Murder Under the Microscope
A Personal History of Homicide
by Jim Fraser
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 01 Jan 2021 | Archive Date 02 Oct 2020
'Jim Fraser has been at the forefront of forensic science in the UK for decades... A superb story of real-life CSI.' Dr Richard Shepherd, bestselling author of Unnatural Causes Most murders are not difficult to solve. People are usually killed by someone they know, there is usually abundant evidence and the police methods used to investigate this type of crime are highly effective. But what about the more difficult cases, where the investigation involves an unusual death, an unusual killer, or is complex or politically charged? In these cases, bringing the accused before the courts can take many years, even then, the outcome may be contentious or unresolved. In this compelling and chilling memoir, Jim Fraser draws on his personal experience as a forensic scientist and cold case reviewer to give a unique insight into some of the most notable cases that he has investigated during his forty-year career, including the deaths of Rachel Nickell, Damilola Taylor and Gareth Williams, the GCHQ code breaker. Inviting the reader into the forensic scientist's micro-world, Murder Under the Microscope reveals not only how each of these cases unfolded as a human, investigative and scientific puzzle, but also why some were solved and why others remain unsolved or controversial even to this day.
'Jim Fraser has been at the forefront of forensic science in the UK for decades... A fascinating insight into complexities of real-life criminal investigations from their start, often at a blood-stained scene, through the complex laboratory processes to their conclusion in the court room... Totally enthralling.' Dr Richard Shepherd, bestselling author of Unnatural Causes
'In this fascinating account of what really went on behind the scenes of Britain's most famous murder cases, Fraser slides not just the evidence, but the whole criminal legal system, squarely under his forensic microscope. Everyone interested in justice - how it works, and how it fails - should read this compelling book.' Sarah Langford, bestselling author of In Your Defence
'In this engrossing and accessible professional memoir, Jim Fraser opens his forensic files and offers the reader a fascinating insight into some of the most notorious cases that he has worked on during his lifetime.' David Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Criminology Birmingham City University
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 14 members
This was an enlightening and illuminating read. The memoirs of a leading forensic scientist who provides his own - forgive me - forsesic account of some of the major cases that he was involved in including Rachel Nickell, Damilola Taylor and Gareth Williams, the GCHQ code breaker. His accounts are detailed and demonstrate the care and professionalism of his work and he is not slow to criticise the police investigations if he felt this justified. He helps explain why some cases are solved and others not and his keen eye for detail brings the investigations to life. Fascinating.
Fraser is a highly experienced forensic scientist and here he uses high profile cases to explain his profession and its successes, challenges and - inevitably - it’s limitations. He worked on high profile investigations such Damilola Taylor, Rachel Nickell and Megan and Lin Russell. He also busts some myths about the case of Gareth Williams - the GCHQ spy - whose body was found in a locked sports holdall. I liked his style which is detailed and does not pull any punches when it comes to criticising key players such as the labs funded by the government to test key evidence. I also liked that Fraser is not at all self-aggrandising. Overall I was left with the understanding that forensic science is painstaking and skilled work. Any errors can jeopardise a whole case and lead to humiliation in court. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes true crime but also has an interest in the science behind it.
This book is a MUST for true crime/forensic science fanatics! Fascinating portrayal of crime scene analysis and the logistics involved in gaining evidence, shown through real life true crime stories and the perpetrators. Shows how easy it is to contaminate evidence or miss essential samples within the investigations. Enlightening.