Amateur sleuths and aspiring scientists will get a kick out of this police-work primer by Jones (Accidents 05/Happen, 1996, etc.), who reveals the fascinating science used by detectives and forensic pathologists to solve mysteries. In an upbeat, frank approach, Jones shows how even minuscule clues--microscopic bits of fiber, paint, or glass chips--are used to prove the guilt or innocence of a suspect, and cites real cases to illustrate her point, e.g., a wife who was charged with her husband's murder when carpet fibers from her car were discovered on his body. Young readers gain familiarity with the field's jargon, learning for example, how a gun's bore, residue samples, and blowback can trace the weapon to an unknown shooter's hand. Those who don't shrink from the mention of a discovered corpse will be rewarded by the discussion of pathology work, which shows how a victim's weight, race, and even occupation can be determined from skeletal remains. Sones stresses the links between science and the everyday world throughout the book; interspersed among the chapters are ""Fascinating U.S. Crime Facts,"" offering a brisk sense of the life of crime in this country. Not just an essential tool for crimebuster wannabes hot on the trail, but a volume that makes plain the importance of critical thinking and careful research for all types of problem-solving.