cover image MURDER & MAYHEM: A Doctor Answers Medical and Forensic Questions for Mystery Writers

MURDER & MAYHEM: A Doctor Answers Medical and Forensic Questions for Mystery Writers

D. P. Lyle, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $23.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-30945-9

This is an enormously entertaining collection of the best of Lyle's columns for the Mystery Writers of America newsletter, in which the doctor provides detailed and informative answers to questions regarding various aspects of medicine and forensics. Aspiring and experienced mystery writers will achieve verisimilitude, as well as the suspended disbelief of their audiences, by applying Lyle's insights, which he divides into three helpful sections: "Doctors, Hospitals, Illnesses, and Injuries"; "Methods of Murder and Mayhem"; and "Tracking the Perp." Lyle's direct style ("This is unlikely to work"; "Think James Bond") enlivens even the most obscure issue ("What is Calor Mortis?"), while the depth of knowledge he brings to some seemingly basic questions ("How Is the Time of Death Determined?") make his answers definitive. Readers will never again see the oft-repeated crime-scene words "sucking chest wound" in the same way after reading Lyle on its symptoms and treatment. (Feb.)

Forecast:The book's range of questions, its depth of information and the quality of Lyle's writing should make this resource must reading for true crime fans.