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The Book of Murder and Science, Volume Two
Edited by Roger Wilkes

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The Book of Murder and Science, Volume Two

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The Book of Murder and Science, Volume Two
Edited by Roger Wilkes
Ulverscroft Large Print, (2002)
ISBN: 0-7089-4752-2
Genre: Science - Forensic, History, Non Fiction Crime

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - March 26, 2003

In recent years, there has been an increase of interest in the field of forensic science. This interest has been fostered by numerous television shows that highlight the use of forensic science to solve fictional crimes. This interest has also been spurred by how forensic science has been used to solve real-life crimes - and the media attention that has been garnered by these cases.

In The Book of Murder Science, Volume 2 Roger Wilkes has compiled a anthology of compelling real-life murder cases that were solved by forensic scientist who used their skills to interpret and document the forensic evidence left at the crime scene. In this book, eleven cases are discussed. In most of the cases, the forensic evidence is used to prove someone's guilt. However a few of the cases, such as in the case of the Birmingham Six, forensic evidence is used to prove innocence rather than guilt. The Birmingham Six were six men who had been charged, and convicted, of bombing two pubs. Twenty years later, forensic sciences were able to provide proof that the men where innocent of the crime that they had been convicted of. Another case of innocence proven revolves around the case of Sam Sheppard who was exonerated posthumously due to the development of new methods of testing DNA.

The murders chronicled in this book took place over a span of years, ranging from 1905 to 1974, although the forensic study of the cases often continues for years and even decades after the actual murders took place. By offering such a range of cases, the reader is able to explore how the study of forensics has changed over time, and how innovative techniques, such as the study of fingerprints, has revolutionized police work.

This book makes for fascinating reading. Both in regards to the mysteries surrounding the murders, as well as for how the cases were solved. The narratives are well-written and intriguing. Many of the cases are so unbelievable that they read like works of fiction, yet they are all 'real' stories. Each case is written by an author with a detailed knowledge of the case, and when relevant, a short description of what happen after the case was closed is also included.

Each case is presented in full, discussing the actual murder, how the case was investigated and prosecuted, and how forensic science was used in solving the case. Major players in each case are introduced, and their roles in each case are well delineated. As well, when a new investigative technique was used in a case, details are provided as to how the new technique was developed and how its use changed the study of forensics.

The cases in this book were drawn from both the United Kingdom and the United States, which offers an interesting juxtaposition as to how the two criminal justice systems works and how forensic techniques migrate back and forth between the two countries. This book is fascinating to read, and although it was written for a general audience, it will also be of interest to criminal investigators, scientists, and historians.

The Book of Murder and Science, Volume Two can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft. You can also buy this book by contacting Ulverscroft via email at:

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