Corpse by Jessica Snyder Sachs
Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death--An Exploration of the Haunting Science of Forensic Ecology

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When detectives come upon a murder victim, there's one thing they want to know above all else: When did the victim die? The answer can narrow a group of suspects, make or break an alibi-even assign a name to an unidentified body. But outside the fictional world of murder mysteries, time-of-death determinations have remained infamously elusive, bedeviling forensic pathologists throughout history. Scientists are doing their best to right this situation, using DNA testing and other high-tech investigative methods. But as Jessica Snyder Sachs argues in Corpse, this is one case in which nature might just trump technology: plants, chemicals, and insects found near the body are turning out to be the fiercest weapons in our crime-fighting arsenal. In this highly original book, Sachs accompanies an eccentric group of entomologists, anthropologists, and botanists-a new kind of biological "Mod Squad"-on some of their grisliest, most intractable cases. She also takes us into the courtroom, where "post-O.J." forensic science as a whole is coming under fire and the new multidisciplinary art of forensic ecology is struggling to establish its credibility. Corpse is the fascinating story of the 2000year-old search to pinpoint time of death. It is also the terrible and beautiful story of what happens to our bodies when we die.
 

About Jessica Snyder Sachs

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Jessica Snyder Sachs is a freelance science writer. Her first book, "Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death," was published in 2001. She lives in New Jersey.
 
Published October 1, 2001 by Basic Books. 240 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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Similar studies lagged in North America, but began to be taken seriously when anthropologists, using techniques devised to analyze ancient artifacts, showed that a study of fly larvae, weather patterns, and deteriorated bones and clothing could closely approximate a time of death even for a ten-y...

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