Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime

by Val McDermid

Thursday, November 14, 2019

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I bought this ages ago and forgot about it until recently. Val McDermid’s an excellent writer and though I prefer her early work to her current output she’s always been great at grounding her books in what seems to me to be real world police work. I feel this book is where she’s decided that all the research she’s done for her fiction might as well make a book of it’s own.

McDermid leads us in an orderly manner through all kinds of crime scene investigation techniques, from things like fingerprints that we’re all aware of, to topics such as forensic archaeology and psychology, and the crawling insects that appear on the cover and peppered over the pages have their part to play as well. She pulls in dozens of true crime cases to illustrate where the techniques have been used successfully, and also includes examples where they’ve failed or been wrongly applied. I’m not really a true crime reader but this was an excellent layperson’s guide to the science of forensic investigations. Easy to read if not always easy to stomach. Suffice to say I won’t be trying to dispose of any bodies after reading this!