Review: Forensics by Val McDermid

 

Title: Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime

Author: Val McDermid

Published: Grove Press July 2015

Status: Read from June 18 to 20, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

“The story of forensic science, of that road from crime scene to courtroom, is the stuff of thousands of crime novels.”

Val McDermid is the bestselling crime fiction author of more than thirty novels, including her popular series featuring criminal profiler Tony Hill and Detective Inspector Carol Jordan. In Forensics, Val McDermid pays homage to the science that informs her work.

Drawing on interviews with leading forensic scientists about the history, practice and future of their varied disciplines, the latest research, and her own experiences, McDermid delves into the grimly fascinating anatomy of crime.

In exploring a wide range of forensic disciplines; fire scene investigation, entomology, pathology, toxicology, fingerprinting, blood spatter, DNA, anthropology, facial reconstruction, digital forensics, and forensic psychology, McDermid illustrates the science with both historical and modern day landmark cases, from the fire that razed London in 1666, to the dozens of serial murders committed by Doctor Harold Shipman.

The factual and scientific detail presented is easily accessible, clear, concise and not overly complex. I was fascinated to learn about the advances in DNA profiling for example, and the development of the science of entomology, first documented more than 750 years ago in a Chinese handbook for coroners called The Washing Away of Wrongs.

McDermid also takes the time to dispel some popular myths given life by television shows such as CSI and Law and Order. Despite her admiration for the usefulness of forensic sciences, she is careful to explain that no forensic discipline is infallible, DNA can be contaminated, fingerprints can be misinterpreted, crime scenes can be manipulated. Solving crimes, and perhaps more importantly ensuring convictions, relies on thorough investigation along with a combination of forensic disciplines.

Informative and entertaining, Forensics is an utterly engrossing read that should interest crime fiction readers, writers and anyone with interest in the field of forensics or law.

UK/AUS Cover

Forensics is available to purchase from

Grove I Amazon US I BookDepository

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and all good bookstores.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patty
    Jun 24, 2015 @ 04:40:07

    Now that is really a unique book for her…but she is an expert! Do you read Deborah Crombie?

    Like

    Reply

  2. Judith
    Jun 24, 2015 @ 05:09:21

    That sounds interesting! I read thrillers every now and again so I may have a look at this. Thanks for the nice review.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Kay
    Jun 24, 2015 @ 05:09:48

    I want to read this. Such a wealth of topics and info. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Deborah
    Jun 28, 2015 @ 12:47:20

    As you know I’m not a fan of non-fiction Shelleyrae but love that McDermid’s done this book. It’s easy to forget that authors put a lot of effort into their research etc.

    Like

    Reply

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