Planting Clues: How plants solve crimes


Available for Pre-order. Due August 2022.
Planting Clues: How plants solve crimes Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: Oxford University Press
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Pages: 256 Illustrations and other contents: 10 black and white images and 4 Colour Plates Language: English ISBN: 9780198868606 Categories: , , , Tag:

Discover the extraordinary role of plants in modern forensics, from their use as evidence in the trials of high profile murderers such as Ted Bundy to high value botanical trafficking and poaching. We are all familliar with the role of blood splatters or fingerprints in solving crimes, from stories in the media of DNA testing or other biological evidence being used as the clinching evidence to incriminate a killer. This book lifts the lid on the equally important evidence from plants at a crime scene, from the incriminating presence of freshwater plants in the lungs of a drowning victim, to rare botanical poisons in the evening gin and tonic, to exotic trafficked flowers and drugs.

In Planting Clues, David Gibson explores how plants can help to solve crimes, as well as how plant crimes are themselves solved. He discusses the botanical evidence that proved important in bringing a number of high-profile murderers such as Ian Huntley (the 2002 Shoham Murders), and Bruno Hauptman (the 1932 Baby Lindbergh kidnapping) to trial, from leaf fragments and wood anatomy to pollen and spores. Gibson also touches on our perennial fascination with fictional plant-related crime in literature and film, from Sherlock Holmes and Poirot to TV detective shows, tracing their inspiration from the real world of plant toxins and botanical evidence.

Weight0.4232736 kg


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Gibson is a brisk, lucid writer...very good at conveying complex technical information smoothly. * Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph * Planting Clues opens up a world that few of us know about, and while the book is heavy on technical details, it manages to balance these with (often brutal) case studies that help to bring to life the many ways in which plants (and botanists) have helped to solve crimes. This makes the pages fly by. * Kit Gillet, Geographical * David Gibson provides an engaging introduction, eminently readable...Not only is Planting Clues a great and fascinating read that will be devoured by both those lay folk into popular science and crime procedural stories alike, but also those who have studied biological sciences, are doing so, or are thinking of embarking on a bioscience course...I highly recommend [it]. * Jonathan Cowie, SF2 Concatenation *

Author Biography

David J. Gibson is Professor of Plant Biology and University Distinguished Scholar at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is Senior Editor of the Journal of Ecology, and author of a number of books, including Grasslands and Climate Change (2019, with J. A. Newman), Methods in Comparative Plant Population Ecology, 2nd edition (2015) and Grasses and Grassland Ecology (2009).