Dr. Henry Lee's Forensic Files: Five Famous Cases / Edition 1

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Dr. Henry C. Lee is considered by many to be the greatest forensic scientist in the world. His vast investigative experience (over 6,000 cases!) and participation in many high-profile trials have earned him not only the highest respect from the law enforcement community but also widespread public recognition. Here Dr. Lee once again gives avid fans of true crime an intimate glimpse into the real world of crime investigation, combining his unparalleled expertise with a clear and lively narrative.

Beginning with the infamous Scott Peterson trial, Dr. Lee vividly recounts his investigation of the case, focusing on the crucial issue of physical evidence. As a criminalist who examined the remains of both Laci Peterson and Conner, he brings a distinctive perspective and unique voice to the case. He also weighs in on the verdict.

Next, Dr. Lee considers the much-publicized abduction of Elizabeth Smart from her family’s Salt Lake City home. After a fruitless ten-month search, Elizabeth was found alive in a Salt Lake City suburb with Brian Mitchell and his wife, both of whom appeared to be mentally unstable. Dr. Lee—who investigated this compelling case—demonstrates the importance of physical evidence in reconstructing this crime. He also describes the role of brainwashing and outlines distinct similarities with the Patty Hearst case.

In the final three chapters, Dr. Lee examines the case of a novelist accused of murdering his wife–who had also been the suspected link to a similar death in Germany—where a woman also fatally fell down a flight of stairs; the murder of a man’s wife in which both the husband and her lover are considered suspects (with an outcome that is guaranteed to shock!); and the killing of a witness of an accused arsonist shortly before his trial, with a stunning conclusion that derived from Dr. Lee’s intriguing investigative work.

In each case, Dr. Lee presents — in addition to an engrossing narrative — the scientific details of how law enforcement investigated the crime, using the most recent advances in modern forensic tools. This is a fascinating insider's look by a world-renowned expert into the pursuit of justice in some of the most sensational and intriguing criminal cases of recent times.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There is perhaps no individual better suited to recount forensic insights into crime scene investigation than Lee, whose resumé is replete with criminal investigations dominating media headlines for the past 25 years. With this book, Lee has not disappointed our expectations about his abilities and willingness to take us behind the headlines and offer insightful observations about the likes of Scott Peterson and Elizabeth Smart. This is no ordinary exposé....Lee and Labriola offer readers a painless route to comprehending modern forensic science technologies. There is no better way to capture the attention of the nonscientist about science and technology than to sugarcoat the subject with practical examples of their applications in the criminal arena. Lee and Labriola have admirably achieved this goal... Recommended."


"Following Lee’s investigations makes for a fascinating peek at the importance of forensic science and how the judicial system sometimes gets it wrong despite expert testimony and evidence."


Publishers Weekly
Legendary forensic scientist Lee continues to build his popular bibliography with his latest collaboration with medical doctor Labriola, but those seeking revelations about the two notorious cases cited in the subtitle will be disappointed. The investigation of Scott Peterson's case takes up almost half of the book, but in the end, Lee was not even called as a witness for the defense. While he disagrees with the guilty verdict, Lee does an insufficient job of rebutting the prosecution's circumstantial evidence, focusing instead on the absence of a forensic smoking gun. Similarly, the section on the Elizabeth Smart abduction offers little that's new. Lee might have been better served by focusing on the lesser-known trio of cases that make up the rest of the book and giving more detail to the role of forensics in solving those crimes. For example, the defense in the little-known Michael Peterson case, which supposedly involved a fatal staircase fall, benefited from Lee's expertise in blood splatter analysis. And the case that closes the book, involving a plot worthy of fiction-two suspects accusing each other of the murder of the wife of one of them-challenged Lee's skills to reconstruct who was actually guilty. Color and b&w illus. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Lee, the forensic investigator famous from Court TV's Trace Evidence, here revisits five cases on which he consulted, each presenting different challenges for investigators. The Scott Peterson case, covered in the first and longest chapter in the book (which treats one investigation per chapter, going in reverse chronological order from the Peterson murder to one in 1984) shows an intensive investigation that nonetheless resulted in almost no forensic evidence. In the Michael Peterson murder case, Lee offers a radically different conclusion than the police, and with the Duntz brothers' crimes of arson and murder, he shows how forensic evidence can be clear in spite of the suspects' efforts to muddy the waters. For the sensational Myers/Fontanille case, there was almost too much forensic evidence and two suspects with identical stories that needed to be sorted out. The Elizabeth Smart case is the only one without a homicide and with a reasonably happy ending. Despite the efforts of coauthor Labriola (who also coauthored Famous Crimes Revisited with Lee), the accounts are somewhat stiff and technical; this is more a book for CSI wonks than for the general public, though Lee's high profile will draw readers. For academic and large public libraries.-Deirdre Bray Root, Middletown P.L., OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591024095
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 5/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 266
  • Sales rank: 829,770
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Henry C. Lee (Branford, CT), professor of forensic science at the University of New Haven and chief emeritus in the Department of Public Safety in Meriden, CT, is a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He is the author (with Jerry Labriola, M.D.) of The Budapest Connection and (with Thomas W. O’Neil) Cracking Cases and Cracking More Cases, among other works. Dr. Lee was formerly on Court TV’s Trace Evidence (now TruTV). He has also been a special news analyst on TruTV and a frequent guest on Larry King Live, Fox TV shows, and numerous other national television programs.

Jerry Labriola, M.D. (Naugatuck, CT), is the coauthor with Dr. Lee of Famous Crimes Revisited and is the author of five mystery novels, including the recently released The Maltese Murders and the critically acclaimed Murders at Hollings General. A pediatrician for over thirty years and also a Connecticut state senator, he now lectures extensively on true crime and forensic science issues, while writing both fiction and nonfiction.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2008

    A reviewer

    This book is an extremely detailed in its description of the investigations and the actions taken in the cases addressed in the text. It is well written, and is able to be understood by any person who has an interest in the legal process, no matter how small their interest might be.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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