Tom Tullett




book review


Tom Tullett

THE THAMES Torso, The Psychopath And The Priest, The Hong Kong Skull – the contents page beckons one inside like a wagging severed finger in a trailer for some low budget Hollywood squirmer.

Here are true accounts of some of the cases of J. M. Cameron, a leading forensic scientist of the last 20 years. The preamble admits that only a small number of forensic investigations actually concern murder. But it's murder that morbidly fascinates and which sells books. It is the blood spattered cadavers that readers will remember rather than the fine points of Cameron's work.

The author was head of the Daily Mirror Crime Bureau, and, while the reporting is functional, the style is hackish and prone to glibness and tacky sensationalism. Tullett writes of early '60s London as a place of "pep pills and cheap thrills" and it seems anyone who isn't a vicar may be a "sexual deviant".

The details are factual to the point of being callous. As people get bludgeoned, shot, stabbed, poisoned, have their innards ripped out and their heads torn off, Tullett is in raptures over Cameron's discovery of a strand of hair or spot of blood. But what of the victim's relatives and how do they feel about their loved ones' eternal repose being dealt with in such a manner (with pics included)?

Ultimately 'Clues' says more about Tullett's attitude to "crime" than Cameron's work. Also, by extension, the assumptions and prejudices of all who investigate and report it.

Now that's gory!


mick sinclair

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