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2015 Nominee
Voted 10 out of 20

Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries

By Elizabeth MaCleod. Published in 2013 by Annick

This book devotes a chapter to each of seven historical mysteries and demonstrates how different aspects of forensic science have been used to uncover the truth. Each chapter is like an episode of CSI and readers will be pulled into the stories. The author engages the reader by giving a sense of place and illuminating personality traits of the high profile historical figures. Different aspects of forensics are presented in a concise, conversational manner and include everything from deductive reasoning to ballistics to DNA testing. Both science geeks and history buffs will find entertainment here. With intriguing photographs and illustrations, informative text features and side notes, this nonfiction text reads like a thriller and would be a great addition to middle grade collections.

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8 thoughts on “Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries

  1. Stratford School

    I didn’t quite like this book because I thought that it would be all about your body and your bones.It turned out to be very freaky and all about how people in history died. It was not really all about bones.

  2. Agnes Davidson

    I really liked this book because it is cool how you can tell about the person with bones! My favorite story is about Marie Antoinette’s son and how the doctor kept his heart and only found out it was royal generations later.

  3. Chauvin Mun. Library

    This book was really interesting. I loved finding out how famous people died and how their bones and DNA samples could solve the mysteries surrounding their deaths. It was fascinating to find out that the man in the iron mask was a true story.

  4. Hillhurst

    Bones Never Lie is a book about using science to solve mysteries. I think that this book is trying to show us that forensic science is one of the best ways to solve mysteries. It’s a journey through history using autopsies, CT scans, DNA matching, deductive reasoning and other methods to solve some of the most perplexing mysteries of all time.
    This book is trying to show us that forensic science is a great way to solve mysteries. One of the mysteries was: how did King Tut die? I didn’t really know what to think about this mystery because I really undecided about how he died. I thought he then died because of some kind of horrible accident. The CT scan showed that King Tut died of malaria and not once did it occur to me it might have been a disease. Without the CT scan we may have never known what killed King Tut.
    Forensic scientists use so many different kinds of technology for DNA. Like how they used DNA matching for figuring out that Anna Anderson wasn’t Grand Duchess Anastasia. This was probably one of my favourite mysteries in the entire book because I really thought they weren’t going to solve this mystery but then they said they did a DNA matching and they didn’t find a match. I found DNA matching really interesting. What if they didn’t have the technology to match the DNA, then what would we do? This would still be a mystery.
    This book is showing us how we use forensic science to solve mysteries along with why we use it. If you love mystery books, especially real mysteries, then I think that you should read this book but if you think that bones and dead people are creepy then don’t read this book because it’ll creep you out.

  5. Hillhurst School

    Book review of:
    Bones Never Lie
    How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries
    Bones Never Lie is a book about forensics- the science part of crime-scene investigation. A few popular questions in history are presented-what was the French prisoner The Man In The Iron mask’s real identity? How did Thailand’s King Rama VIII die? Was it murder, or suicide? These mysteries and a few others are presented and examined closely. The author presents clues that eradicate possibilities, and present others.
    I think that Bones Never Lie is a great read without being too long. Even though the book is short, it provides lots of information and is great to read if you’re a bit short on time, as it is only 145 pages long. The forensics part of the book shows methods that scientists use to solve what happened a long time ago. These things, such as carbon dating, allow new theories to be developed or old theories not considered as possibilities anymore.
    There is lots of detail and the facts are checked and up-to-date, with a timeline at the beginning of the royal people in the book so you can see dates, such as the birth and death of Napoleon (1769 to 1821). The book always has a new fact or setting so it never gets boring. To add to the great detail and consistent interest, there are pictures and side information to add to the main theme of that chapter.
    My conclusion is that Bones Never Lie is an awesome book and I highly recommend it.
    Victor Hillhurst School

  6. Hillhurst School

    “Bones never lie: How forensics helps solve history’s mysteries.”
    Bones Never Lie is a non-fiction book that can serve as an intro to forensics, the use of scientific techniques to examine a crime scene and attempt to identify the criminal. Forensics has helped solve many historical mysteries, and this book provides examples of how forensics can reveal a true criminal, even when they have left behind a very misleading trail. Actually, let me rephrase that: Some examples of how forensics helped authorities identify criminals, and some examples of how authorities almost identified the criminal or provided a solution that could have been true – and that’s what I’m here to talk about.

    Upon reading the title, seeing the cover, and especially watching the epic, exciting trailer for the book, I assumed – but this may have been wrong – that this was going to be an interesting non-fiction book that provided examples of some brilliant crime solving, and for the most part that was true, but not always. Some chunks of the story were not as interesting as others, and there were some sentences I found unnecessary. Some of the stories ended with many experts and authorities coming to different conclusions about what happened or who/what did it and why, and some stories ended with the police and detectives still searching for clues to the problem. Don’t get me wrong, I know crime solving is long, painstaking work and oftentimes isn’t really that interesting. There are also lots of crimes that don’t get solved at all. But like I said, upon seeing the trailer and cover, I thought the book would feature only the interesting ones.

    But there are some positive points about this book as well. The most interesting story in this book, by far, was the one at the very beginning. There were plenty of clues in this story about finding the criminals behind the murder of an entire Maya royal family. I especially loved the fictional part at the end where writers created a short story about the time of murder, told from the king’s perspective. They wrote what they believed the king might have been thinking before he was murdered. And, lastly, I enjoyed the end of the story where the author explained how the criminals also defaced the entire castle before they fled the scene of the crime. There were some other exciting stories, but if all the stories in this book were written like the first one, this review would be a lot more positive.

    Remember, this is only what I think of the book. If you are the more patient kind of reader who is okay with some less exciting parts of the story, then that’s great, because I think this book is for you and would definitely be worth your time to read. And, if you’re not that kind of reader, then there are lots more books out there for you to read. But regardless of what kind of reader you are, thanks for taking the time to read this review!


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