Suzanne Bell, Ph.D., has a degree in chemistry from New Mexico State University
Interest in forensic science has surged in the last two decades. Recent encyclopedias on this highly interdisciplinary topic range in scope and depth of coverage from lighter, more popular works, such as Barbara Gardner Conklin and others' Encyclopedia of Forensic Science: A Compendium of Detective Fact and Fiction, to the very scholarly and truly comprehensive three-volume Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences, edited by Jay A. Siegel. This moderate one-volume resource by Bell (forensic chemistry, Eastern Washington Univ.) falls somewhere in between. It will probably hold little appeal for forensic specialists, as it emphasizes basic definition and explanation rather than detailed application. But it is accessible to lay readers and useful as an introduction to beginning students, and librarians will find it handy for quick reference look-ups. The more than 600 alphabetically arranged biographical and subject entries are cross-referenced, and many lengthier entries include suggestions for further reading. Fourteen essays on such wide-ranging topics as "Myths of Forensic Science" and "Careers in Forensic Science: A Reality Check" are interspersed among the entries. Generously illustrated throughout, the volume also features a few pages of color photographs showing actual forensic evidence and tools. The three appendixes include a bibliography (with web resources), a table of abbreviations and acronyms, and a chemical elements index. Recommended for public libraries and for academic libraries that cannot afford Siegal's far more complex and authoritative three-volume set. [Bell's companion volume, Facts On File Dictionary of Forensic Science, is scheduled to be published in June.-Ed.]-Judith Matthews, Michigan State Univ. Lib., East Lansing Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
.,."[a] handsome, polished reference work...should be among the more frequently consulted reference works in public and university libraries."