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The Casebook of Forensic Detection: How Science Solved 100 of the World's Most Baffling Crimes
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The Casebook of Forensic Detection: How Science Solved 100 of the World's Most Baffling Crimes

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  461 ratings  ·  33 reviews
This fascinating book describes the development of forensics from the nineteenth century to the present. Cases are classified by 15 forensic types then arranged chronologically. Features riveting stories of how forensic experts were able to identify a person with only one one thousandth of her body parts, the dramatic tale of how a psychological profile helped catch a dang ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 30th 1998 by John Wiley & Sons (first published 1996)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,332)
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stargazerpuj
The Casebook of Forensic Detection: How Science Solved 100 of the World's Most Baffling CrimesColin Evans

Any student of detection and forensics, casual or serious is sure to love this book.

I always expected a book of true crime to be a little too factual and boring, but Colin Evans makes this a very pleasurable read (once you ignore human depravity and gore).

A book like this needs to be presented well, and in this also The Casebook doesn't disappoint. It has sections for the major disciplines
...more
Barbara
This nonfiction book is a must for fans of CSI/Law & Order/Bones and any police drama that features forensics. The book is divided into sections, each discussing crimes and how a particular type of forensic science helped solve them. Under ballistics, you'll read of Sacco and Vanzetti; disputed documents uncovers the forged Hitler diaries; DNA typing, the Romanovs; fingerprinting, the notorious Kelly gang; forensic anthropology ("Bones"), the infamous John Wayne Gacy and Josef Mengele; odont ...more
Angela
Aug 08, 2010 Angela rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: CSI fans

A friend of mine worked in Oklahoma PD when the John Joubert case was being investigated (pg. 285)

Fascinating reading.

It took me longer than expected to finally finish this book. What should be noted - even when investigators (forensic and otherwise) mess up, the bad guy usually gets caught on something. The evidence doesn't lie, even if the people processing the evidence do.

A good read, and fascinating for anyone interested in the world of the REAL CSIs (you all know that the popular TV show i
...more
Christopher
An interesting and decent enough book. I thought most of the cases presented were worthy, but there were others that I thought should have been in there and weren't. I guess any compendium suffers from this. There were a lot of older cases, and by older I mean 1700s and 1800s, but I get that. The idea was to present a history of the evolution of forensic science. The most interesting aspect was the kind of mini biographies of some of the best of the best pioneers in forensic science. I would ac ...more
Sheila
A collection of one hundred crimes. Each summary is a couple pages long, and they're grouped by the forensic discovery that best defines the case (time of death, fingerprinting, etc). A good read, and a book I'll be keeping around as a reference/for story ideas.
dejah_thoris
Another of Evan's excellent books on forensic pathology. This book is arranged alphabetically by type of evidence (Ballistics, Cause of Death, Disputed Documents, DNA Typing, Explosives and Fire, Fingerprinting, Forensic Anthropology, Odontology, Psychological Profiling, Identification of Remains, Serology, Time of Death, Toxicology, Trace Evidence, Voiceprints) and then chronologically within each section. Most cases are only a couple of pages long, making the book feel like light reading. Some ...more
Natalie
I thought this was an interesting book since I find forensics fascinating. It's not very gripping or intense, which you might think it should be from the "world's most baffling crimes," but it is very informative. I learned some interesting things.

Also, it had some key crimes in there (Hitler Diaries, Anastasia), but again, "world's most baffling"...I don't know. It's an good read though, if you're interested in learning a little bit more about the history of forensics.

DO NOT read this if you g
...more
SeriouslyJerome
An overview of key developments in forensic detection, this book offers fascinating accounts of the various cases which introduced those modes of detection. Each case highlighted is about a page or two long - with just enough detail to be interesting, while not indulging in gruesome descriptions. Colin Evans was able to balance the info with his writing style, to make each account intriguing. Only a few of the cases mentioned (involving crimes against children) were too much me to bear. Even sti ...more
Quincey Paiva
I thought this was an interesting book since I find forensics fascinating. It's not very gripping or intense, which you might think it should be from the "world's most baffling crimes," but it is very informative. I learned some interesting things.

Also, it had some key crimes in there (Hitler Diaries, Anastasia), but again, "world's most baffling"...I don't know. It's an good read though, if you're interested in learning a little bit more about the history of forensics.

DO NOT read this if you
...more
Keri
I found this book interesting, although definitely disturbing. My only disappointment was that the cases are titled using the name of the guilty party so that the reader doesn't have the chance to follow the development of the case as the detectives would have. I solved this by skipping the headings and trying to read the cases without glancing back at the headings, but it was difficult. It would have been easy to solve this problem just by titling the cases with the names of the victims.
Trin
A really great book if you're feeling morbid. The focus on the early days of true forensic investigating is fantastic, and the cases share an apropriate degree of the creepy/chilling factor. For atmosphere, think Caleb Carr's The Alienist, only real. This was one of my favorite books to read and reread when I was about fifteen, which proves at least one thing conclusively: I was a very strange fifteen-year-old.
Jenny
A fascinating book about 100 high profile crimes (mostly murders) and the different forensic methods used to solve them, dating from the 1700s to 1995, when the book was written. I couldn't put it down! The descriptions aren't too graphic, although there were a couple that made me feel a little squeamish (body disposals in a sausage factory and a restaurant well.) Definitely a good read if you like true crime stories.
Josh S
Handy episodic view of forensic sciences, and a good grounding for how actual forensic detective work has been practiced over the last 100 years, but the short treatment for each case, inconsistent emphasis of forensics and snappy summations make this more a fun read to breeze through rather than a serious work to savor.

Still, if you're going to steal ideas for a forensic TV show, this'd be a good place to start.
Terri
I love this kind of stuff !

This book examines the evolution of forensic dectection, just as the title states. It's very interesting to read of familiar cases (last 20 years) and the methods employed to solve the case, along with 200 year old cases solved without the technological advances of today.

The cases are presented in short 2-4 pages generally so interest is not lost.
Janis
Very basic glossing of cases. Little detail and less science. Perhaps choosing 25 cases and focusing on the contribution to forensic discovery would serve more than this laundry list of crimes.
Anna Garrett
This is a very informative book that brings the layperson along rather than going above their heads.
Pam
I'm sure I learned more than I think I did - but I was hoping for a bit more.

I think I was unfairly jaded by the cursory treatment of the molecular forensic section, since I work in a clinical diagnostic molecular lab. I got to thinking that maybe every section was that "glossed over".
Ashley (For the Love of the Page)
This was a great book! It gave me just enough scientific background in each case to be satiated. I would have liked a little more depth with some of the cases, but I understand that it would have caused the book to be extremely lengthy. Other than that, excellent read.
Aleisha Z Coleman
Jan 09, 2010 Aleisha Z Coleman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: a lot of people
A little snippet at the beginning of each chapter summarizes how the principle of forensics works and is used today, then it goes through the most important cases in the last 100 years using that technique. It is fabulous. My first book of this new year--one a week!
Beka
Each case is about 3 pages long and gives the salient points without being graphic or too clinical. A nice collection of cases displaying various genres of forensic detection through the ages. Very informative and interesting.
James
Well written and interesting without bogging down in too-technical information. Actually, I wish the author had made this a longer book and gone into more detail - his accounts of many cases are very brief.
Dina
Really good, probably my favourite of the casebooks I've read. Each individual story is short enough to keep interest, but not so short as to not give an accurate or complete picture of the crime.
John
A little bit dry, but gives an interesting perspective on the history of forensic science in crime detection.
Kelly
Jun 25, 2007 Kelly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who want a very basic overview of forensics
Although there are many not-so-sensational crimes included in this book, it gives a brief overview of how the case was solved using the forensic methods available at that time.
Anita Dalton
Nothing really new to learn in this book unless you are a crime detection novice but still a serviceable and reasonably informative and entertaining book.
Daniel


Excellent. Interesting and informative. Loved every page. Not all cases were interesting to me (as things go) but overall it was fascinating.
T.M. Carper
Black and white, no pictures. Tiny snippets of cases are filed under subheadings with the techinques that solved them. Interesting read.
Cheryl S.
Although published about 15 years ago contains good information regarding the beginnings of many aspects of crime solving.
Brenna
Oct 09, 2009 Brenna added it
This book is cool. The stories are really awsome, but also kinda scary that theyre real stories.
Stephanie
Interesting book on the science behind some very interesting cases which go way back.
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Colin Evans is the author of 17 books dealing with forensics and true crime. His fascination with the murkier side of human nature began while he was still in school. Hours spent in library archives researching contemporary newspaper accounts about "Jack the Ripper" (no, he doesn't have any clues to the killer's identity, and he seriously doubts that anyone else does, either) got him started and i ...more
More about Colin Evans...
The Father of Forensics: The Groundbreaking Cases of Sir Bernard Spilsbury, and the Beginnings of Modern CSI Blood On The Table: The Greatest Cases of New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Great Feuds in History: Ten of the Liveliest Disputes Ever A Question of Evidence: The Casebook of Great Forensic Controversies, from Napoleon to O.J. Slaughter On A Snowy Morn: A Tale Of Murder, Corruption And The Death Penalty Case That Revolutionised The American Courtroom

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