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The Science of Sherlock Holmes


I’m a crime historian-which means I investigate, write, and present programs about old crimes to adult audiences. Particularly crimes involving  forensic science .

While I was delighted when a major publisher asked me to write a book about “The Science of Sherlock Holmes;from Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear ,The Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective’s Greatest Cases, I was even more delighted when “The Science of Sherlock Holmes” won an Edgar award-and was translated into seven languages and braille. I narrated the audio version.( An interesting experience-three days locked in a hot phone booth-they turn off the AC so your throat doesn’t get dry)

The Science of Sherlock Holmes is a wild ride in a hansom cab through medicine, law, pathology, toxicology, anatomy, blood chemistry and the emergence of real-life forensic science during the 19th and 20th centuries along the road paved by Sherlock Holmes.

I’m interested in the folklore of crime, so in ‘The Science of Sherlock Holmes” I included tales of werewolves , vampires, and ghostly black dogs-and explained how Sherlock Holmes’ scientific approach evolved from ancient superstition.

Real-life Holmesian mysteries abound throughout the book. What happened to Dr. George Parkman, wealthy physician and philanthropist, last seen entering the Harvard College of Medicine in 1849? The trial included some of the first expert testimony on handwriting analysis on record—some of it foreshadowing what Holmes said of printed evidence years later in The Hound of the Baskervilles, “But this is my special hobby, and the differences are equally obvious.”

I’ve written non fiction about historical homicides for the Lancet, Smithsonian Magazine,The NY Times, among others, and fiction for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.

I served as forensic consultant for Sherlock Holmes: The International Exhibition which is now traveling the country.

Right now I’m working on a new museum project and a novel  about a murder in 19th century Salem.

I live on the North Shore of Long Island in the custody of a demanding Havanese dog called Wiggins.