- by Rebecca York

I’m sitting at my desk contemplating murder.   But how am I going to do it?  Poison’s supposed to be a woman’s weapon, but I don’t actually use it much.  I find it’s a lot more fun to blow people up with a pipe bomb.  Or send them in a speeding car off a cliff.  Or maybe even deep-six them in an experimental sub.

Of course, I want to get the details right.  If I were a criminal, I’d need to pull off the perfect crime so I could stay out of prison.  But in real life,  I’m a novelist, not a killer.  I’m not secretly burying bodies in the backyard in the middle of the night.  Instead of hiding my crimes, I want a lot of people to read about them–in my romantic suspense novels.   And I know I’ll get a ton of e-mails from readers if I make  some sloppy mistake like leaving a liver lying around the autopsy room.

But I’m not just concerned with the nitty-gritty details of murder.  In my stories, I also want to punish the perpetrators.  Which means I also have to get the details of the investigation right. 

That’s why I was so excited when I saw the program for NINC DOES FORENSICS on October 1st in St. Louis.  It’s the day before the NINC conference starts.  NINC members who sign up for the conference and Forensics Day at the same time, pay an additional charge of  $75.   For all participants, the day includes lunch and a reception with the presenters.

The ghoul in me is salivating over the program.   The famous Dr. D. P. Lyle leads off with THE ABC’S OF FORENSICS.

Here’s the rest of the day:

Basic Death Investigation
Mary Fran Ernst
Okay, so you stumble over this dead guy, see? What happens next? Sure, the homicide cops show up. But who else? And what happens to that poor dead guy? And just for extra points, what’s the difference between a coroner and a medical examiner?

Dr. D. P. Lyle
Anything can be a poison. The question is, how does your villain use it? And how does your hero cop discover it? It’s not as simple as it looks on TV.

11:30 to 1:00

Let’s Do Lunch … and a Crime Scene
Visit the Crime Scene set up in one of the meeting rooms, walk around in the middle of it, take notes, and then compare them over a great lunch catered by Carmine’s Steak House. Your workshop presenters will also be at lunch with you. All included in the cost for the day.

1:00 to 2:00

Crime Scene Investigation
Major Mike CopelandWhat did the crime scene tell us? Find out from the head of Franklin County Sheriff’s Office CSI bureau as he instructs us on that and the real world of CSI—as opposed to what you see on television (hint: he does not drive a Hummer).

Eileen Dreyer, RN, Kate Christlieb, PA
What really happens to your hero when he gets shot in the shoulder? Or conked on the head? What do the medics do? The hospital? What does your hero feel (Hint: He won’t pass out from a gunshot wound to the shoulder unless he’s a wuss)? Eileen and Kate separate myth from real treatment to make those desperate E.R. scenes more realistic.

2:15 to 3:15

Interview and Interrogation
Detective Sergeant Joseph Burgoon
What happens when you get your suspect “in the box?” There’s a psychology to asking questions and getting answers. Spontaneous confessions and long recaps by a cooperative villain that neatly tie up all of the plot’s loose ends in the last chapter are the stuff of fiction. But not your fiction, because Det. Sgt. Burgoon is going to tell you how it really works.

Forensic Anthropology
Forensic Anthropologist Gwen Haugen
Ah! Now we get to the good stuff. Examining remains. Crispy critters (burn victims). Skeletons long in the ground. IDing using dental records. Extracting DNA, determining sex and age of the victim, on and on.

3:30 to 4:30

Forensic Pathology
Dr. Mary Case
Dr. Case is the Chief Medical Examiner of Saint Louis County. This one’s going to be good!
When exactly do you call in the FBI? And what do they do? A local Special Agent tells us all that and more as he fills us in on the role of the FBI in today’s post 9-11 law enforcement, and answers our “feebie” questions. Even the tough questions, like – do they cringe when writers call them feebies?

4:45 to 5:45

So, I Have This Guy I Need To Kill
A panel including Eileen Dreyer, Dr. Lyle, Det. Sgt. Burgoon, Gwen Haugen, Dr. Mary Case, Major Copeland, and other Forensics Day presenters that lets authors ask questions specific to their manuscripts. How to kill the victim, how the bad guy can slip up so your hero can catch him – ask your questions here, and get the answers you need!

6:00 to 8:00

Not only does the program include lunch, but the day ends with a reception for all attendees, guests and presenters, catered by Carmine’s Steak House.

One comments

  1. What a great conference extender. This really sounds like a lot of fun as well as informative! I get excited just reading about it again. I can’t wait to do forensics in St. Louis. :-)