Casebook Of Forensic Detection Paperback – Aug 7 2007
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on Nov. 4 2007 by factfinder111
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 morePublished on Feb. 2 2003 by Harkius
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 morePublished on Nov. 26 2002
This books shows Forensics being used, not just the this is how you do it, but here it is in practice. Read morePublished on Oct. 26 2001 by Amanda Howard
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 morePublished on Sept. 14 2001 by Tom Jacobson
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 morePublished on Aug. 22 2001 by DK
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 morePublished on July 6 2001 by socalmomof3
This book is a fantastic survey of the use of science and medicine to catch the bad guys and set the innocent free. Read morePublished on June 17 2001 by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on May 5 2001