What I’m reading: Blood Trail, by C.J. Box; Royal Flush, by Rhys Bowen
I promised to share a recap of the second forensics workshop I attended at Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Tom Adair (who’s going to be my guest tomorrow) set up a crime scene for us. Only ‘catch’ – the year was 1875, and we didn’t have all the fancy tools that modern day crime scene investigators use. Except for the most important tool of all—our brains.
In 1875, a lot of information about forensics existed, but there weren’t many practitioners. There was some crude fingerprinting (I reported on that workshop earlier; the post is at my old blog, here) as well as rudimentary tests for blood.
This was another hands-on workshop. The crime scene was a mountain cabin, with the victim sitting slumped over a small table, with a gun by his hand.
Start with a square sheet of paper, and insert the evidence to be collected in the middle.
Then fold it in half.
Bring in one side
Then the other
Fold it upward
Tuck the top into the flap. A bindle!
The next thing we were faced with was the low light level. No electric lights. No Maglite flashlights. Tom had dimmed the lights in the room, but he said we were getting more light than would have been available at our mountain cabin crime scene. In lieu of candles, which the hotel would have frowned upon, Tom gave us glow sticks.
Was this a clue? As Tom pointed out, we’d be seeing a lot of “stuff”, but most of it was probably not relevant to the crime.
Our first reaction was not to touch anything, but once we woke up to the fact that we were the investigators and could move stuff around, we started forming hypotheses. (See the glow stick picture above, where we took off the victim’s jacket). We were also handicapped by a lack of knowledge of the times—how firearms worked, for example. We knew this must have been a projectile,
but we didn’t know to look for the actual fired bullet and wadding (or whatever you call that extra stuff). I’d actually found it, but thought it was just a piece of trash left by someone who was too lazy to use the wastebasket.
All in all, I think we all preferred working in the twenty-first century.
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society