Written on the Skin

  • by Liz Porter
  • Narrated by Elizabeth Kaye
  • 14 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This well-researched and entertaining audiobook looks at the role of forensic investigators in solving dozens of fascinating crimes and mysteries.In a close examination of an assault victim's body, a forensic physician can 'read' the terrible alphabet that fists and weapons have written across it.A crime scene investigator notes the tiny indentations on the fragments of a tin can identified at a bomb site, enabling him to find the can opener that made them - and the bomb-maker who used it.A forensic dentist identifies the thief who dropped some chewing gum, with his teeth marks in it, during a burglary.Liz Porter's riveting case book shows how forensic investigators - including pathologists, chemists, entomologists, DNA specialists, and document examiners - have used their expertise in dozens of fascinating crimes and mysteries.


Audible Editor Reviews

Liz Porter’s fascinating Written on the Skin has that rare distinction of being a truly unique and wholly entrancing work: a casebook recording, in intricate and abundant detail, a body of forensic fieldwork that may seem, to the average listener, almost akin to magic.
Voice actor Elizabeth Kaye uses her warm, dry voice to great effect in her performance of this audiobook, and her careful, consistent tone is well-suited to Porter’s subject matter: the methodical review of corpses which can reveal so much about the circumstances of their lives, and deaths.


What the Critics Say

"Elizabeth Kaye narrates this Australian forensic casebook with vitality and intelligence. As she presents the particulars of selected cases solved by forensics - the 2002 Bali bombing, a fatal hit-and-run in Victoria, the Lindy Chamberlain case - listeners grow to understand that crime technicians don't have the glamour jobs seen on the popular C.S.I. shows that pepper the TV airwaves. Each of the 10 chapters deals with one special area used to solve cases, including 'Reading the Blood,' 'Reading the Bones,' and 'Reading the Crime Scene'. Porter's writing style mixes science with storytelling, and Kaye's reading is as exciting as the scientific study of decomposition can be, taking listeners through labor-intensive tests of bugs, bones, blood, and DNA. Well-organized research and a solid reading make this gripping listening." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not enough true stories

Seemed more sciencey than true stories. Not my favorite book but not the worst either.
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- Laurie

I really wanted to like this, but...

What would have made Written on the Skin better?

This book jumped around almost at random, dropping references to cases and then taking multiple chapters to get back to them. Perhaps it was safe of the author to assume that most readers would have come across the "A dingo ate my baby!" case, but a short synopsis would have helped.The cases that were supposed to illustrate the various areas of forensic medicine often had very little to do with the subjects being addressed.There was no flow from case to case, or chapter to chapter. I am still listening (about halfway through) and I keep having to go back and re-listen to sections to follow what is going on. I am willing to keep listening because it is a subject I am interested in, but it is a slog.Each chapter addressing a particular topic (insects/bones/brains,etc) could have used a brief explanation of what was going on - what forensic scientists can learn from the evidence. And a chronological format would have helped, rather than jumping all around the time period covered.

Has Written on the Skin turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, I love the genre.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I found her accent distracting. She should have just pronounced everything in her American accent, rather than using Australian pronunciation on a few (but frequent) phrases or words. Every time she said "Mel-bon" instead of Melbourne I cringed. Mel-bon may be the way Melbournians say their city's name, but it just sounds bizarre and affected from an American.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Written on the Skin?

I would have reorganized it for better flow, and I would have cut most of the snarky references to CSI being an unrealistic portrayal of forensic science.

Any additional comments?

I really wanted to like this book, but couldn't.

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- Annie Fitt

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-14-2009
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd