Bones Never Lie Share this with a friend

How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries

by Elizabeth MacLeod

Best Books for Kids and Teens, starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre EUREKA! Nonfiction Children’s Book Awards, Gold, California Reading Association Independent Publisher Book Award, Silver Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award Red Cedar Book Award finalist Cybils Award nomination Book of the Year Award nomination, Canadian Library Association Rocky Mountain Book Award nomination

How did King Tut really die?

The mystery of the young pharaoh’s death is only one of the puzzles that modern science has helped solve. Thanks to forensics—the science of examining physical evidence—we now know that King Tut died of malaria. We also know that stomach cancer, and not arsenic as suspected, killed Napoleon.

Seven intriguing stories about historical royal figures whose demise was suspicious, and hard scientific facts about crime-solving techniques make each event seem like an episode of CSI rather than a history lesson.

Kids will be fascinated to find out how scientists use autopsy results, DNA testing, bone fragments, and even insects to determine the cause of death.

At times a gripping whodunit, at others an exercise in deductive reasoning, this book will be hard to put down for any kids who love mysteries, murder, and suspense.


“A fully fleshed and crisply told story of forensics at its romantic best.”
—Kirkus Reviews, *starred review, 02/13

“Like reading a series of thrilling whodunits: seven true crime stories drawn from history, each with a generous amount of gore, treachery, and suspense uncovered in dramatic detail.”
—Crime Writers of Canada, Arthur Ellis Award Committee, 06/05/14

“Reads like a thriller. Both science geeks and history buffs will find entertainment here.”
—Library Media Connection, 11/13

“An exceptionally handsome book with clear color photos and intriguing sidebars focusing on scientific techniques.”
—Canadian Teacher, 11/13

“Curious readers will devour this book.”
—CM Reviews, 06/14

“The topic is great for the intended age group; the discussion . . . is realistic and accessible.”
—Resource Links, 06/13

“With colorful photography, excellent graphic images, poignant questions and a fast-paced writing style, this intriguing book will fascinate young readers.”
—Reading Online Today, 05/22/13

“Enhances traditional history and science lessons with murderous mysteries, treacherous plot lines, and a funhouse touch of terror.”
—Quill & Quire, 01/13

“Readers will find plenty to enjoy in the clearly written chapters, and they’ll pick up lots of information about history and forensics along the way. An appealing introduction to some intriguing mysteries from history’s cold cases.”
—Booklist Online, 04/19/13

“An interesting, informative and engaging read.”
—Science Books & Films, 01/14

“Young readers . . . will be intrigued by the book’s “whodunit” style, and the many photographs, sidebars and glossary of terms, all of which contribute to the mystery-solving.”
—Guelph Mercury Record, 04/13/13

“Great writing, spectacular science and all wrapped up in a story that is well-told and forever fascinating!”
—Sal’s Fiction Addiction, 05/13/13

“A must-have for middle school libraries and science classrooms.”
—Mrs. Readerpants, 06/21/13

“This is the sort of book that will appeal to all readers.”
—deweydivas.blogspot, 12/06/13

“A fun middle-grade book on forensic science and history that kids will likely actually want to read.”
—Book Blather, 10/29/15