Friday, October 7, 2016

Beating the Devil's Game by Katharine Ramsland

I'm not sure where I heard of Katherine Ramsland, but I really enjoyed Beating the Devil's Game. It's basically a history of forensic science, from its origins in China to the present day.

What I really liked about this book was that it was told through cases. So it wasn't a dry recital of which discovery came when it was case after gruesome case of how certain technologies helped (or did not help) solve crimes and get justice.

The cases also prove that mankind has been twisted for as long as history. The recent cases definitely weren't more ghoulish than the previous ones. (And on a related note, it also proves that terrible crimes aren't committed by only one race/country)

Apart from China, which was one of the early readers, the book didn't really touch on developments in Asia. I'm not an expert, though, so I can't tell if it's because Asia didn't progress or if it's an unconscious bias.

Overall, though, this is an easy to read and interesting book. It doesn't only talk about the successful methodologies - it mentioned the now-obsolete and ineffective ones (that were used for a time). If you're interested in how forensic science works and the history behind it, this is a good book to read. (Although fans of shows like CSI or Bones - and don't get me wrong, I love both as well - may get disappointed that the science isn't as cool as the shows. Hence the whole 'CSI effect' thing)


  1. I am really interested in forensic science and its history and this book really appeals to me. I am glad you liked it. Will have to add it to my wish list.

    1. She has a few books on this, so I think any would be good!


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