Friday, October 19, 2018

Forensic Friday: Forensics in WWII

 Forensic Friday: Forensics in WWII

One of the challenges of writing historic fiction is keeping anachronisms out of the story. Simply put, an anachronism is the act of attributing a custom, event, or object to a period to which it doesn’t belong. When writing a historic mystery, it is especially tempting to give characters knowledge or access to technology they shouldn’t have to solve the crime.

During my research for both Under Fire and Murder of Convenience, I was surprised to discover that the field of forensics was both further ahead and behind than I thought. For example, the first FBI crime lab was not set up until 1932, and the first British forensics lab in 1935, eleven years later than the first U.S. lab was created.

Here are some of the milestones in forensics history:

1447:   Teeth are used to identify remains in Duke of Burgundy
1810:   First chemical test of ink in Germany
1835:   First bullet comparison catches murderer Scotland Yard
1830:   “Time since death” temperature experiments with dead British soldiers
1849:   Odontology, the study of teeth for the investigation of identity is used in court
1880:   First elimination of suspect by fingerprints in Scotland
1937:   Luminol invented in Germany to identify blood

Which of these surprised you as to when they were discovered?

May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit.

Set in the early days of America’s entry into WWII and featuring cameo appearances from Hollywood stars, Murder of Convenience is a tribute to individuals who served on the home front, especially those who did so in spite of personal difficulties, reminding us that service always comes as a result of sacrifice. Betrayal, blackmail, and a barrage of unanswered questions… Murder of Convenience is the first in the exciting new “Women of Courage” series.

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