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
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Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.