On the front cover of this book, there is a quote from Lynda La Plante: ‘Every crime writer should have a copy of this book on their desk.’ I endorse that statement 100%. It is a most excellent, and essential, reference guide for crime writers. It is packed, from cover to cover, with very useful facts and details of forensic procedures. There are many references to well-known British crimes, mainly murders.
For the past sixty-nine years, writers of every genre and form have been inspired by attendance at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School in August in Derbyshire. It was while Kate was at Swanwick that some writers suggested that the knowledge that she was imparting would be of great value to crime writers and that she should share this information in a book. Thus inspired, Kate went ahead and produced this wonderful book.
Although it is, without question, a great reference source for crime writers and should be kept close to hand to dip into when the occasion arises, I would recommend that it is worth reading from beginning to end at least once before placing it on one’s desk. The reason that I say this is that there are so many snippets, which could trigger a short story or even a complete novel, which you would miss if you used the book as a pure reference.
Furthermore, although Kate believes that she has created a book for crime writers, just as she intended, The Real CSI: A Forensic Handbook for Crime Writers goes much wider. I would say that it is a brilliant book for fans of crime fiction novels and of crime movies and TV dramas. There are so many times that you find yourself asking the question, “Could that really happen?” or “Is it really possible that a detective, or forensic scientist, or pathologist could….?” Well, here is where you will find the answers to most of your questions.
Great examples of this come in the chapter on fires and arson. Forgive the intentional pun, but the truth as presented by Kate Bendelow will explode many a myth!
I gave this book five stars because it is worth more than that. Fantastic!