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Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective's Greatest Cases

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Overview

Praise for The Science of Sherlock Holmes

"Holmes is, first, a great detective, but he has also proven to be a great scientist, whether dabbling with poisons, tobacco ash, or tire marks. Wagner explores this fascinating aspect of his career by showing how his investigations were grounded in the cutting-edge science of his day, especially the emerging field of forensics.... Utterly compelling."
—Otto Penzler, member of the Baker Street Irregulars and proprietor of The Mysterious ...

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Overview

Praise for The Science of Sherlock Holmes

"Holmes is, first, a great detective, but he has also proven to be a great scientist, whether dabbling with poisons, tobacco ash, or tire marks. Wagner explores this fascinating aspect of his career by showing how his investigations were grounded in the cutting-edge science of his day, especially the emerging field of forensics.... Utterly compelling."
—Otto Penzler, member of the Baker Street Irregulars and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop

"E. J. Wagner demonstrates that without the work of Sherlock Holmes and his contemporaries, the CSI teams would be twiddling their collective thumbs. Her accounts of Victorian crimes make Watson's tales pale! Highly recommended for students of the Master Detective."
—Leslie S. Klinger, Editor, The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes

"In this thrilling book, E. J. Wagner has combined her considerable strengths in three disciplines to produce a work as compelling and blood-curdling as the best commercial fiction. This is CSI in foggy old London Town. Chilling, grim fun."
—John Westermann, author of Exit Wounds and Sweet Deal

"I am recommending this delightful work to all of my fellow forensic scientists.... Bravo, Ms. Wagner!"
—John Houde, author of Crime Lab: A Guide for Nonscientists

"A fabulously interesting read. The book traces the birth of the forensic sciences to the ingenuity of Sherlock Holmes. A wonderful blend of history, mystery, and whodunit."
—Andre Moenssens, Douglas Stripp Professor of Law Emeritus, University of Missouri at Kansas City, and coauthor of Scientific Evidence in Civil and Criminal Cases

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Forensic expert Wagner has crafted a volume that stands out from the plethora of recent memoirs of contemporary scientific detectives. By using the immortal and well-known Sherlock Holmes stories as her starting point, Wagner blends familiar examples from Doyle's accounts into a history of the growth of forensic science, pointing out where fiction strayed from fact. The author avoids the technical details that mar so many other efforts in this genre, injecting life into her narrative by weaving in true crime cases that either influenced Holmes's creator or may have been influenced by a published story from the Baker Street sleuth. Particularly memorable is a creepy 1945 murder of a man who, as a youth, had had an encounter with a spectral dog reminiscent of the hound of the Baskervilles. While some of the speculations are thin (including a passing suggestion about a new Ripper suspect), Wagner presents a balanced view of the history of forensic science that should appeal to a wide audience. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
* "Fascinating.... The Science of Sherlock Holmes will intrigue readers with incredible stories and amazing tales from the early days of forensic science." (Christian Science Monitor)

"…informative, intriguing and entertaining…" (What's on in London, July 2006)

"…well-researched book…" (Chemistry World, August 2006)

"…will be appreciated…not just by devotees of Holmes…but by anyone interested in the Victorian beginnings of forensic science…" (Chemistry World, August 2006)

Forensic expert Wagner has crafted a volume that stands out from the plethora of recent memoirs of contemporary scientific detectives. By using the immortal and well-known Sherlock Holmes stories as her starting point, Wagner blends familiar examples from Doyle's accounts into a history of the growth of forensic science, pointing out where fiction strayed from fact. The author avoids the technical details that mar so many other efforts in this genre, injecting life into her narrative by weaving in true crime cases that either influenced Holmes's creator or may have been influenced by a published story from the Baker Street sleuth. Particularly memorable is a creepy 1945 murder of a man who, as a youth, had had an encounter with a spectral dog reminiscent of the hound of the Baskervilles. While some of the speculations are thin (including a passing suggestion about a new Ripper suspect), Wagner presents a balanced view of the history of forensic science that should appeal to a wide audience. (Apr.) (Publishers Weekly, January 16, 2006)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470128237
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 4/27/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 682,903
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

E. J. Wagner is a crime historian, lecturer, teller of suspense stories for adults, and moderator of the annual Forensic Forum at Stony Brook University's Museum of Long Island Natural Sciences. Her work has been published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, the New York Times, and the Lancet. E. J.'s Web site is http://forensic.to/webhome/ejwagner/.
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Table of Contents

Preface.

Acknowledgments.

1 Dialogue with the Dead.

2 Beastly Tales and Black Dogs.

3 A Fly in the Ointment.

4 Proving Poison.

5 Disguise and the Detective.

6 The Crime Scene by Gaslight.

7 A Picture of Guilt.

8 Shots in the Dark.

9 Bad Impressions.

10 The Real Dirt.

11 Notes from the Devil.

12 A Voice in the Blood.

13 Myth, Medicine, and Murder.

Glossary.

Bibliography.

Index.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2013

    This is a lovely read for any Holmesian/Sherlockian! It was an

    This is a lovely read for any Holmesian/Sherlockian!
    It was an enormous help when I was writing a research essay on how Holmes foreshadowed the progression of forensic science, and for that I'm extremely thankful! Without it, it wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable to write. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2014

    Forensic Science

    A well researched presentation of the historical development of forensic science using Sherlock Holmes to introduce the topics. More interesting reading than expected. Recommended for any SH fan of course.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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