This is the story of Dr. Milton Helpern, chief medical examiner of New York City and an expert in criminal pathology. Actually Dr. Helpern's life and his campaign to establish forensic medicine (medicine used in connection with the courtroom) as a distinct branch of study are secondary. They provide the excuse to tell a very gory, highly saleable series of incidents concerning crimes of all kinds and criminals of all ages, occupations, ethnic groups and sexual dispositions. Was Kennedy's autopsy botched? What are the new methods of solving a rape case? Did a bum die before or after the salesman set him on fire?--a few of the milder cases on which Dr. Helpern exercises his prowess (and his pontification). It really delivers all the lewd and sickening details the tabloids promise. Not for the squeamish, prudish or goodtasteful; for others, not so easy to stop reading.