The sleuths who solve medical mysteries lead less adventurous lives than Mike Hammer or Lew Archer but some of their more exotic cases would make splendidly gory thriller fiction. Cooper surveys the techniques of forensic medicine used to solve a collection of crimes ranging from the famous (the Sharon Tate murders, the Sheppard case, the Kennedy assassination) to the obscure. The obvious answer to the cause of death is not always the right one, as the case of the brides in the bath reveals -- a perspicacious medical detective was able to show that a series of apparently accidental drownings were actually carefully planned homicides. A series of murder cases is followed by a section on suicide and sex and drug crimes. The book concludes with chapters about several practitioners, including Milton Helpern, New York City's chief medical examiner, and John Edland, the Attica medical examiner who discovered that the dead guards had in fact been shot by the police not executed by the prisoners. More sensational in its approach than H. J. Walls' low-key memoir of his career in forensic science (KR, p. 746) and perhaps too graphic for the faint of stomach, this proves nonetheless a substantial survey of the intriguing field where riddle, law and medicine meet.