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Dead Men Do Tell Tales: Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Anthropologist Paperback – 14 Oct 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Paperback, 14 Oct 1996
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Product details

  • Paperback: 371 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd; Re-issue edition (14 Oct. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099416131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099416135
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 2.9 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘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

‘He’s not just another clever forensic detective – he’s 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.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
William Maples was a Forensic Anthropologist in Florida and this book explains in fascinating detail many of the cases that he has come across in his job.
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!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr Maples tells his life story with compassion and humour, fascinating and informative it tells of the early days of forensic science, and the innovations that have led it to becoming a major contributor to investigations.
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Format: Paperback
Recently, an online acquaintance suggested we begin exchanging books through the post. The first book she wanted to send was Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Anthropologist by William R. Maples, PhD and William Browning. ‘And it has pictures too!’ she said. I promptly gave her my address (I’m typing this post two months later, so she wasn’t a homicidal maniac) and shortly thereafter the book arrived on my doorstep. (For those of you playing along at home, I sent her Execution by Geoffrey Abbott.)

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.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of many popluar forensic books that I've read over the years. It is told from the point of view of a forensic anthropologist (they deal with bones, not complete bodies).
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.
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By A Customer on 19 Aug. 2002
Format: Hardcover
I started a forensic science degree 2 years a go and after reading this book it really motivated me to peform as well as i could and push to myself so that i could aim to work in the same field as William Maples. Each chapter tells more insight into Maples life and how he worked to acheive his position in world of forensic anthropology. Each account that he gives of past cases solved and unsolved are nailbiting, I definitly found myself not being able to put this book down. I would recommend it to anybody in this profession as it is definitly an honour to read about a man who helped greatly found this science.
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