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American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and…
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American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI (edição 2021)

por Kate Winkler Dawson (Autor)

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1358156,774 (3.65)4
Known as the 'American Sherlock Holmes,' Edward Oscar Heinrich was one of America's greatest forensic scientists, with a skill level that seemed almost supernatural. Heinrich spearheaded the invention of new forensic tools that police still use today, including blood spatter analysis, ballistics, lie-detector tests, and the use of fingerprints as courtroom evidence. His work, though not without its serious - some would say fatal - flaws, changed the course of American criminal investigation. Based on years of research, American Sherlock captures Heinrich's life, work, and legacy.… (mais)
Membro:jtlauderdale
Título:American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI
Autores:Kate Winkler Dawson (Autor)
Informação:G.P. Putnam's Sons (2021), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
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Etiquetas:true crime, forensic science, American culture

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American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI por Kate Winkler Dawson

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American Sherlock is about Edward Oscar Heinrich, murder, forensics, and the birth of crime scene investigation. Taking place over the first half of the 1900s, the story of Heinrich's life is intertwined with the murder cases that he worked on and the scientific techniques that he pioneered. Heinrich was referred to by the press at the time as the 'American Sherlock Holmes', and the parallels are clearly there. As a big Sherlock Holmes fan, I liked the inclusion of relevant quotes from the Holmes novels at the beginnings of each chapter.

This is the first time that anyone has gone through the entire archive of Heinrich's papers, both forensic related and personal. I loved reading about how he kept pretty much everything, meaning that there was actually too much for archivists to deal with! All of these papers, from notes on criminal cases and experiments to personal correspondances to details of his finances, allow for a very detailed picture of Heinrich as a person to be built up. This is clearly a very well researched book, and a very interesting read.

The cases detailed in the book are interesting in their own right, and the methods used by the man solving them are fascinating. I loved reading about techniques that I've seen in modern CSI shows, liked using bugs to determine time of death, or very early profiling. There are plenty of gruesome details for true crime fans.

The book is very readable, with a compelling writing style, and well worth picking up if you have any interest in forensics and true crime. ( )
  crimsonraider | May 19, 2021 |
American Sherlock is a biography of Oscar Heinrich, an early 20th century private detective (or "criminalist") and an early pioneer of forensic techniques, told mostly through "true crime" stories about selected cases that he took on.

The true crime stories provide a good understanding of the many forensic techniques Heinrich pioneered. But the cases Winkler Dawson chose to highlight are a mixed bag for Heinrich - they seem to be the cases that were the most newsworthy at the time, but in most of them his forensic testimony does not lead to a conviction. Which leaves you to wonder why the newspapers called him the "American Sherlock".

As to biography, outside of work / famous cases it's unevenly told, and overall paints a picture of a person who was aloof, with supreme self confidence in his methods and abilities, who looked down on his competitors, and who, it would seem, would have been difficult to get along with.

I rate American Sherlock 2 Stars ⭐⭐ - it was okay, but I don't know that I can really recommend it. I will say that I listened to the audiobook on this one, while puttering around in the greenhouse, and if you are tempted to pick it up, I suspect the audiobook is the route to take. ( )
  stevrbee | May 5, 2021 |
The revered character of Sherlock Holmes has fascinated generations as the epitomization of superhuman intellect with an unerring ability to solve the most critical and befuddling puzzles. Holmes has become so ingrained in our western culture and his influence is still so deeply felt that he is often imagined to be more than mere fiction. In her recent biography, American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics and the Birth of American CSI, Kate Winkler Dawson draws attention to a real man whose life and achievements bear an uncanny resemblance to the Conan Doyle icon. Edward Oscar Heinrich’s legacy as America’s foremost forensic scientist has had a lingering influence on the current practice of criminal investigation and expert testimony. Heinrich was also akin to the Holmesian character with the somewhat condescending and aloof manner often seen in exemplary individuals. Over the course of 40 years (beginning in the troubling time of the 1920’s) Heinrich pioneered methods in fingerprint analysis, blood spatter analysis, ballistics and even criminal/victim profiling. He acted as an independent witness in many trials and was generally viewed as the foremost voice in a burgeoning field. One of the cases the scientist worked on was the “Fatty” Arbuckle case, which was avidly followed by the tabloid press and contributed to Heinrich’s reputation. His deductive methods were a result of his incredible, perhaps even pathological, ability to organize and dissect the minutest of details. In her profile, Dawson provides examples of selected cases that showcase his work and were groundbreaking in terms of the methodology he invented and employed. The author also includes a description of Heinrich’s many idiosyncrasies and foibles that at times caused him professional conflict and distress in his personal life. She writes about how he was constantly frustrated in his attempts to be completely accepted and understood, especially by skeptics of his novel techniques. Heinrich eventually came to adapt his presentations to juries in a way that they could absorb his more technical explanations, instead of being overly swayed by “softer” evidence like character witnesses and emotional persuasion. It is apparent that Dawson learned a lesson from Heinrich’s efforts in this regard. By integrating vivid case descriptions, photos, and biographical and psychological information she takes what could have been a sterile portrayal and transforms it into a fascinating depiction of a remarkable, real-life Sherlock Holmes. ( )
  jnmegan | Sep 19, 2020 |
Author Kate Winkler Dawson splendidly weaves together the life and cases of "America's Sherlock Holmes," Edward Oscar Heinrich, who is one of the most significant forensic scientists in America. A riveting book that explores the early 20th-century law and order in the US and a must-read for any true crime enthusiast. ( )
  JCGirl | Jul 26, 2020 |
I read quite a few true crime works but have never heard of Edward Oscar Heinrich. This was an amazing look at one of the most important figures in forensic science and some of the cases he worked on. It was also a cautionary tale to putting too much stock into science without using common sense. I enjoyed learning about a number of things I was not aware of in this insightful book. ( )
  Susan.Macura | Apr 7, 2020 |
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Known as the 'American Sherlock Holmes,' Edward Oscar Heinrich was one of America's greatest forensic scientists, with a skill level that seemed almost supernatural. Heinrich spearheaded the invention of new forensic tools that police still use today, including blood spatter analysis, ballistics, lie-detector tests, and the use of fingerprints as courtroom evidence. His work, though not without its serious - some would say fatal - flaws, changed the course of American criminal investigation. Based on years of research, American Sherlock captures Heinrich's life, work, and legacy.

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