Corpse: Nature, Forensics, And The Struggle To Pinpoint Time Of Death

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Basic Books, 2002 M10 17 - 270 pages
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When detectives come upon a murder victim, there's one thing they want to know above all else: When did the victim die? The answer can narrow a group of suspects, make or break an alibi, even assign a name to an unidentified body. But outside the fictional world of murder mysteries, time-of-death determinations have remained infamously elusive, bedeviling criminal investigators throughout history. Armed with an array of high-tech devices and tests, the world's best forensic pathologists are doing their best to shift the balance, but as Jessica Snyder Sachs demonstrates so eloquently in Corpse, this is a case in which nature might just trump technology: Plants, chemicals, and insects found near the body are turning out to be the fiercest weapons in our crime-fighting arsenal. In this highly original book, Sachs accompanies an eccentric group of entomologists, anthropologists, biochemists, and botanists--a new kind of biological "Mod Squad"--on some of their grisliest, most intractable cases. She also takes us into the courtroom, where "post-O.J." forensic science as a whole is coming under fire and the new multidisciplinary art of forensic ecology is struggling to establish its credibility. Corpse is the fascinating story of the 2000year search to pinpoint time of death. It is also the terrible and beautiful story of what happens to our bodies when we die.
 

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Review: Corpse: Nature, Forensics, And The Struggle To Pinpoint Time Of Death

User Review  - Leia - Goodreads

This is a bit of a dry, tough read so I'm reading it intermittently. It's fascinating but not really entertaining. Obviously. Read full review

Corpse: nature, forensics, and the struggle to pinpoint time of death

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Placing the time of death is very important in homicide investigations and in identifying decayed remains. Yet the exact measure of time of death has challenged people for the past 2000 years. The ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
The Body Handlers
11
Reasonable Doubt
27
The Bone Detectives
47
The Witness Was a Maggot
69
Bug Sleuthing Crosses the Atlantic
93
A Model for Murder
119
The Dirty Dozen
147
Perfecting the Postmortem Clock
171
Plants Pollen and Perpetrators
197
The Pathologists Garden
219
Chemical Clues
229
The New Mod Squad
247
Further Reading
259
Index
261
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Jessica Snyder Sachs is a freelance health and science writer whose work regularly appears in Discover, Parenting, Redbook, McCall's, and National Wildlife. She lives in Atlanta.

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