Thank god for volunteers! It was the woman in the audience willing to dress up in one of those white forensics overall things, who made the talk by Lin Anderson and her techie pal Andy Rolph so spectacular. She subjected herself to the overheating you suffer in the outfit which looks so ‘cool’ on television.

Despite – or because of? – Lin’s cheerful assertion of ‘believe me, this is going to be fun,’ our volunteer allowed Lin and Andy to cover her from top to toe, with face mask and sock type boots and double gloves. The double gloves are most important. Cook-in-the-bag got a mention, so perhaps this is how dinner feels as it’s being got ready for the pan.

She even did a catwalk type whirl round the room, before getting permission to take it all off again. Although first she rather optimistically asked where the body was. ‘Who do you want us to murder?’ asked Lin chirpily.

The forensic outfit

Andy’s company R2S provides forensic evidence for both prosecution and defense in many parts of the country. He showed us how they computerise it and how every little thing gets added to a sort of crime map of the scene of crime, and how this can be shared by all who work on a case. We spent virtual time in a telephone booth, with drugs in it.

We watched a body map, which helps the members of a jury to look at injuries without having to see the real body in question. The services of R2S have even become a new word; to R2S.

Lin began the session by reading from her new book, Picture Her Dead, and blast the woman for stopping just as her character tried to… We want to know where the smell was coming from. I mean, we know that, or we can guess, but we want to know more.

It wasn’t an obvious thing for Lin to pick a forensic scientist as her ‘detective’ when she began writing. It just happened. She knew someone who did this sort of thing, so went for it, without thinking it through. Serendipitous is how Lin thinks of it now.

Yes, someone needs to be enthusiastic about the gory bits, don’t they?

Post by Ann Giles