Forensics Book Summary - Forensics Book explained in key points
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Forensics summary

Val McDermid

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

4.6 (19 ratings)
29 mins

Brief summary

"Forensics" by Val McDermid is a fascinating exploration of the techniques used in forensic science. It covers everything from DNA analysis to entomology and provides a glimpse into the world of criminal investigation.

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    For 100 years, crime scene investigators have been securing forensic evidence.

    If you spend any time in front of the TV, then you know that there’s no shortage of detective shows out there. Crime Scene Investigators, or CSIs, have become an integral part of today’s pop culture. But forensic science isn’t just a made-for-TV phenomenon.

    Investigators of real crime scenes have been helping police collect and interpret evidence since the nineteenth century, when evidence-based legal proceedings were established. However, forensic techniques remained quite rudimentary until Edmond Locard came along in the early 1900s.

    Locard  established the world’s first crime scene investigation laboratory in 1910 in Lyon, France. Inspired by the fictional Sherlock Holmes, Locard’s most influential contribution to forensic science is the aptly-named Locard Principle, which states: “Every contact leaves a trace.”

    But the principles of modern crime scene analysis were established later, in 1931, when Frances Glessner Lee founded the Harvard School of Legal Medicine. There, she created the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Deaths, a series of intricate dollhouse-sized crime scenes that serve as a pedagogical tool for forensics students.

    But what do CSIs actually do?

    Once a police detective has secured a crime scene, it’s time for the CSI to get to work. She starts with an initial inspection of the scene, collecting inceptive evidence, that is, clearly recognizable evidence, like weapons or a bloody fingerprint. This is done very carefully; full-body suits, gloves and hairnets are worn, in order to keep the scene uncontaminated.

    The crime scene is then photographed from floor to ceiling and corner to corner. Every possible piece of evidence is bagged and clearly documented for a secure journey from crime scene to courtroom.

    It’s crucial that CSIs work quickly to ensure that the most compelling evidence makes it to the courtroom. Even if a prime suspect is apprehended, police can’t keep them forever, so identifying inceptive evidence quickly is paramount.

    In fact, speed is so important that modern CSI experts are considering introducing mobile investigation labs and mobile technology that would speed up the investigative process.

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    What is Forensics about?

    Forensics (2014) provides an inside look at the morbid world of forensic investigation. Filled with fascinating history and anecdotes from real criminal cases, Forensics gives you a complete, compelling overview of everything that happens during the investigation of a crime scene.

    Forensics Review

    Forensics (2015) by Val McDermid delves into the intriguing world of forensic science, offering a captivating exploration of its role in solving crimes. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides fascinating insights into real-life cases, showcasing the application of forensic techniques in solving mysteries.
    • Through meticulous research and interviews, McDermid presents the science behind forensics in an accessible and engaging manner.
    • With its compelling storytelling and attention to detail, the book guarantees that you won't find a dull moment, as it brings to life the excitement and challenges of forensic investigations.

    Who should read Forensics?

    • Those interested in the history of forensic science
    • Aspiring criminal investigators
    • People who watch shows like CSI

    About the Author

    Val McDermid is an award-winning crime novelist who began her career as a bureau chief for a national UK tabloid. Her best-selling Tony Hill novels were the inspiration for the popular UK television series Wire in the Blood.

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    Forensics FAQs 

    What is the main message of Forensics?

    The main message of Forensics is the fascinating world of forensic science and its applications in solving crimes.

    How long does it take to read Forensics?

    The reading time for Forensics varies depending on the reader. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Forensics a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Forensics is a compelling read that offers insights into the real-life techniques forensic scientists use to solve mysteries.

    Who is the author of Forensics?

    Val McDermid is the author of Forensics.

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