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Maggots, Murder, and Men:
Death is rarely pretty. It is decidedly unappealing when a body, made available to nature, is colonized and consumed by insects, worms, and other animals--unless, like Zakaria ErzinÁlioglu, you have an appreciation for this "magnificent and highly nutritious resource."
ErzinÁlioglu, a forensic scientist with three decades' experience in solving all manner of grisly crimes, gives a lighthanded if sometimes creepy account of what happens to the human body in death, and of how scientists can deduce from the succession of insect life, among other signs, just what happened to bring about that demise. As he ranges across the annals of wrongdoing, crime buffs will learn much from his observations on, among other matters, the outright stupidity of many murderers, who "seem to think that the last place a criminal investigator is likely to look is under the floorboards," and the many odd twists and turns that a scientific investigation can take while ferreting out the truth.
ErzinÁlioglu's book makes a sharp-witted companion to such recent works as Jessica Snyder Sachs's Corpse and Richard Conniff's Spineless Wonders, adding to a growing--and oddly fascinating--library devoted to the coroner's art. --Gregory McNamee [via]