Dead Men Do Tell Tales: Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Anthropologist Paperback – 14 Oct 1996
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A Masterpiece -- Patricia Cornwell
An excellent book -- Kathy Reichs
An incredible story, brilliantly told. Maples takes us safely through the valley of shadows and death. Dead Men Do Tell Tales is a masterpiece -- Patricia Cornwall
Hes not just another clever forensic detective hes a poet, a philosopher, and a sly commentator on the fractured human condition -- Carl Hiaasen
Maples and Browning could have written a dry, clinical analysis of forensic anthropology; instead they tell tales better than the dead could for themselves -- New York Time Book Review
From the Inside Flap
From a skeleton, a skull, a mere fragment of burnt thighbone, Dr. William Maples can deduce the age, gender, and ethnicity of a murder victim, the manner in which the person was dispatched, and, ultimately, the identity of the killer. In "Dead Men Do Tell Tales, Dr. Maples revisits his strangest, most interesting, and most horrific investigations, from the baffling cases of conquistador Francisco Pizarro and Vietnam MIAs to the mysterious deaths of President Zachary Taylor and the family of Czar Nicholas II. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I learnt a lot of amazing facts about forensic anthropology (like the work of a pathologist but studying bones) which in itself is reason to buy this book. But these facts are interwoven in some fascinating cases which include accounts of skeletons of many famous people, Robert the Bruce, the Elephant Man, President Zachary Taylor and Tsar Nicholas II and his family among others. The cases not only involve the famous but ordinary people; suicides, murders, leprosy, arsenic poisoning, cremation plus loads of other weird cases.
There are two sections of photographs illustrating most of the cases in the book and it was extremely easy to read. Highly recommended to anyone who likes true crime, forensics or if you like novels of Kathy Reichs. If your interested in this sort of thing then a must buy!
Forensic anthropology (what Temperance Brennan does on Bones) has always been something of a passing interest of mine, but this was my first in-depth reading about the subject. The science hasn’t been around all that long and Maples has been a part of a good portion of it. Particularly interesting were chapters on cremation, the truly twisted Meeks-Jenning case, his involvement with identifying the Romanovs and his thoughts upon meeting Ted Bundy, but the book was full of wonderful information. Like this:
"The instruments of murder are manifold as the unlimited human imagination. Apart from the obvious–shotguns, rifles, pistols, knives, hatches and axes–I have seen meat cleavers, machetes, ice picks, bayonets, hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, crowbars, prybars, two-by-fours, tree limbs, jack handles (which are not ‘tire irons'; nobody carries tire irons anymore), building blocks, crutches, artificial legs, brass bedposts, pipes, bricks, belts, neckties, pantyhose, ropes, bootlaces, towels and chains–all these things and more, used by human beings to dispatch fellow human beings into eternity. I have never seen a butler use a candelabrum! Such recherché elegance is apparently confided to England.Read more ›
William Maples lead a fascinating life - we learn about his experiences in Africa and as a young man at college. All too briefly, I must say.
The first part of this book teases the reader with promises of things to come. Breathlessly, we hear about suicides and murders... all in passing.
Then the author decides to take a more thorough approach. We get rather long chapters on identification of MIA servicemen, a conqusitador, the Tsar and this family, the Meek-Jennings case (which is hinted at all through the book - it must have been Maples' favourite case) and Zachary Taylor.
The problem is that the science of forensic anthropology is barely touched on. Maples' descriptions of his work make it seem like one man and a pair of tweezers instead of a science. I would like to more about the techniques involved.
Personally, I found the chapters on the famous cases (especially that of the Tsar) less interesting than his earlier chapters, which were composed of many examples. I'm sad to say that I didn't really care whether or not Zachary Taylor (a US president for about 10 mins, a hundred and fifty years ago) was poisoned.
All in all, this is a good book but it doesn't grip the reader in the same way that some other forensics books do. If you want a great book with the air of a mystery, read "What the Corpse Revealed" by Hugh Miller.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved this, could not put it down. Very clear and well written not too graphic either, if you love Kathy Reichs, Bones or CSI this is a good factual readPublished on 30 April 2014 by Amazon Customer
A very good book no matter how little or how much you know about the subject. Everything you learn is through him recounting stories so you learn terms and facts without knowing. Read morePublished on 16 Jun. 2012 by Veronica
This book is a well written overview of the work of an American forensic anthropologist.
That said, it is showing its age. Read more