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Casebook Of Forensic Detection [Paperback]

Colin Evans
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 7 2007
Updated with new material, this collection vividly depicts the horrendous crimes, colorful detectives, and grueling investigations that shaped the science of forensics. In concise, fascinating detail, Colin Evans shows how far forensic science has come from Sherlock Holmes's magnifying glass. No crime in this book is ordinary, and many of the perpetrators are notorious: Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, John List, Bruno Hauptmann, Jeffrey Macdonald, and Wayne Williams among others. Along with the cases solved, fifteen forensic techniques are covered- including fingerprinting, ballistics, toxicology, DNA analysis, and psychological profiling, methods that have increased the odds that today's technosleuths will get the bad guys, clear the innocent-and bring justice to the victims and their families.

Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

Anyone can summarize a collection of cases, but not everyone can make them read well. With a flair for compressed narrative worthy of a good short story writer, Colin Evans entertains and instructs the reader with 100 cases that exemplify the use of 15 different forensic techniques (ballistics, fingerprinting). Some (like the Lindbergh case) are famous, others are barely known, yet each has some unique twist that sets it apart. Many "firsts" are included, such as the first murder conviction without a body, the first use of psychological profiling, and the first use of DNA typing. Evans also brings out the distinct (often flamboyant) personalities of the pioneering experts of forensics and some of their more notable courtroom theatrics. Each case is labeled by name of criminal, forensic technique, date, location, and significant feature(s), making this a useful reference as well as a fun book to read. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This well-organized compendium by Evans (Killer Doctors in Britain) covers cases from 1751 to 1991, arranged according to the methodology by which they were solved. Fifteen areas are listed alphabetically, ranging from ballistics through DNA typing, fingerprinting, odontology, serology and toxicology to the still-disputed voiceprint analysis. Only a few twice-told tales like the murder of Gay Gibson and Willie Guldensuppe have been included. Otherwise, even the most dedicated devotee of the genre will find much that is new in these brief but exciting accounts of the brilliant and persistent scientific work that brought murderers like John List (through forensic anthropology), Ted Bundy (through odontology) and Jeffrey MacDonald (through trace evidence) to justice. Those still convinced of the innocence of Sacco and Vanzetti or Bruno Richard Hauptmann are in for some surprises. Fifty photos include many of the pathologists and detectives whose exploits are related in the text.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is the perfect starter book for anyone interested in forensics. It is organized by forensic discipline, then chronologically within each section. The author covers a number of famous cases, but has also included many more that are obscure, but equally fascinating. Each case is described ecomonically, but there is enough detail given to fully describe the case and the forensic techniques used to solve it. The writing is plain, precise, and jargon-free.
This book is also an excellent reference volume. The index and table of contents make it easy to find a specific case and I refer to this book often while reading other true crime or forensics book for names, dates, etc.
Anyone looking for a well-written, informative forensic science book need go no further than this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Casebook for Forensic Science & Law June 7 2004
This is an ideal book for a student of forensic science or law, who may need help to find out various cases for their studies. It gives a guide to many different cases throughout the last century, with enough detail for the student to be able to do further research.
Each new section has a brief review of what the subject matter is eg Ballistics. Colin tells a little of what ballistics is about, including some history, then he writes a little about the subject of firearms and then what can happen when firearms are fired. Other subjects covered are Cause of Death, Disputed Documents, DNA Typing, Explosives and Fire, Fingerprinting, Forensic Anthropology, Odontology, Psychological Profiling, Identification of Remains, Serology, Time of Death, Toxicology, Trace Evidence and Voiceprints.
The appendix in the book is on Forensic Pioneers and Their Cases and here Colin lists 9 forensic scientists giving their year of birth and if dead, their year of death, also a brief outline of their career or some other pertinent detail, with a list of the significant cases which they worked on.
This book is well written and with enough detail to give those who are not involved in this field a very enjoyable read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the Mystery? April 10 2002
I was dissappointed in this book because the facts of each case were layed out without any suspense or mystery. Because of the layout of the book, you start each story knowing who the killer is and what forensic technique was used to solve the crime. Once you know those details, the only thing you find out by reading the story is who was killed, how, and why. You find out those details at the beginning of the story rather than discovering them through the evidence that the forensic scientists uncover. The book is layed out in the style of a reference book. It's easy to find a given article if you know the basic facts of the case. However, this layout makes for less interesting reading.
On the positive side, Evans chose some fascinating cases for his book. All of the cases involve either an interesting crime, interesting forensic techniques, or both. If you love everything to do with forensics and have never watched a show or read a book about forensics that you didn't like, I'm sure you'd like this book. On the other hand, if you're looking for a book that's done in the style of Law and Order (you learn the facts as the investigators uncover them), you should look somewhere else.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book on subject Feb. 19 1998
By Frank
This is a fascinating book if you can put up with a murder every few pages, knowing that these murders took place in real life.
The author weaves information about the history of each method of detection in with the details of each crime -- kind of like Crichton's book "Five Patients." The author is occasionally given to a little bit of hyperbole, but it's an excellent read for anyone interested in forensics.
Here's one of the stories: It's about a woman who planted cyanide-laced Excedrin in various stores, to cover up the fact that she used cyanide-laced Excedrin to kill her husband. The twist is that when her husband died, the doctor mistakenly recorded the cause as emphysema, not poison. Because of the mistaken diagnosis of the cause of her husband's death, the widow/ murderer would only have gotten $31,000 insurance, instead of the $176,000 insurance she would have gotten if his death was accidental poisoning. She wanted the extra money badly enough that not only did she call the doctor several times to ask him if he could have been mistaken, but she called the police to ask if her husband's death could be related to a local cyanide/Excedrin death (caused by her planted Excedrin in a drug store causing an innocent death).
Investigating as she requested, not only did the police prove that her husband was poisoned, but the police proved that she was the one who did the poisoning, earning her a 90-year prison sentence.
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First, let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and learned much from it. I think, however, that the author tries to accomplish too much, and thereby leaves the reader with too little. The book is separated alphabetically into types of forensic detection methods (e.g., ballistics, fingerprints, etc.) and separated further within each category into case studies presented in chronological order. Thus, there are a number of case studies under each subject (usually 4-6) describing the chronological development of the forensic detection method at issue. The problem comes when the author tries to squeeze 100 separate case studies into this system. While almost all the case studies are interesting, and many absolutely fascinating, there simply is not enough space for each case study. Often, the author cannot provide enough detail to truly satisfy the reader. Some case studies are placed under one heading although the criminal was really caught primarily through another method (while this does not detract much from the forensic detection method being discussed, it does detract from the overall reading experience). The author would have been better off making the book longer or cutting down on the number of case studies while lengthening the description of each. Nevertheless, I still recommend this book for an introduction to the wide array of criminal forensic detection methods. The case studies are interesting and well written.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not great
Overall not a bad read. Not a lot of suspense or who dunnit factor. I was especially disappointed with his treatment of the Steven Truscott case. Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2007 by factfinder111
2.0 out of 5 stars Good, but Slightly Disappointing
The book was somewhat well-written, and parts were certainly enjoyable, but there is nothing that you can find here that you cannot find in greater detail and with more useful... Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2003 by Harkius
1.0 out of 5 stars I detect that much is lacking...
The "case studies" in this book read like a Jr. High essay - they lack substance and information and have nothing to keep the attention of the reader. Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Place to Start Forensics
This books shows Forensics being used, not just the this is how you do it, but here it is in practice. Read more
Published on Oct. 26 2001 by Amanda Howard
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for students
I just recently finished reading this excellent novel about science. I loved this book. If I could reccommend this book to a student in the highschool I would. Read more
Published on Sept. 14 2001 by Tom Jacobson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but not for the faint of heart
Overall this was a very interesting book, although only a page or two was devoted to each case you still feel as if you got the whole picture. Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2001 by DK
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting case studies in forensic science...
As someone who finds forensic science interesting, I found this book to be entertaining. Unfortunately, some of the stories I already knew about from watching forensic science... Read more
Published on July 6 2001 by socalmomof3
4.0 out of 5 stars Great history of science and medicine in the courts
This book is a fantastic survey of the use of science and medicine to catch the bad guys and set the innocent free. Read more
Published on June 17 2001 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't think the author had all his facts straight
It's an entertaining book, but I don't know how factual it is. The identification of the Romanov remains is not the same story as in "Dead Men Do Tell Tales" and a... Read more
Published on May 5 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars A simple and well written book for starters
This book can be easily comprehended. Cases are segmented into specific investigations. Excellent piece of material for new readers to understand the basics of forensic science. Read more
Published on March 19 2001
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