Andree Duval, Relief Librarian, recently enjoyed American Sherlock, a fascinating non-fiction book about one of America's earliest forensic scientists. Here is her review:
American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI is written by documentary producer and author of Death in The Air, Kate Winkler Dawson. In the prologue the author describes her research at the University of California at Berkeley Archives into the files, evidence boxes, letters and personal diaries of one of America’s first forensic scientists, Edward Oscar Heinrich.
In the following chapters Dawson provides in-depth information on the people, evidence and trials of several of the more infamous cases Heinrich investigated. The author uses these cases to highlight Heinrich’s use/development of new forensic techniques such as the study of blood splatter patterns, fingerprint identification, and ballistics evidence. She also uses current scientific knowledge to show that some of Heinrich techniques like handwriting analysis were based on faulty assumptions.
This thoroughly fascinating and entertaining portrait of Heinrich, his friends, colleagues and competitors would interest readers of true crime books and anyone curious about the start of modern forensics.