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Forensics and Fiction: Clever, Intriguing, and Downright Odd Questions from Crime Writers

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  110 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
How long can someone survive in a cold, damp cave without food or water? How was diphtheria treated in 1886? Can Botox kill? Can DNA be found on a knife years later? How are mummified corpses identified? How long does it take blood to clot when spilled on a tile floor? What happens in death from electrocution?

As a consultant to many novelists around the world and to the wr
ebook, 320 pages
Published August 21st 2007 by Minotaur Books
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Robert Chartrand
Feb 28, 2008 Robert Chartrand rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers and lovers of murder mysteries and forensics
Shelves: teen, adult, non-fiction
I found this book to be a really fascinating read. It is a collection of questions that a doctor has recieved over the years from people who are trying to write a novel. Questions range from the effects of posions and drugs on the body, to proper procedures at a crime scene and everything else in between. Many of the questions' authors are anonymous, but there were a few from authors that I recognized, which added a nice bit of flavor to the read.

There were times when the book became a little dr
Lena Loneson
Mar 24, 2013 Lena Loneson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Forensics and Fiction is a seriously cool book.

The book is set up as a series of questions from crime writers, with responses from Dr. Lyle: Can a chiropractic adjustment lead to death? How would a mummified corpse be identified? Could my character hide inside a corpse? What toxic gas could be used to kill a roomful of people?

If any of those questions intrigue you, pick up a copy. Though I haven't written a lot of mystery and don't really need this kind of research, it's fascinating to skim thr
Kelly Smith
Mar 29, 2015 Kelly Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crime writers, anyone who has medical/crime questions for writing
Very informative and beyond helpful!

I love the fact that it was Q&A style and I came out of the learning a lot.
Marcia Martins
I expected more of this books. I was very disappointed .
Dorothyanne Brown
Fantastic resource for crime writers, or, it should be said, the criminal element. All sorts of easy to understand and fun explanations of how to kill off characters, how to conceal bodies, about decay and forensics of all sorts. Written in a chatty question and answer format, I can't recommend this book highly enough, whether you kill people in fiction or you just want to talk about it at family dinner parties.
Alan Petersen
This is a must have book for crime/thriller writers! The book is straight to the point. The author, who is a doctor, fielded many questions from writers about what happens in real life, and he answers from a medical perspective. This book will help me write more realistic scenes. It's also a blast to read some of the twisted (fun) ideas authors come up with for their books.
Mike Shultz
I couldn't pass up this book because it combines the new course I'm going to be teaching this year at my high school (forensics) along with my interest in writing. The author's answers to the questions varied from fascinating to a little on the mundane side, partly due to the repetition. Definitely glad I read it, but hopefully not the best book I'll find on the subject.
Mar 06, 2008 Sarai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone writing a killing scene and those who want a laugh
Recommended to Sarai by: Amazon
Shelves: howto-research, own
I really enjoy these books. It has helped me kill off a few characters in totally unique ways. I have also learned how to kill someone and make it look like an accident (highly useful but scary) some of the questions authors ask amuse me so I would highly suggest you not read while drinking!
Sara Diane
Dec 12, 2007 Sara Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers and those interested in forensics
A slow read, but chocked full of great info I might need someday as a writer. I hope to buy my own copy soon to have on hand. Just make sure you aren't faint of heart, he gives good descriptions as to what would happen in various situations!
Stephanie Chu
May 25, 2015 Stephanie Chu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very fascinating and interesting. I learned a lot of about the human body and forensic. Highly recommended for everyone who are interested in learning about forensic and the human body.
Jul 18, 2012 Meg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolute must for a crime writer in the modern age when forensics play such a key role in the mystery/crime/thriller genre. It's a keeper for my reference library.
Carrie Clevenger
All those crazy questions writers have, Dr. Lyle (patiently, I admit) answers many. His responses are well thought-out and useful. Highly recommended.
Lori Whitwam
Using as a reference for my novel.

Three stars based on the degree of usefulness.
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D.P. Lyle, MD, operates The Writer’s Medical and Forensics Lab at He has served as a consultant for prominent writers and television programs, including Law & Order.

D.P. Lyle, MD is the Macavity Award winning and Edgar Award, Scribe Award, and USA Best Book Award nominated author of many non-fiction books (MURDER & MAYHEM; FORENSICS FOR DUMMIES; FORENSICS & FICTION; M
More about D.P. Lyle...

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