E. J. Wagner

E. J. Wagner

Crime-historian/storyteller E. J. Wagner is the author of a book of scientific entertainment entitled The Science of Sherlock Holmes which was published by John Wiley & Sons and won the 2007 Edgar® award for the Best Critical/Biographical Book published in 2006. E. J.’s audiences will recognize her scientific and sardonic approach to the history of forensic science among its descriptions of true cases and famous figures.

E. J. has presented programs on the folklore and history of crime to riveted adult audiences for more years than she cares to admit. She researches her material in such places as the Armed Forces Museum of Pathology in Maryland, the Suffolk County Office of the Medical Examiner, the crime laboratory of London’s Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard), the Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum (in Salem, Massachusetts), delving into ancient trial transcripts and medical texts, and judiciously eavesdropping in public places.

Her programs examine such subjects as murder, witchcraft, werewolves, 17th century piracy, the history and techniques of mummification, and the development of forensic medicine and criminalistics. E. J. does not present programs for young children.

E. J. has appeared in diverse settings, including Brookhaven National Laboratory, Long Island University, University of Nevada (where she was one of the few non-physicists to be awarded the annual Goudsmit Lectureship), Bayard Cutting Arboretum, meetings of various professional forensic science organizations (see Previous programs for scientists and educators), the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, Boston Museum of Science (in connection with their hosting of the “CSI: The Experience” exhibition), Holtsville Animal Preserve, and assorted historic houses and sailing ships including the Queen Elizabeth 2. She served as consultant on Renaissance poisoning for A&E’s presentation of BBC’s “The Borgias,” and has performed on radio and international television. She appears frequently at the Museum of Long Island Natural Sciences on the campus of Stony Brook University, and has served as Sy Ross Distinguished Lecturer at the University’s Roundtable.

E. J. studied acting at the Piscator Dramatic Workshop; and at Syracuse University and New York University, earning a degree in Theatre Arts from the latter. She is an avid photographer and collector of old books pertaining to crime and medicine. Her suspense fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, her nonfiction in Smithsonian magazine (article entitled “A Murder in Salem” (or “The Tell-Tale Murder”) in the November 2010 issue), The Lancet (article entitled “History, homicide, and the healing hand” in Volume 364, Supplement 1 December 2004 whose theme is “Medicine, Crime, and Punishment”) and The New York Times.  E. J. is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the Authors Guild, and an associate member of the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists. She and her husband live on Long Island in the custody of a large Labrador Retriever named Dr. Watson.

E.J. Wagner's Website:

Books by E. J. Wagner


  •  EJDissectingRoom E.J.'s personal blog
  • “In her fascinating book, The Science of Sherlock Holmes, Wagner juxtaposes some of Holmes's famous cases with a number of real mysteries, and finds some surprising similarities. She sets Holmes's work in the context of the forensics of his time and proves that the detective's scientific mind was more than a mere work of fiction. … The Science of Sherlock Holmes will intrigue readers with incredible stories and amazing tales from the early days of forensic science.”—Michael Taube in The Christian Science Monitor 
  • “This is a book for both fans of Sherlock Holmes and those interested in the development of forensic jurisprudence. … An impeccable bibliography provides the interested reader with other sources of information about criminal investigations, trials gone horribly wrong, innocents wrongly accused and executed, guilty parties who escaped justice, and a wealth of interesting facts up to the present day. … This is a really interesting book, and a must-have for Sherlockians and Kay Scarpetta fans alike. … It would be an excellent companion book to any historical mysteries, such as Anne Perry's and Elizabeth Peters' works.”—Karen Treanor in New Mystery Reader 
  • “Wagner … has a wonderful way with words. … The book is extremely well researched and filled with all sorts of facts, skillfully interwoven with Holmes’ comments, information on old London, and detailed descriptions of the science of the times. … [The] book is highly recommended for mystery fans … , Sherlock Holmes fans, and … anyone with a sense of curiosity about the world around them. Keep this one in mind, not only for yourself but as a great holiday present for the mystery lover on your shopping list.”—Ellen Barcel in the Times Beacon Record Newspapers 


The Science of Sherlock Holmes

I’m a crime historian-which means I investigate, write, and present programs about old...


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