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Explained: The pioneer of US forensic criminology

Kate Winkler Dawson’s American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, And the Birth of American CSI tells the story of the birth of criminal investigation in the United States in the 20th century

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 19, 2020 12:52:58 pm
Explained: The pioneer of US forensic criminology Edward Oscar Heinrich pioneered the use of forensic tools.

Kate Winkler Dawson’s American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, And the Birth of American CSI tells the story of the birth of criminal investigation in the United States in the 20th century through the life of Edward Oscar Heinrich, the so-called “American Sherlock Holmes”, the first and arguably greatest of that country’s forensic scientists.

Dawson’s work draws on never-before-published primary material on Heinrich’s 40-year career, in the course of which he cracked at least 2,000 cases — among them the famous botched Siskiyou train robbery of 1923.

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Heinrich pioneered the use of forensic tools such as blood spatter analysis, lie-detector tests, ballistics, and fingerprints in the detection of crime in the decade of the 1920s when, as Dawson says, the FBI mostly comprised “insufficiently trained officers who mostly investigated bank fraud”.

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