that detectives are people who reveal the secrets of criminals by tracking evidence of a crime. Detectives weren¿t created until the 19th century, when they were called ¿thief takers¿ who would recover stolen goods from thieves for a price from the victim. The history and origin alone displays one of the main components of the occupation; the ability to disguise and play many roles. Meltzer writes, ¿Sometimes it takes lies and shams to counter lies and shams.¿<BR/> In the first section, Meltzer also displays the basics of detective work. He writes that in investigating they must answer the 6 questions: Who? , What? , Where? , When? , Why? , And How? In addition, he writes that the first principle of detection is observation, in that they must be able to detect valuable pieces in a crime scene, most of time involving serendipity.<BR/> Furthermore, the book tells a great deal about how to assess a crime scene. It talks about collecting evidence such as hair and fibers which are brought to the lab. It also talks about how to approach and outsmart witnesses who are frequently scared and therefore will not tell all of what they know.<BR/> In the second section of the book, Meltzer adequately lays out the forensic science which detective work entails. He talks of the importance of hair, blood and semen collected by the detective at a crime scene. Meltzer gives an example of a crime in which a chemist named Edward O. Heinrich put together the profile of a man involved in an Oregon train robbery, which police failed to solve for several weeks. This enlightening instance was one of many that Meltzer appropriately includes in this book. He also writes in depth about fingerprint analysis using the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), and the history of how such science evolved with the help of men including Henry Fauld, Francis Galron, and Edward Henry. Along with fingerprint analysis, Meltzer describes how important DNA is in an investigation, in that it only takes a few cells (be it from hair, skin, blood, and exc.) to ID the person it came from.<BR/> Other examples of forensic science Meltzer speaks of are used in the investigation of the actual crime scene. He lays out the basis of ballistics, or the study of firearms and bullets, and how bullets are compared by markings left by the barrel of the gun it was shot from. Meltzer also explains the examination of bloodstains at a crime scene, and how to go about matching it to the victim or suspect; first determining if it is animal or human blood and then determining the sex of the person. Throughout the book Meltzer includes random, interesting facts such as that it is now known that 80% of people secrete their certain blood group in other bodily fluids such as saliva. Finally, Meltzer explains handwriting analysis in a lab in which they can identify typewriting, ink, paper, and even writing left on charred paper, all under a high power microscope.<BR/> Case Closed: The Real Scoop on Detective Work is an extremely interesting, and informational book about the work of a detective. Milton Meltzer keeps the reader interested with many cases in which certain techniques of detective work are utilized, and is very informant on the history of detection and the corresponding forensic science. If you are thinking of working as a detective, this book would be a especially helpful read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.