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Crime Science: Methods of Forensic Detection [Kindle Edition]

Joe Nickell , John F. Fischer
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The O.J. Simpson trial. The Lindbergh kidnapping. The death of Marilyn Monroe. The assassination of the Romanovs. The Atlanta child murders. All controversial cases. All investigated with the latest techniques in forensic science. Nationally respected investigators Joe Nickell and John Fischer explain the science behind the criminal investigations that have captured the nation's attention. Crime Science is the only comprehensive guide to forensics. Without being overly technical or treating scientific techniques superficially, the authors introduce readers to the work of firearms experts, document examiners, fingerprint technicians, medical examiners, and forensic anthropologists. Each topic is treated in a separate chapter, in a clear and understandable style. Nickell and Fisher describe fingerprint classification and autopsies, explain how fibers link victims to their killers, and examine the science underlying DNA profiling and toxicological analysis. From weapons analysis to handwriting samples to shoe and tire impressions, Crime Science outlines the indispensable tools and techniques that investigators use to make sense of a crime scene. Each chapter closes with a study of a well-known case, revealing how the principles of forensic science work in practice.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nickell (Pen, Ink and Evidence) and Fischer provide a comprehensive primer of forensic investigation for the uninitiated. After an introductory chapter details the proper protocol for securing a crime scene, nine chapters focus on different forms of evidence. Although the writing is uninspired, a great deal of basic information is presented. Each chapter ends with a well-known case study in which the techniques discussed played a significant role. The relatively brief case studies are the most interesting portion of the book and demonstrate the range of evidence with which investigators must deal. A conviction was secured in the Lindbergh kidnapping by matching marks on a homemade ladder left at the crime scene with a carpenter's plane in Bruno Hauptmann's garage; a detailed fiber analysis led police to conclude that Wayne Williams was responsible for the deaths of 30 black men in Atlanta. Also discussed are firearms in the Sacco and Vanzetti case, toxicology in the investigation into Marilyn Monroe's suicide, DNA "fingerprinting" in the O.J. Simpson case and anthropological techniques in an examination of the deaths of Russia's last czar and his family. Some technical material, like how a bullet's entry hole might be smaller than the bullet making the hole, is glossed over, but there's enough here to satisfy most inquisitive readers. 65 b&w illustrations.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Nickell (Detecting Forgery, Univ. of Kentucky, 1996) and Fischer, both nationally recognized forensic scientists, have collaborated on step-by-step descriptions of crime-scene investigation. Each chapter focuses on a specific technique (e.g., handwriting analysis, fingerprinting, autopsies, DNA profiling), and famous cases are used to illustrate how the particular technique helped solve the crime. The authors define investigative terminology in lay reader's language and clear up misused terms. Ballistics, for example, a term often associated with bullets and shell cases on popular TV shows, is actually the science of projectiles; one versed in this field is both a physicist and a mathematician. Academic libraries with strong criminology collections should consider purchase.?Michael Sawyer, Northwestern Regional Lib., Elkin, NC
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5326 KB
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky (December 17, 1998)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002WQ033Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,044,146 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Good reading cover to cover. A little dry through the fingerprint section. Good case studies illustrate chapters key points. I think this books greatest strength is that all information is referenced at the end of the book if further study is required. Also "recommended reading" is provided at the end of each chapter to allow the reader to explore interests if desired. Information is one step up from what might be provided in police academy coursework.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good overview February 10, 2000
This book gives a broad overview of the various aspect of forensic science. There is not a lot of depth on some topics but there are a lot of references for further reading.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good June 2, 2002
By Y. W
Compare to some other books on case studies, this book has less cases than others. However, it gives more details and explains by different forensic methods. It helped me a lot with my forensic-case-study paper.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Case Studies of Famous Crimes November 27, 2004
This book will provide an education to the general reader. Forensic science is "the study and practice of the application of science to the purposes of the law". Page 4 gives Newcomb's Rule, but provides no proof of verification. Eyewitness evidence is subjective and colored by attitudes and perceptions. If a witness is mistaken or lying, there is no way to tell. Physical evidence is objective, but may have subjective aspects. [The authors ignore the topic of planted evidence. They don't tell that expert witnesses support the side that pays them.] Forensic science dates from the early 19th century with modern chemistry and toxicology. Mistaken identification can occur from photographs as well as live persons (p.7). The paragraph on firearms examination omits the pioneering work done in Germany and first used by Earl Rogers in California (p.10). The paragraph on questioned document examination ignores work done in Europe centuries earlier (p.11). Page 14 tells that government forensic laboratories are usually unavailable to the defense. The book "Tainted Evidence" explains why this is a problem due to the lack of objectivity.

Chapter 2 explains the techniques of "Crime Scene Investigation". Fingerprints should be photographed before lifting (p.28). This prevents planting evidence, as in the Trial of Alfred de Marigny. The Case Study is the Jeffrey Macdonald case. I read that Cyril Wecht M.D., J.D. said some of his wounds could not be self-inflicted; the book "Fatal Justice" gives more details. This may not be the best example for a textbook case. Chapter 4 says placing firearms "in the hands of the peasant class" resulted in murders! Like with Robin Hood? The case study is the Sacco-Vanzetti trial (a controversial case - see page 103). Dr. Henry C.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An OK Read January 4, 2004
By A Customer
I read Dr. William Maples' book "Dead Men Do Tell Tales" before I read this one, and I would recommend Maples' book over "Crime Science: Methods of Forensic Detection." It is older (published in 1994), but it is extremely well-written by a gifted author. "Crime Science" has several notes at the end of each chapter and therefore a more than occasional mini superscript number at the end of sentences/paragraphs during each chapter. It even refers to Maples' book and recommends it for further reading. The author of "Crime Science" also refers to Maples as "the late Dr. William Maples." I did not know that he was dead before I read "Crime Science," so you could say that I learned something from reading it. Buy the late Dr. William Maples' book instead!
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More About the Author

Joe Nickell has been called "the modern Sherlock Holmes." Since 1995 he has been the world's only full-time, professional, science-based paranormal investigator. His careful, often innovative investigations have won him international respect in a field charged with controversy.


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