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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.

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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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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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
Format:Paperback
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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3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not great Nov. 4 2007
Format:Paperback
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. He supported two pieces of since discounted "forensic " evidence used at the original trial. Mr. Truscott was recently acquitted of Lynn Harper's murder by an appeal court in Ontario.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Casebook for Forensic Science & Law June 7 2004
Format:Paperback
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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2.0 out of 5 stars Good, but Slightly Disappointing Feb. 2 2003
By Harkius
Format:Paperback
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 information somewhere else. The case notes were frequently short enough that you would have no real interest in the case, and it read more like a How-To book for someone interested in writing a medico-legal thriller, as long as the person writing that just wanted a lot of really general information without actually knowing enough of what they are talking about. If you really want a good general interest forensics book, check out What The Corpse Revealed by Hugh Miller. In short, the book had a lot of information in it, but none of it was unavailable or more useful here than other sources.
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1.0 out of 5 stars I detect that much is lacking... Nov. 26 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
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.
Each case is laid out in the same format - where the guilty are indicated immediately (often with negative adjectives describing them), it is stated that (fill in the blank) technology was used (without any real scientific explanation of the technology), and then it is stated that the guilty was caught due to the science (which was never described).
If all you want to know about forensic science is case names and dates, you might like this book. If you would actually like to learn about the processes used and how the technology works, you may be more than a little disappointed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the Mystery? April 10 2002
Format:Paperback
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 A Great Place to Start Forensics Oct. 26 2001
Format:Paperback
This books shows Forensics being used, not just the this is how you do it, but here it is in practice. It is a good and very easy to read book with superb array of graphics and photos to help provide understanding of the fundamentals of forensics.
A must for any True Crime Buff (and CSI fan)
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Most recent customer reviews
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 6 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 20 2001
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