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ereksonj

ereksonj

Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History's Mysteries - Elizabeth MacLeod Focusing solely on heads of state (mostly royalty), Macleod's book should have been titled to match the fact. The existing title would be more apropos of a series.

Text vignettes discussing forensic techniques sometimes did not match the case being discussed in the chapter and made it feel disjointed. And repetitive spot illustrations of a chemist's beaker, an x-ray sheet, a magnifying glass, and a microscope were distracting because they also did not match what was going on on the page. As icons, they should have been used when they were being discussed in the forensics being used to solve the case. A few things like this made me think the book was put together hastily--Kathy Lowinger is credited as editor, and Sheryl Shapiro as designer. No one was given credit as a separate editor for visuals. But the text was well written, and enjoyed being led by Macleod through each of the ideas for each case.

The most interesting was the case of Thai king Rama VIII, which is still unsolved. I always wondered why no one was allowed to talk in public about the royal family, and it sounds like one key reason for strict enforcement of this constitutional rule may be to avoid public speculation about the death and the likely conspiracy behind it. Three men executed in 1955 were bizarrely convicted after two had been acquitted. They were freed after the first trial, but then found guilty after the third appealed his guilty verdict (which re-opened the case for all three, I guess). The reason it was an interesting study in forensics is because the scene was so badly compromised before police could investigate that tons of evidence was either unreliable or completely missing. This allowed Macleod to discuss what the police needed and why it was unavailable.