Book Review: “Written In Bone” By Sue Black

written in bone

Following up her hugely successful book “All That Remains“, Professor Sue Black has given us “Written In Bone”.

This fascinating book takes a look at our “scaffolding” . . . our skeleton.

Each chapter deals with a different part, and amidst the biology and chemistry are stories of Professor Black’s various investigations for police all over the world.

When skeletal remains are found, the first question you need to ask is: are they even human?

Then there are four things you want to know: age, sex, ethnicity and height.

That’s when you start to build the picture of the actual person.

Our bones are the silent witnesses to the lives we lead.

Five years ago, the University Of Dundee ran an online course where Sue Black and her colleagues showed you how this was done!

There was a fictitious crime — conceived by crime writer Val McDermid — and for six weeks, people all over the world came together to follow the science!

Though filled with detail and actual criminal cases, “Written In Bone” never strays into lurid descriptions. Rather, the facts are presented in an easy to understand and engaging way.

You’ll never think of your spine in the same way again though . . .

Professor Sue Black, Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, Bones and Tracey.

I was lucky enough to spend a few hours with Sue Black when she was still head of Centre For Anatomy And Human Identification at the University Of Dundee.

She is a lovely warm lady with a wicked sense of humour. We chatted about her work over tea and cake, and I even got to have a look in one of her bone cupboards where the very oldest bones are kept.

“Written In Bone” may seem like an unusual stocking filler. But as far as engaging and informative reads go, it’s superb.

Read more book reviews from the “Friend” team by clicking here.

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Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!