Crime Scene: How Investigators Use Science to Track Down the Bad Guys


64 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 1-897066-56-2
DDC j363.25





Illustrations by Martha Newbigging
Reviewed by Anne Hutchings

Anne Hutchings, a former elementary-school teacher-librarian with the
Durham Board of Education, is an educational consultant.


If the consistently high ratings of TV shows such as CSI and its
numerous spinoffs are any indication, Crime Scene is certain to be just
as popular today as when it was first published in 1997. Originally
titled Crime Science, this updated version provides junior- and
intermediate-grade sleuths with a look at the tools and techniques
forensic scientists use to solve crimes.

Vivien Bowers manages to cram a wealth of information into just 64
pages, and in a highly entertaining fashion. Though she does include
technical terms that, on their own, might be rather daunting (e.g.,
microspectrophotometer), she balances this with a lighthearted touch in
the substances she selects for analysis (e.g., green slime, slug juice,
swamp water, frog spit).

Each attractively designed double-page spread deals with a particular
aspect of forensics. From ballistics and fingerprinting to DNA analysis
and reconstruction, it is all here. Information is presented clearly and
concisely using a variety of font types and sizes. Case File sidebars
describe how actual crimes were solved, and readers are frequently
challenged to test their own crime-solving skills in the Clue In
sections. Answers are provided at the end of the book.

Martha Newbigging’s colourful and amusing cartoons add to our
enjoyment. Additional information is provided in captioned photos,
charts, and diagrams. The one criticism voiced by young readers who have
used this book is that there are “no gory pictures!” Highly


Bowers, Vivien., “Crime Scene: How Investigators Use Science to Track Down the Bad Guys,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024,