This fascinating true-crime book is about the infamous Brides in the Bath trial in England during the early days of WWI and the rise and success of Bernard Spilsbury, considered the first and most influential forensic examiner and star expert witness.
The Brides in the Bath case had to to with a man named George Joseph Smith, who was accused of the murder of three women in the early 1900's. Shortly (and I mean shortly) after marrying Bessie Mundy, Alie Burnham and Margaret Lofty, their bodies were found (by him) dead in their bath. George would take on new identities for the purposes of his criminal pursuits and an interesting part of this book is showing how the police figured out it was him and put their case together.
In alternate chapters we get the story of Bernard Spilsbury, a forensic examiner. This was the early days of what is the equivalent of "CSI" today and the Sherlock Holmes stories were well known and at the height of their popularity. The public was eager to learn about forensics and they were first becoming useful in criminal prosecutions. We read how Spilsbury first came to prominence in the famous trial of Dr. Crippen in 1910, accused of killing his wife. It was through Spilsbury's testimony identifying human remains as that of Dr. Crippen's murdered wife that the prosecution was able to get a conviction. The court had told the jury that if they did not believe the remains were those of Mrs. Crippen's then they had to acquit - so his testimony was crucial.
One of the things that is so interesting about this book is that it is a real look at the birth of modern CSI and how important it is to our criminal justice system. In fact some of Spilsbury's conclusions and testimony from the Brides in the Bath case are shown as just plain wrong today, but it was still the beginning of the search for truth by way of scientific investigation and methods.
The story is also told with the backdrop of WWI - so not only do we learn a lot about the important criminal cases of the time and about the well-known prosecutors, defense attorneys and expert witnesses; we also get a real feel for what life was like at that time. Some fun facts - you have a headache? The doctor would likely give you pills made of "acetanilide, caffeine and heroin." Plus, when someone is sentenced to hang, they often went to the gallows within a month or two. Not the appellate process we have today so the importance of expert witnesses getting things right becomes even more crucial because the review was so brief.
My only critique is that I thought there were a couple of slow-bits in the book, but I wouldn't want to deter anyone from reading this really informative and wonderful book. You'll learn a lot and you'll be entertained in the process.
- 版本： Kindle电子书
- 文件大小： 843 KB
- 纸书页数： 304
- 出版社: John Murray (2010年4月1日)
- 语种： 英语
- ASIN: B003OICGCK
- 标准语音朗读： 已启用
- 生词提示功能: 已启用
- 用户评分: 15 买家评级
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