40 Murders and Mysteries Solved by Science
by Larry Verstraete
ISBN 978-1-4431-0000-7 (sc)
$7.99, 149 pp, glossary, index, ages 9 – 12
Workers digging a ditch discover the skeleton of a girl wrapped in a carpet. Who is this nameless person? Can she be identified?
A boy is viciously murdered. Other than an oily smear on his jacket, there is little evidence at the scene. Can an oily stain prove who committed the murder?
Weathered bones are discovered buried in a field. There are two bodies, but the lower limbs are intertwined in a strange way and the lower legs of one are missing entirely. What happened to these two people? What is the explanation?
A painting is up for sale. Some say it is a masterpiece. Others claim that it is a clever forgery. Which is it? Can the controversy be resolved?
Case Files is an intriguing book filled with mysteries that have all been solved by careful investigation and scientific knowledge. It is organized into four chapters with each one focussing on a particular goal of science detection: identify, prove, explain and resolve. The branches of science that are involved in the investigative work include entomology, geology, archeology, anthropology, chemistry and physics.
Classroom Connections: The high-interest level of the case studies and stories, combined with the book’s many features of non-fiction text (sidebars, lots of curious photographs, captions, glossary, index, etc.) are a winning combination. This book would be useful in any mid-grade classroom that was engaged in the study of non-fiction text. Paired with a good selection of mystery stories and novels it would also be a good choice for literature circles.
Review by Brenda Boreham.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Jan/Feb 2012 issue.