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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

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  738 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Discover the surprising answers in The Casebook of Forensic Detection, a true-crime treasury of 100 of the most fascinating cases of all time. More than two centuries in the development of modern forensic procedures come to vivid life as everything from handwriting analyses and voiceprints to ballistics, DNA testing, and psychological profiles reveal whodunit (and, in some ...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published October 16th 1998 by Wiley (first published 1996)
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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
Aug 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mystereity Reviews
The Casebook Of Forensic Detection As I said earlier, this was a fascinating book, it just felt like it took forever to read it.  And it was only 350 pages or so.
I liked the style of the book, a short summation of each forensic technique (time of death, fingerprints, DNA, etc) that gave a little bit of an explanation and a little history before delving into specific cases.  And a great selection of cases, from murder to forgeries to poisonings, all over the last few hundred years to show how ea
Aug 08, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Jan 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Julia Bajt
Nov 28, 2016 rated it liked it
The Casebook of Forensic Detection
The Casebook of Forensic Detection is a collection of many stories about how science has helped solve crimes. It has collections of stories in branches such as Psychological Profiling, DNA fingerprinting, odontology, and many more. For example, Psychological Profiling deals with looking into the mind of a criminal, and building an image of a criminal in their minds.
I would recommend this book to someone who enjoyed shows such as Criminal Minds or How to Make a
Ariana Smith
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I think The Casebook of forensic detection:how science solved 100 of the worlds most baffling crimes was an amazing book! some people may not agree with me, due to the fact that the book talks quite a bit about murder and can include gruesome details, but it is a very good book, especially if you are thinking about becoming a CSI agent or forensic specialist. Even though it can be boring in some parts, it is very informational.

This book includes topics such as fingerprinting, time of death, and
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 04, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Darla Ebert
Feb 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
While Colin Wilson is a good writer, I should have known better than to read something so depressingly filled with stories of mankind's abuse of mankind. Too much gore. (Naively I had thought this would be mainly a clinical study of how the art of detection was perfected over the years, from fingerprinting to DNA to deductive reasoning minus actual true life and death stories, shiver).
I know someone has to detail and archive these kinds of acts, especially when the aim is to perfect the skill an
Apr 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, true-crime
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
Josh S
Jun 26, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: truecrime, science
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.
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A great read. Takes the reader through various disciplines within the forensic sciences and gives examples of each, dating from the earliest days of inquiry into that discipline to the latest developments. Every case is very, very interesting reading and you never bog down in this book. Even the cases I've read about before held my interest.
Jun 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 14, 2007 rated it it was ok
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".
Apr 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: justice-system
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.
Aleisha  Zolman
Jan 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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!
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: criminology
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.
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great learning book for the study of forensic science and how it all began. Fingerprinting, etc. How these devices started, where we are today, and how they helped even in the 1800`s to solve crimes/mainly murders. ...more
Kelsey Christensen
Mar 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I was absolutely fascinated by this book.
Cheryl S.
Mar 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: swap, 2011
Although published about 15 years ago contains good information regarding the beginnings of many aspects of crime solving.
Anna Garrett
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a very informative book that brings the layperson along rather than going above their heads.
Sep 16, 2014 rated it liked it
A little bit dry, but gives an interesting perspective on the history of forensic science in crime detection.
T.M. Carper
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Black and white, no pictures. Tiny snippets of cases are filed under subheadings with the techinques that solved them. Interesting read.
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copies with fingerprinting section missing 1 2 Nov 07, 2013 06:28PM  
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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
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