Written in Blood: A History of Forensic Detection by Colin Wilson - review by George Stern

George Stern

Comforting View of the Corpse in the Pantry

Written in Blood: A History of Forensic Detection


Equation 512pp £14.95 order from our bookshop

An ideal Christmas present especially for the over-fifties. Horror strikes. Decayed limbs under the floorboards. The marvels of science. The devotion of our detectives. The evildoer exposed. A fair trial, at least in England. The rendezvous with Pierrepoint. Thoroughly comforting. Now let’s get out that Spectator Chateau-whatever-it-was at £4.93 including delivery if you take a dozen.

And we can thrill to Bela Kiss, the Magyar who sealed the women he’d murdered in giant tins, in the knowledge that it isn’t going to happen to us. I am ridiculed for spending most of my time feeling my pulse or working out where the cancer is – but statistically I’m worrying about the right things. All types of homicide put together only account for one death in a thousand in Britain. Worry about suicide, accidents at work, slipping on the soap in the bathroom, taxes, being fired, about a yuppie stealing your home, about being jailed for a bus ticket. These dangers are real enough, but you’re not going to be murdered.

Colin Wilson soared into view in 1956. After a childhood in Leicester and career in a plastics factory, this extraordinarily erudite man, living in a tent on Hampstead Heath, produced The Outsider, a mighty tome harnessing the wisdom of all ages to solve all problems. Since then he has moved

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