Friday, August 1, 2014

Forensics in medieval times? TRUE or FALSE

Hello readers, it's been a while since I posted and I apologize. My excuse ... LIFE. Working full time really limits the writing life, which really saddens me. I wish I could be immersed in writing all day. I wanted to share a little about my latest book release.

A Highlander In Peril is a Scottish historical. There's an evil villain loose, one that could be portrayed as a psychopath. And that leads our hero and heroine on a perilous course. In my story, the hero's friend likes to meddle with medicinals and has an ability to see details that others might miss. With his abilities, they can figure out how lasses died and what each of the murders has in common -- which ultimately and hopefully -- will lead them to the killer.

Now I won't give anything away, but this led me to thinking about medieval times and if people had such talents. Believe it or not, but forensic science has been used since the Roman era/days. You can read more about it on Sarah Woodbury's site. She has some really incredible information there.

So the answer to the question is TRUE! There really were forensics being performed in medieval times.

Here's a sneak peek at A Highlander In Peril (the scene is where they've discovered a body)... ~Enjoy.


Nearing the clearing where the men stood, Sean slowed and noticed Jacob walking the outlying perimeter. He and James dismounted, as did the two others, and they waited for Jacob to reach them.
“My lord, I found a few odd things around the body.”
“Show us. James is here to help.” Sean motioned for Jacob to lead the way.
Jacob knelt close to the body and they leaned in.
“Her undergarments are here,” he said, and displaced a bit of debris covering the cloth with a stick.
“Whoever did this took his time and placed them with care. He was undisturbed and took his leisure,” James said, assessing the area. “It’s remote.”
Sean agreed by nodding. “Why would he place them so neatly and carefully?”
“He cared about her,” this came from Jacob.
James took the stick and lifted the hem of her gown, which had risen to the base of her knees. He lifted the fabric higher and lowered his head to look beneath.
“There’s no abrasions on her legs or any indication that she’d been fleeing.” He moved to where her head was and crouched. “Her eyes were closed when she died.” James continued to study the body, and when Sean tried to ask him a question, James held up a hand.
He should’ve known better than to interrupt him when he was studying. Sean and the others waited in silence.
“She’s been poisoned. Aye, see the black roughness of her lips? I deem it was either belladonna or thorn apple seeds.” James continued to inspect the body.
Sean knelt next to him and noticed the blackened of her lips as well. “What is the significance of the stem?”
James used the stick and tried to dislodge it from her hands. When it came free, he picked it up and pieces fell away from its brittleness. “It’s from a rose, there are thorns. It was a thick flower given the width of the stem, fully grown.”
“Anything else of significance?” Sean frowned at the scene. For even though there was no evidence of blood, it was still gruesome.
“Aye, there’s a piece of her gown missing, near the bottom of the hem. He cut it away and took a piece of her garment as remembrance.”
“He loved her,” this came from Jacob, who stood a few inches behind them.
“We need to find out who she was involved with before her death. There had to be someone. Frances said Lombard’s steward, Bantrum, had a fondness for Winifred. Mayhap he killed her. We’ll have to look into it.” Sean realized none of the men showed their true regard for what they looked at. Except for the few men who wouldn’t move forward and stood afar. One of them continued to retch at the base of a nearby tree.
“I don’t see any wounds and no blood stains on her garments,” James said. He removed his tartan and set it on the ground. He started to roll the body over onto the fabric, and Sean hastened to help. James searched the back of her body for wounds or sign of death, but didn’t remark on any.
Sean helped to lift her body and set it on the tartan. James wrapped her and he helped carry and secure her to a horse. Once they returned to the spot where she’d lain, James stared, seemingly in his own mind.
“Is there anything else of note?” Sean asked him.
James nodded. “Aye, she was killed when it was cold.”
“How do you know that?” Jacob asked.
“There was no growth beneath her when she was set here. The grass had died off long before.”
“Do you deem she was killed elsewhere and placed here?” Sean realized James was right, for there nothing was beneath her and he wondered if the killer had cleared the spot. “It is isolated here. No one would have seen her unless they happened upon her as did you, Jacob.”
James held his chin, in deep thought and then spoke, “She was somewhat protected by the elements, with the large tree trunks blocking the wind from ravaging her.”
“It doesn’t appear that animals got to her.” Sean didn’t like this one bit, not one wee bit.
James grunted. “I’d say she’s been dead many months. Because of where she’d been placed, she was kept dry and safe. Her skin is decayed and yet not as much as I’d assume, unless she’d been put here in late winter. She was positioned here on purpose.”
“He wanted to protect her,” this came from Jacob.
“But he didn’t want us to find her. Let us get her home.” Sean was glad he’d kept Frances away, for she would have been deeply affected by the sight.

A Highlander In Peril is available now on Amazon.

I do hope you've enjoyed this little peek.


Purchase at:
In Print $12.99
In eBook: B00M4IL96K $5.99

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