The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective’s Greatest Cases
October 9th, 2015 by Aldouspi

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Praise for The Science of Sherlock Holmes

""Holmes is, first, a great detective, but he has also proven to be a great scientist, whether dabbling with poisons, tobacco ash, or tire marks. Wagner explores this fascinating aspect of his career by showing how his investigations were grounded in the cutting-edge science of his day, especially the emerging field of forensics.... Utterly compelling.""
—Otto Penzler, member of the Baker Street Irregulars and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop

""E. J. Wagner demonstrates that without the work of Sherlock Holmes and his contemporaries, the CSI teams would be twiddling their collective thumbs. Her accounts of Victorian crimes make Watson's tales pale! Highly recommended for students of the Master Detective.""
—Leslie S. Klinger, Editor, The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes

""In this thrilling book, E. J. Wagner has combined her considerable strengths in three disciplines to produce a work as compelling and blood-curdling as the best commercial fiction. This is CSI in foggy old London Town. Chilling, grim fun.""
—John Westermann, author of Exit Wounds and Sweet Deal

""I am recommending this delightful work to all of my fellow forensic scientists.... Bravo, Ms. Wagner!""
—John Houde, author of Crime Lab: A Guide for Nonscientists

""A fabulously interesting read. The book traces the birth of the forensic sciences to the ingenuity of Sherlock Holmes. A wonderful blend of history, mystery, and whodunit.""
—Andre Moenssens, Douglas Stripp Professor of Law Emeritus, University of Missouri at Kansas City, and coauthor of Scientific Evidence in Civil and Criminal Cases

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470128232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470128237
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces

Customer Reviews

Decent History of Forensics

61 people found this helpful.
 on June 5, 2006
By Rick Mitchell
This short book is an interesting history of forensics.

For the Love of Science of Sherlock

35 people found this helpful.
 on June 13, 2006
By Laura James
This book is a shining example of excellence, an A. Author E.J. Wagner's absolute command of the facts, crisp summaries of the most famous cases, her irony and subtle sarcasm -- I am very, very impressed. And in this genre, I am a hanging judge.

Crime Scene Investigation, in Sherlock's Age

26 people found this helpful.
 on June 1, 2006
By Rob Hardy
The case could be made that the most famous character in fiction is the world's greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes. His adventures from over a hundred years ago still have many devoted readers, often within fan clubs, and sequels and movies seem as if they are never going to stop. We love Holmes because he was rationality triumphant, the cool thinker who could outwit the best brains that the underworld could produce. One of Holmes's attractive tributes was his reliance on scientific evaluation of the clues which he found; he not only used forensic science as it was then known, he originated aspects of it, at least in fiction. It is not surprising that his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, would have busied Holmes in forensics. Doyle, a physician, was tutored by Dr. Joseph Bell, whose incisive personality, keen observation, and powers of deduction made him a model for Holmes. In a time when there are big audiences following dramas based on forensic investigation of crime scenes, it is good to go back to the basics: _The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective's Greatest Cases_ (Wiley) by E. J. Wagner not only shows the requisite admiration for the forensic skill of the master, but places such skill in context at a time when scientific detection was just getting started.

Watson Would be Pleased

13 people found this helpful.
 on May 1, 2006
By John N. Houde
There are only a few "crime lecturers and historians," as E. J. Wagner describes herself, and fewer still who care about the details of forensic science. E.J. is one. I first met Ms. Wagner in 2000 when she and her husband braved Manhattan traffic to meet me and discuss my writing aspirations. I found her to be truly interested in getting the scientific details right in her presentations, and delighted to win the approval of forensic scientists. As a group, we can be quite sensitive about terminology, and when an author "gets it right," we like it.

A unique hybrid of science and literature

10 people found this helpful.
 on June 12, 2006
By Frost77
This book was very informative, if you are a fan of detection literature or TV. The author uses the stories of Conan Doyle as a jumping off point to get into the history of the science of detection.

A Splendid Contribution

9 people found this helpful.
 on July 28, 2006
By Patricia J. Ward
With all of the forests that have been destroyed in providing paper for the many studies of Sherlock Holmes, it would be easy to think that nothing new could be said about the Great Detective. In THE SCIENCE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, E.J. Wagner splendidly proves this is not the case. With the recent interest in forensics provided by programs like CSI, and the rising numbers of characters based on Sherlock Holmes (HOUSE, MONK, Robert Goren of LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT, etc.), a book detailing the science behind Holmes' cases could easily have became a piece of exploitation. Instead, Wagner offers careful, intelligent, and well-written analysis. This is one of the best Sherlockian studies in several years--actually, one that should join the ranks of the best of all Sherlockian studies.

Forensic Science in the Victorian Era

6 people found this helpful.
 on June 14, 2007
By George Poirier
Sherlock Holmes and his times form the main theme around which the early developments in forensic science are presented in this highly entertaining and informative book. The period covered is mainly from about the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, but concentrates mainly on the latter part of the Victorian era. Advances in various disciplines within forensic science are discussed as are many early cases in which these new developments were used and occasionally misused. The writing style is friendly, authoritative and quite engaging. But in particular, the author's very witty prose makes this book doubly enjoyable. General readers who love good mysteries will not be disappointed here, but forensic science buffs, as well as Sherlock Holmes fans, would likely savor this wonderful book the most.

Just Right for Sherlock's library

8 people found this helpful.
 on April 18, 2006
By microfiche
The title is slightly misleading. The book is about the history and development of forensic science in Britain and Europe in the century following Sherlock Holmes' 'birth' (He was born in 1853-54 since he was 60 years of age in August 1914 -"His Last Bow")

Take a Seat - You're in for a Good Ride

7 people found this helpful.
 on April 15, 2006
By Sandra Jones
This book really opens the door to Sherlock Holmes' study and -no matter what your interests are - you can't help but take a seat. Although I'm more of a history buff than a murder mystery fan, I found this book really fascinating. It touches on psychology, history, forensic science, the field of medicine, and, of course, murder. The overlap between real crime detection and the techniques used by the famous Holmes draws you in. Since reading it, I've found myself looking for Sherlock Holmes stories in the library. I also ask my doctor more questions than I used to - check out chapter 13, "Myth, Medicine, and Murder," and you'll see what I mean!

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