Book Review- Howdunit: Forensics

Howdunit Forensics - D. P. Lyle

If you're a crime fiction writer looking for a reference book on forensics, this is the way to go. This book is worth every penny you spend on it. In this book, the author takes us through the main elements of a forensic investigation. The book is split into three parts and eighteen chapters. The first part, containing two chapters explains the forensics system. The second part explains the role of the coroner, autopsy and its stages. This part was my favourite as it answered my questions about how bodies are identified, determination of the time of death, how the victim died, DNA analysis, blood and poisons. The third part covers what happens in a crime lab. Topics include fingerprints, bloodstains, impressions, arson investigations and criminal psychology. 


The book is very well-researched and presents information in a way that benefits writers. The author follows the line of thinking that a crime writer and I felt that helped make the book more accessible. Howdunit: Forensics is not the kind of book that you read in one go (although you can). I think it benefitted me to read the book in parts, focusing on the elements that were needed to enhance my mystery novel. In that sense, it's more like a textbook but a lot more fun. 


Overall, I recommend this guide to any aspiring mystery writer. Even if you're not writing about forensics, the information presented in this book will help you write better mysteries. The science of it is well-explained and somebody with an interest in biology and science would also enjoy this book. It's part of my writer's bookshelf now.