Contributed by Megan Richard
This thrilling book is perfect for history fans or fans of true crime. It shows the birth of a criminal investigation, telling the facts in a riveting story, making it easy to fly through the pages.
Berkeley, California, 1933. In a lab filled with curiosities--beakers, microscopes, Bunsen burners, and hundreds upon hundreds of books--sat an investigator who would go on to crack at least two thousand cases in his forty-year career. Known as the "American Sherlock Holmes," Edward Oscar Heinrich was one of America's greatest--and first-- forensic scientists, with an uncanny knack for finding clues, establishing evidence, and deducing answers with a skill that seemed almost supernatural. Heinrich was one of the nation's first expert witnesses, working in a time when the turmoil of Prohibition led to sensationalized crime reporting and only a small, systematic study of evidence. However with his brilliance, and commanding presence in both the courtroom and at crime scenes, Heinrich spearheaded the invention of a myriad of new forensic tools that police still use today, including blood spatter analysis, ballistics, lie- detector tests, and the use of fingerprints as courtroom evidence. His work, though not without its serious--some would say fatal--flaws, changed the course of American criminal investigation. Based on years of research and thousands of never-before-published primary source materials, American Sherlock captures the life of the man who pioneered the science our legal system now relies upon--as well as the limits of those techniques and the very human experts who wield them.
It is a really gripping read, part biography, part whodunnit, and part true crime. It's meticulously reported but not stilted. - Amazon Reviewer
This is a fascinating work of non-fiction in which Dawson recreates the turbulent atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties. - Goodreads Reviewer
This book succeeds in describing the development of the reliable use of science in the courtroom by following the fascinating career of a pioneer in forensic science. The worlds of law and science intersect in a unique way in court. - Goodreads Reviewer
Such an incredibly fascinating book. I had no idea that so many of our forensics that we still use today came from this one man. - Goodreads Reviewer
About the Author
Kate Winkler Dawson is a seasoned documentary producer, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, WCBS News and ABC News Radio, PBS NewsHour, and Nightline. She is the author of Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City and teaches journalism at The University of Texas at Austin.
Source: Amazon and Goodreads