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Book Review: Silent Witnesses – Nigel McCrery

Donna Brown862 views
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About Silent Witnesses
Silent WitnessesA crime scene. A murder. A mystery.

The most important person on the scene? The forensic scientist. And yet the intricate details of their work remains a mystery to most of us.

Silent Witnesses looks at the history of forensic science over the last two centuries, during which time a combination of remarkable intuition, painstaking observation and leaps in scientific knowledge have developed this fascinating branch of detection. Throwing open the casebook, it introduces us to such luminaries as ‘The Wizard of Berkeley’ Edward Heinrich, who is credited with having solved over 2000 crimes, and Alphonse Bertillon, the French scientist whose guiding principle ‘no two individuals share the same characteristics’ became the core of identification. Along the way, it takes us to India and Australia, Columbia and China, Russia, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. And it proves that, in order to solve ever more complicated cases, science must always stay one step ahead of the killer.

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Both crime and forensic science are fascinating topics and the combination of scientific progress and psychological understanding have led to some amazing advancements in recent years.

Silent Witnesses looks at some of the key turning points: the cases that were solved by groundbreaking technologies of the time or the cold cases resurrected and solved decades on. Most importantly, it profiles the immense work that goes into making sure the victims of crime have a voice, even long after the crime has been committed.

I thought this was a fascinating read. So many crime books focus on the criminal and their background. To find one that focuses so much on the criminologists, the scientists and, most importantly, the victims, is unusual to say the least. McCrery’s title come across as well researched, heavy on facts and low on shock tactics.

An excellent pick for science, crime or psychology fans and I’d venture history lovers would enjoy this too.

Verdict: 4/5

Source: Netgalley

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Donna Brown
Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.

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