Written in blood: the remarkable caseboook of one of Britain's top forensic scientists, by Mike Silverman with Tony Thompson. London: Bantam, 2014.
Mike Silverman worked for the Home Office's forensic science service from the 1970s until the late 1990s, and then in various high-level advisory posts. This is a fascinating account both of the development of forensic science, particularly blood-pattern and DNA analysis, and of the politics surrounding government departments during the privatisations of the 1980s and 1990s. Silverman goes into individual illustrative cases, and there's a lot of gentle humour at his own expense, but also looks as the factors which led to the closing of the last government forensic laboratories in 2010. An extremely interesting and readable book.
The skin collector, by Jeffery Deaver. London: Hodder, 2014.
A young woman is killed in a New York basement by having been tattooed with an obscure poison - the tattoo "the second" only tells Lincoln Rhyme that there will be more deaths to come. There are, as ever, a huge range of twists and turns in this story. Possibly too many; this is the first time I've ever felt that Deaver might be becoming almost a parody of himself. It's still highly enjoyable though, with some new bits and bobs for people like me who've become very fond of these characters...
A room swept white, by Sophie Hannah [audiobook]. Read by Julia Barrie. Oxford: Isis, 2010.
Fliss Benson gets into work one morning to find her boss has resigned and bequeathed her his documentary film about women who have been exonerated of killing their babies. It's already been a bad day because Fliss has received an anonymous card containing sixteen numbers in a grid pattern, none of which mean anything to her. Then one of the subjects of the documentary, Helen Yardley, is found dead at her home, with a card with sixteen numbers in a grid pattern in her pocket... Very well-plotted and with a surprising ending, at least to me; and obviously based on real events.
The devil's cave, by Martin Walker. London: Quercus, 2012.
An Inspector Bruno novel. A woman is found floating in a boat on the local river, surrounded by black candles and other black magic symbols; later the local cave system is found to have been vandalised in the same way. Bruno is also juggling a domestic abuse case and a local development proposal which seems just too good to be true; and has a ridiculously cute Basset hound puppy to train. Well up to the standards of this series; Walker loves the quaintness of Périgord but is also aware of the tensions and flaws inherent in modern French life.
Gironimo! riding the very terrible 1914 Tour of Italy, by Tim Moore. London: Yellow Jersey Press, 2014.
In French revolutions, Tim Moore covered (most of) the route of the 2000 Tour de France a few weeks ahead of the riders. This time, and 12 years later, he decides to cover the route of the Giro d'Italia, 1914 edition, as a reaction to the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. Not content with riding the 3,200km of the route, he decides to do it on a 1914 bicycle and in the traditional merino cycling garb of the pre-WWI cyclist. This is hilarious and moving by turns, and tells you a lot about both the world of a hundred years ago and life in Italy today. Highly recommended whether you like cycling or not.