SOCIAL SCIENCES

Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime

Grove. Jul. 2015. 320p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780802123916. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780802191052. CRIME
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Using historical examples, author McDermid (Killing the Shadows) brings to life the various subspecialties within forensic science to show how, and how well, the theories work in practice. The distinct treatment—one chapter on entomology, the next on pathology, and so on—and the juxtaposition within the chapters of histories and case studies produces the experience of reading an introductory forensic science textbook, minus all the colorful photos and elucidative marginalia. While this might leave the academic reader feeling shortchanged, the average reader will be more than satisfied with a no-frills primer. Additionally, McDermid's experience as a crime writer and former journalist allows her to present the facts of the individual illustrative cases in compelling ways. Currency of the material is ensured through the use of recent court cases and consultation with practicing forensic scientists.
VERDICT This title will primarily be relevant to readers with a general interest in forensic science/criminalistics, casual academics, true crime aficionados, and fans of McDermid's other works.

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