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American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI

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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  11 reviews
From the acclaimed author of Death in the Air ("Not since Devil in the White City has a book told such a harrowing tale"--Douglas Preston) comes the riveting story of the birth of criminal investigation in the twentieth century.

Berkeley, California, 1933. In a lab filled with curiosities--beakers, microscopes, Bunsen burners, and hundreds upon hundreds of books--sat an
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: February 11th 2020 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Sarah-Hope
Profiles of forensic scientists and their cases remain popular. In American Sherlock, Kate Winkler Dawson gives us a scientist who is little-known outside of forensic circles and whose life provides an interesting read: Edgar Oscar Heinrich. During the first half of the Twentieth Century, Heinrich pioneered a number of forensic techniques: blood spatter analysis, the use of a comparison microscopy to see if bullets were fired from the same gun, profiling. Some of these techniques are still in ...more
Michelle
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic history! I was so pleased to have found this through a Shelf Awareness email and receive an ecopy through NetGalley. As I enjoy crime shows such as Law and Order and NCIS, I was immediately drawn to the story of the man who pioneered modern forensic science.

Edward Oscar Heinrich, "America's Sherlock" (though he hated the nickname), lived a life fuller than most. Forced to provide for his family as a teenager after his father's suicide, he struck out into the world as a
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Anne
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Oscar Heinrich (1881-1953) aka America’s Sherlock Holmes. In a series of well researched cases the reader learns of Heinrich’s methods of handwriting analysis, laboratory testing of trace evidence, blood spatter observation, deductive reasoning, and other techniques that made him a criminal investigator ahead of his time.

“Most investigators in America wouldn’t use profiling until the mid-1950s, ...but Oscar believed he could reconstruct a crime scene by visualizing the
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Paul
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From podcasts to streaming documentaries, true crime is definitely hot right now. If you want to go back to the beginning of the art of obtaining evidence, read this book. But the narrative doesn’t stop there. Heinrich is a man who doubted his every move, yet found the strength to be firm in his convictions while sitting on the stand to defend his theories and techniques. I also liked that the crimes all occurred in the Bay Area, a place I am intimately familiar with because I am from the North ...more
Denice Langley
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read many books on forensic science and it's applications. This one focus'd on one of the pioneers of this science. Edward Oscar Heinrich made so many contributions to the new science of forensics, he was called American Sherlock. A Pharmacist by trade, he applied his love of information to the art of detecting that information from the available surroundings. He went on to become one of the first "expert witnesses" in high profile criminal cases. The historical information I've learned from ...more
Elizabeth
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating look at the beginnings of crime scene investigation, both in its remarkable breakthroughs and in its flaws discovered in more contemporary times. The pace was fast, making this a great vacation read, but not lacking in information. There were parts I wish went more in depth, but overall I would recommend this book to family and friends, especially those with an interest in the science behind true crime.
Kristen Beverly
Such an incredibly fascinating book. I had no idea that so many of our forensics that we still use today came from this one man. I loved reading about the different cases he was on and how he came up with the different techniques - even the ones that ended up being junk science. It was all just so fascinating.
CR
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fast paced story that I both enjoyed and well kind of didn't. I am torn between really loving it and feeling like it was a little over the top. Some parts I wished had been in more depth than what we got. If you die hard love true crime and science then this one might be for you.
Shell Hunt
Shout out to Net Galley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Full review to come
Publish date February 2020
Shell Hunt
Jan 17, 2020 added it
Shelves: arc
Thanks to the author, publisher, and Net Galley for a copy of of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Full review to come.
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Kate Winkler Dawson joined the University of Texas at Austin's School of Journalism as a senior lecturer in 2009. Before then, she was on the faculty of Fordham University's Marymount College for two years. A seasoned documentary producer, news writer and TV news producer, her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, United Press International in London, WCBS News, ABC News ...more