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Monday, May 13, 2013

Bones Never Lie, written by Elizabeth Macleod. Annick Press, 2013. $14.95 ages 10 and up

"How did detectives solve crimes before they could use such tools as DNA matching or CT scans? Well, since the late 800s, investigators have relied on such techniques as fingerprinting, dental records, or handwriting analysis. And when royal wealth and power are at risk, detectives are forced to use any means they can." 

Oh, I love books that deal with historical figures and mystery! Elizabeth MacLeod ups the interest with her fine writing and brilliant research. She makes me want to know more about these long-dead victims.

She takes her readers back to the scene of the crimes and asks intriguing questions about the circumstances of those deaths. In recreating their stories, she shows how the deaths were investigated and finally solved, using scientific principles and forensic evidence. It is all so fascinating! You don't have to be a scientist, but it might help that you are interested in the field.

It is her ability to share the information garnered as if it were a great story to tell that will capture attention and move readers to carry on. Some of the victims included are King Tut, Napoleon, the Mayan Royal Family and King Rama VIII. As we read their stories we come to know a great deal about their personalities (and why others might think them expendable) and are fascinated by the ways in which they met their deaths.

Don't miss reading each of the "Forensics Time Line" sections as they share wonderful and elusive information about the development of forensic analysis. I like the way the book is designed to resemble a crime lab, using images we have come to know from the number of crime shows currently on television. Elizabeth MacLeod's descriptions are explained in clear language for her intended audience, and provide details about pathology, deductive reasoning and forensic dentistry. No, she does not neglect DNA evidence!

By using only the 'bones' much has been discovered, and is presented in this introduction to the many
ways in which scientists have been able to solve mysteries from world history. These short forays into past lives will leave readers entertained and perhaps shocked at each team's ability to uncover the real truth about events that happened so long ago.

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