Criminally good books

I’ve just finished reading a couple of good books:

Silent Witnesses

Nigel McCrery

and

The Burglar Caught by a Skeleton

And Other Singular Tales from the Victorian Press

Jeremy Clay

 

silent witnesses

Random House UK, Cornerstone

6th June 2013

  • ISBN 9781847946836
  • Price £18.99

A crime scene. A murder. A mystery.

The most important person on the scene? The forensic scientist. And yet the intricate details of their work remains a mystery to most of us.

 

Silent Witnesses looks at the history of forensic science over the last two centuries, during which time a combination of remarkable intuition, painstaking observation and leaps in scientific knowledge have developed this fascinating branch of detection. Throwing open the casebook, it introduces us to such luminaries as ‘The Wizard of Berkeley’ Edward Heinrich, who is credited with having solved over 2000 crimes, and Alphonse Bertillon, the French scientist whose guiding principle ‘no two individuals share the same characteristics’ became the core of identification. Along the way, it takes us to India and Australia, Columbia and China, Russia, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. And it proves that, in order to solve ever more complicated cases, science must always stay one step ahead of the killer.

 

This book is a very readable history of forensics; the author does not shy away from technical description yet explains forensic techniques in terms laymen would understand. Using real police cases McCrery illustrates the history of this fascinating science and the development of investigative techniques over the last two hundred years. I would recommend this book to anyone who’s ever watched a police procedural programme or read a detective novel and wondered just how the real forensic scientists come to their conclusions.

 

From the scientific to the sensationalist

 

skeleton burglarIcon Books

5th September 2013

  • ISBN 9781848316003
  • Price £12.99

The Bunny Suicides of the 1880s – extraordinary, bizarre and often morbidly funny stories from the depths of the Victorian press. 

HOLIDAYMAKER FIGHTS OFF AFRICAN LION IN WELSH HOTEL ROOM
MAN SWALLOWS MOUSE AND DIES
WIFE DRIVEN MAD BY HUSBAND TICKLING FEET
PALLBEARER KILLED BY COFFIN IN GRAVEYARD
LIBERALS EAT DOG

From the newspaper archives of the British Library, Jeremy Clay has unearthed the long-lost stories that enthralled and appalled Victorian Britain.

Within these pages are the riotous farces and tragedies of 19th-century life, a time when life was hard, pleasures short-lived, and gloating over other people’s misfortune a thoroughly acceptable form of entertainment.

Deliciously appalling and deliriously funny, The Burglar Caught by a Skeleton will have you, one way or another, in tears …


 

I laughed so much! With minimal commentary the author allows the original press reports to speak for themselves. Jeremy Clay has dug up some truly bizarre press reports from the nineteenth century. He has also found tales of tragedy that are forgotten today. These stories also give us a valuable insight into Victorian society, with all its contradictions and prejudices.

Amusing if sometimes gruesome read.

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