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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Overview

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

In the course of researching her best-selling books, McDermid has become familiar with many branches of forensics, and now she uncovers the history of this science and the people who make sure that for murderers, there is no hiding place. 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. Now available in paperback, Forensics goes behind the scenes with some of these top-level professionals and their groundbreaking research, drawing on original interviews and firsthand experience on scene with top forensic scientists. Along the way, we discover how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine 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. The journey takes us to war zones, fire scenes, and autopsy suites, reveals both extraordinary bravery and true wickedness, as we trace the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802125156
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 04/05/2016
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 128,208
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 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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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