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Maggots, Murder, and Men: Memories and…

Maggots, Murder, and Men: Memories and Reflections of a Forensic…

by Zakaria Erzinclioglu

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Dr. Zak, as his tongue-tied colleagues called him, was a foremost authority in the interpretation of insect evidence. Much like Gil Grissom on the original CSI, Dr. Zak can track the development of maggots to provide an approximate time of death, use his regional knowledge of insects to place a suspect at the scene of the crime, and discourse knowledgably on literature--Doyle's creation Sherlock Holmes, in particular. "Maggots" manages to be scholarly and chatty at the same time, as Dr. Zak discourses fluently on crime scenes, serial killers, facial reconstruction, and even archaeological investigations, like resolving the question of marine flies in a land-locked region (answer: the homesick Vikings imported sea kelp to their farms.) There is much human evil on display in this book, both in and out of the courtroom. The former tends to be just as disturbing, particularly when Zak details the blatant fabrication of "expert witnesses" for the opposting council. The self-described "maggotologist" died at 50 of a heart attack, but not before he left a legacy to science.
  Sarahfine | Aug 1, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312287747, Hardcover)

Death is rarely pretty. It is decidedly unappealing when a body, made available to nature, is colonized and consumed by insects, worms, and other animals--unless, like Zakaria Erzinçlioglu, you have an appreciation for this "magnificent and highly nutritious resource."

Erzinçlioglu, a forensic scientist with three decades' experience in solving all manner of grisly crimes, gives a lighthanded if sometimes creepy account of what happens to the human body in death, and of how scientists can deduce from the succession of insect life, among other signs, just what happened to bring about that demise. As he ranges across the annals of wrongdoing, crime buffs will learn much from his observations on, among other matters, the outright stupidity of many murderers, who "seem to think that the last place a criminal investigator is likely to look is under the floorboards," and the many odd twists and turns that a scientific investigation can take while ferreting out the truth.

Erzinçlioglu's book makes a sharp-witted companion to such recent works as Jessica Snyder Sachs's Corpse and Richard Conniff's Spineless Wonders, adding to a growing--and oddly fascinating--library devoted to the coroner's art. --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:00 -0400)

"The science of forensic entomology - the application of insect biology to the investigation of crime - is extremely specialized, combining as it does an expert knowledge of entomology with keen powers of observation and deduction. Dr. Erzinclioglu has been a practitioner for over twenty-five years and has been involved in a great number of investigations, including some recent high-profile cases, where his evidence has been critical to the outcome." "A great admirer of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Erzinclioglu compares his own techniques with those of his fictional hero, and takes the reader behind the often gruesome but deeply fascinating scenes of a murder investigation. This book ranges over cases from history, prehistory, and mythology to the present day and is as gripping and readable as a good thriller."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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