by Dr Richard Shepherd
(Penguin £8.99, 464 pp) ‘FROM an early age I have had a relationship with death that is both intimate and distant,’ writes forensic pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd, whose mother died when he was nine years old. As a teenager, he discovered a copy of Simpson’s Forensic Medicine, and ‘my future became clear to me’.
His career as one of our most eminent forensic pathologists meant that he was involved in highprofile cases — Stephen Lawrence’s murder, Harold Shipman, the Hungerford massacre and 9/11.
He is frank about the personal cost of conducting some 20,000 postmortems: his first marriage ended, and he suffered from PTSD.
But, happily remarried and with his health restored, he returned to the work he loved, deciphering the last moments of victims with respect and fairness.