Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us about Crime

Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us about Crime

by Val McDermid


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802125156
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 04/05/2016
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 75,257
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

A former journalist and Northern Bureau Chief of a national UK tabloid, Val McDermid is the best-selling author of thirty novels, three story collections, and another non-fiction book called A Suitable Job for a Woman , an inside look at female private investigators. She has received numerous awards recognizing her exceptional career, including the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for outstanding achievement in the field of crime writing and the Pioneer Award from Lambda Literary. She lives in Scotland.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 The Crime Scene 1

2 Fire Scene Investigation 18

3 Entomology 43

4 Pathology 63

5 Toxicology 88

6 Fingerprinting 116

7 Blood Spatter and DNA 138

8 Anthropology 165

9 Facial Reconstruction 190

10 Digital Forensics 210

11 Forensic Psychology 234

12 The Courtroom 263

Conclusion 290

Acknowledgements 293

Select bibliography 295

Illustration credits 299

Index 304

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Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Solving crime through evidence. In the preface to this fascinating look at the history and application of forensic science to the solving of crime, award winning crime writer Val McDermid writes that the notion that criminal law should be based on evidence is a relatively recent one. She also states that her very profession of crime fiction only began with the evidenced based legal system. This book is very much an appreciation of those who pioneered the techniques of forensic science and applied their usage to the solving of crime. Split into concise easy to read chapters the book looks at the full range of applications and techniques available ranging from such established subjects as fingerprinting, entomology and toxicology to the more recently discovered and developed ones such as digital forensics and DNA testing. We not only learn about the individuals who pioneered and developed their usage but also how their application in real life cases led to the conviction of the guilty party. Interestingly for me two of the cases featured occurred nearby where I reside, one a body was dismembered and hidden in woodland and in the other case the body was never found but in both cases the perpetrator was brought to justice. However there are cases examined where either the wrongful content or presentation by "experts" has lead to wrongful convictions by a jury and McDermid warns throughout the book on the dangers of an over reliance of forensics and the corresponding misrepresentation of the truth at times. There are interviews with the top professionals and visits to the autopsy lab and crime scene which will at the end of the book certainly give you a greater appreciation of the act of crime detection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent treatise on all or most aspects of criminology with historical precedents well reseached.
TdeV More than 1 year ago
Val McDermid makes everything read well. I’m uninterested in history but I read a lot of crime fiction. I was fascinated by FORENSICS by Val McDermid ©2014. The book covers the evolution of forensics as a tool for crime solvers in the past 200 years. Not interesting, you say? Ha! There you’d be wrong. It read like a story, with lots of exciting discoveries, complete with satisfying ending. Brilliant, positively brilliant. Now I’ll have to scrounge around to see if I can find another book of hers I haven’t read yet.
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
From the publisher: 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” goes behind the scenes with some of these top-level professionals and their groundbreaking research, drawing on Val 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 from war zones to fire scenes and autopsy suits and brings McDermid into contact with both extraordinary bravery and wickedness, as she traces the history of forensics from its earlier beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day. Ms. McDermid starts the book with facts dating from eighteenth-century scientific discoveries, when the term “forensic -- meaning a form of legal evidence – science, was born,” to the present time. The first case, in the opening chapter, describes dates back to 2005, going on to the opening of the first crime investigation lab in 1910 in France, the founder of which wrote a landmark 7-volume textbook on which he called “criminalistics,” and coined the phrase “every contact leaves a trace.” The second chapter, “Fire Scene Investigation,” goes back to September of 1666, then to a case in County Durham in 1844, one in Derbyshire in 1981, and on from there, covering each milestone reached. The ensuing chapters discuss at length other aspects of forensics, i.e., entomology, pathology, toxicology, fingerprinting, blood spatter and DNA, anthropology, facial reconstruction, digital forensics, forensic psychology, as well as the all-important courtrooms where all the evidence is presented, to the ends that justice is, irrevocably, done. Not a dry recitation by any means, the author has made it very real and intense by recounting the names of victims and the circumstances of many of the cases cited. The book makes for fascinating reading, and it is recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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