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Val McDermid & Sue Black: Forensics

Date(s): 6 November 2014

Time: 19.00

Cost: Free

Booking Link:

Blackwell’s Bookshop and the Surgeons’ Hall Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh are delighted to welcome best-selling author Val McDermid and forensic anthropologist Sue Black.

Bestselling crime writer Val McDermid picks up the scalpel to uncover the secrets of forensic medicine, from the crime scene to the courtroom. She will be joined by Professor Sue Black, one of the UK’s leading forensic anthropologists.

The dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died - and who killed them. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help justice to be done using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene or the faintest of human traces.

Forensics uncovers the secrets of forensic medicine, drawing on interviews with top-level professionals, ground-breaking research and Val McDermid's own experience to lay bare the secrets of this fascinating science. And, along the way, she wonders at how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine time of death, how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer and how a team of young Argentine scientists led by a maverick American anthropologist uncovered the victims of a genocide.

In her crime novels, Val McDermid has been solving complex crimes and confronting unimaginable evil for years. Now, she's looking at the people who do it for real, and real crime scenes. It's a journey that will take her to war zones, fire scenes and autopsy suites, and bring her into contact with extraordinary bravery and wickedness, as she traces the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.

Professor Sue Black is one of the UK's leading forensic anthropologists, and is director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at Dundee University. She has appeared on the BBC's History Cold Case, a series of programmes in which she and her team used forensic science to shed light on the past. These included the case of 'Ipswich Man', an apparently African skeleton which was unearthed near a medieval monastery. She founded the British Association of Human Identification in 2001, the same year in which she received an OBE for her services to forensic anthropology in Kosovo. She received the Lucy Mair Medal from the Royal Anthropological Institute in 2008.

This event is ticketed, but tickets are FREE. Tickets are available in person from the front desk at Blackwell’s Bookshop, by phoning 0131 622 8218 or emailing

For more information or if you would like a signed copy please contact Ann Landmann on 0131 622 8222 or                       

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