- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 28 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audiobooks
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 29 Aug. 2013
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00ELMPC4W
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Silent Witnesses Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
In his introduction the author launches straight in with details of a murder of a young girl with illustrations of how forensics can rule someone out as a suspect as well as pointing justice in the direction of a perpetrator.
This book goes right back to the early forensics. It must be remembered that identifying someone from their corpse is probably not the easiest task! `Always remember you are absolutely unique, just like everyone else.' Margaret Mead US anthropologist (1901-1978) Although arranged in order of chronological developments in real life some of the techniques overlap before the scientists come to an agreement of the best method.
Each chapter of the book not only details the advances in forensic science but also gives examples of how these discoveries were used in evidence in court. There is much to digest in this book but it is all presented in such a way that you don't need any specialist knowledge to understand. I even kept track during the chapter on ballistics and for the first time understood how bullets can be tracked back to a particular gun.
I have to admit my favourite chapter was on poisons `after all, they were an extremely convenient way of ridding yourself of an enemy whilst avoiding detection.' Often used by women it took scientists much trial and error before they came up with conclusive proof that could be laid before a jury.
A must read for anyone who would like an accessible insight into the work of forensic scientists through the ages.
Each chapter looks at a different aspect of forensics - ballistics, blood, fingerprinting, the human body, DNA etc. McCrery introduces us to the scientists and detectives who developed the techniques and tests that gradually led to the current state of play where forensics is one of the major planks of detection. In less skilled hands, this could be a very dry subject indeed, but McCrery writes flowingly and interestingly, making the people come to life and explaining the science in a way that is easy to understand.
What makes the book most interesting is that McCrery tells the stories of the true crimes that were the earliest to be solved by each individual technique, and he ranges widely across the world to do so. He takes us back in time to the earliest days of detection to give a picture of the primitive, sometimes barbaric, methods that were used prior to the development of scientific methods - so we learn, for instance, of the suspect forced to share a bed with the bodies of his supposed victims to see if guilt would produce a confession. Or how about the early method of identifying an unknown victim by sticking the head on a pole and displaying it in public?
McCrery uses a chronological approach to telling his story, so in the chapter on the gun, for instance, we learn about its history from its earliest appearance as a Chinese 'fire-lance', through the invention of flintlocks and on to revolvers.Read more ›
It catalogues the development of forensic science by a detailing of the development of seven different methods of forensics: identification, ballistics, blood, trace evidence, the body, poisons and DNA. The sometimes complex scientific details are enlivened by accounts of murders in which the forensic method in discussion resulted in a conviction, or in the case of the final chapter on DNA in release and full pardon. The latter chapter is particularly fascinating because of its account of how DNA fingerprinting identified the buried remains of a family in Yekaterinburg, Russia as those of the Romanov family and the remains of a skeleton found in a Leicester car park as being those of Richard III.
The writing hits the right balance between giving sufficient detail without swamping the reader in science and, in addition, giving the human side of each murder case used to illustrate the forensic method in question.
Where I have criticism of McCrery is in the accuracy of the facts. I can only comment in relation to the particular murder which I have researched for now in excess of a year. Some of the facts are incorrect and for me this undermines the credibility of the facts contained within this book. Elsewhere there are contradictory facts. Some may think me picky, but I think not, particularly in a book about forensic science whose credibility necessarily relies upon accuracy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was an enjoyable book covering the history and application of some of the key elements that we take for granted in the solving of modern day crime. Read morePublished 8 months ago by bibliophile
Very interesting read. I've read lots of books on a similar theme. Nigel featured some of the most famous cases that supported the different chapter headings but also used new... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ian
Excellent, couldnt put it down even though its for study perpasesPublished 19 months ago by MRS P S BOOTH
This book presents a history of forensic science, made highly readable through a succession of (mainly) murder cases. It clearly represents the outcome of a good deal of research. Read morePublished on 3 July 2014 by Rosen
Does exactly what is says on the cover. Each forensic aspect is covered in interesting ways and put into context using past crimes. An excellent read.Published on 2 Mar. 2014 by DENNYKINDLES
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