Books : reviews

Val McDermid.
Forensics: the anatomy of a crime.
Profile Books. 2014

In her novels, McDermid has been solving complex crimes and confronting unimaginable evil for years. Now, she’s taking a look at the people who do it for real: the forensic scientists who can unlock apparent mysteries and help deliver justice. thanks to their ability to read the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene or the faintest of human traces.

Drawing on interviews with top-level professionals, ground-breaking research and her own experience, McDermid lays bare the secrets of these fascinating specialists. We learn how maggots can point to the time of death. We discover how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer. We realise how hard it is to erase our digital footprints.

It’s a journey that will take us to war zones, fire scenes and autopsy suites, and bring us into contact with extraordinary bravery and wickedness, as McDermid traces the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of tomorrow.