From Publishers Weekly
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""…informative, intriguing and entertaining…"" (What's on in London, July 2006)
""…well-researched book…"" (Chemistry World, August 2006)
""…will be appreciated…not just by devotees of Holmes…but by anyone interested in the Victorian beginnings of forensic science…"" (Chemistry World, August 2006)
Forensic expert Wagner has crafted a volume that stands out from the plethora of recent memoirs of contemporary scientific detectives. By using the immortal and well-known Sherlock Holmes stories as her starting point, Wagner blends familiar examples from Doyle's accounts into a history of the growth of forensic science, pointing out where fiction strayed from fact. The author avoids the technical details that mar so many other efforts in this genre, injecting life into her narrative by weaving in true crime cases that either influenced Holmes's creator or may have been influenced by a published story from the Baker Street sleuth. Particularly memorable is a creepy 1945 murder of a man who, as a youth, had had an encounter with a spectral dog reminiscent of the hound of the Baskervilles. While some of the speculations are thin (including a passing suggestion about a new Ripper suspect), Wagner presents a balanced view of the history of forensic science that should appeal to a wide audience. (Apr.) (Publishers Weekly, January 16, 2006)