Open in the App Open in the App Open in the App
Get the key ideas from

Forensics

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

By Val McDermid
21-minute read
Audio available
Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us About Crime by Val McDermid

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.

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

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.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

Forensics

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

By Val McDermid
  • Read in 21 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 13 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us About Crime by Val McDermid
Synopsis

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.

Key idea 1 of 13

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.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.