Murder Isn’t Easy Transcript

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. Like a lot of murder mystery fans. I consider myself a bit of an expert in the fictional art of murder. I’ve read enough whodunnits now to think that I know how to use phrases like time of death and rigor mortis, at least. But of course the real science behind these stories is far more nuanced and complex than a crime writer can necessarily reflect.

And that’s why I’m delighted to welcome as my guest today, a longtime friend of the show Carla Valentine, who’s going to give us a crash course in forensics as it relates to the work of Agatha Christie — a queen of crime, yes, but also someone with a surprisingly deep understanding of what happens to the body after death.

Carla is a trained mortuary technician and the technical curator at Bart’s Pathology Museum in London. She’s also the author of Murder Isn’t Easy: The Forensics of Agatha Christie.

When did you first get interested in forensic science? 

Carla: I was a really strange child. I got interested in it very early on because I loved biology when I was about sort of six or seven. And then when I started to learn that you could actually use biology to solve crimes, you know, as forensic science, I thought it was fantastic.

And I just wanted to do that for the rest of my life. So I must’ve only been about eight or nine. And coincidentally, it was around the same time that I picked up an Agatha Christie book from the library. 

Caroline: Right yes, because that was going to be my next question, how did that connect to your childhood introduction to Agatha Christie?

Carla: So the first one that I picked up the first like of the Christie book that I picked up from the library was The Body in the Library. And I think in that particular story, there are so many different forensic clues, and there’s so much going on with the body itself and this sort of this way that they’re trying to hide the time of death and hide the identities of different deceased.

And that was really what made me think, oh, you know, this, this is biology as applied to crimes and puzzle solving. And for me, it’s sort of, you know, eight years of age, who’d been reading a level biology textbooks. This was like a much more sort of illustrated in a much more rich way to learn all about forensic science.

Caroline: Yeah, no, that is, that is a perfect first Christie, if that’s your interest, because as you say, yeah, there’s so much emphasis on so much misdirection and so on involved in that, that, that that’s, that’s very fortunate.

Carla: Absolutely. It was, it was that one and The Tuesday Night Club with or The Thirteen Problems, it was those two and it was just such a brilliant sort of introduction to Christie.

And I remember reading the short stories and thinking, gosh, all of these could have made, you know, the full length books. And she’s, you know, so it was, it was just such a good way to be introduced to Christie, but definitely The Body in the Library was just perfect. 

Caroline: And so with that childhood interest nurtured by Agatha Christie novels, tell me a bit about what you then went on to do when you were studying, and then when you sort of entered working life.

Carla: So I basically thought to myself, I want to do forensic science. I want to do pathology specifically because it is all to do with the body and death and disease. And I didn’t actually know what that role was. I didn’t know that it existed. I knew that there were doctors who were called pathologists. And I didn’t want to do that.

I didn’t want to go through medical school. I didn’t want to work on live patients as anti-social as that sounds my interest was purely pathological. So I sort of had this kind of idea, I guess when I was a child. And then one day I came across what the role actually was, which was an anatomical pathology technologist you know, formerly known as a mortician, but sort of slightly, slightly more scientifically named.

And that was it. As soon as I realized that that was the role that I was, I was talking about in my own head, you know, that the Sam to the Quincys out there as opposed to being Quincy, I just started to research that and looking for the different ways that I could make that my life’s work.

And I was really lucky. I knew somebody who was an embalmer, my friend’s mum was an embalmer as you do. And I worked with her for a short while, just as a volunteer, just to work out whether or not I was actually cut out for this job that I’d wanted all these years. And as I was doing that as a volunteer, I went into forensic science at university.

And back then there was only three different courses across the entire of the UK. I mean, now that everywhere, but back then there was Liverpool that was Bradford and there was Strathclyde, I think. And because I was from Liverpool, it just made sense to study there and I’m, and then while I was studying I turned up at the local mortuary again, as you do. And I sort of said, hi, you know, I’m, I’m interested in this as a career. I’m studying forensic science. I do all these different modules. Could I do some volunteer work with you? And they let me, so I was really, really fortunate as I was studying toxicology at uni.

You know, all sorts of forensic topics, documentation, and fingerprints and everything like that. I was also able to learn in the mortuary as well, how it was actually applied to, to autopsies and solving crime. And then when a job came up a full-time job as a trainee APT, it was, it was great. I interviewed, and obviously I knew a lot about the job having been doing it as a volunteer. So it was all very, I was really lucky, but I also worked for at the same time. 

Caroline: And then you, you worked in that position for a number of years, and then you ended up now working as a curator. So tell us a bit about your curator job. 

Carla: The curator job is fantastic really because I’ve been able to take all of the information that I kind of sucked up and everything I learned as an APT for nearly 10 years. And that was all applied to modern crime and, you know, modern human remains. I’m the curator of a historical collection of body parts now. So. Because I’ve got an interest in Agatha Christie because I’m interested in anything vintage and, and lots of medical history. It means I can apply my knowledge to that.

So it’s like, I’ve got my feet in two different sort of worlds of pathology, you know, the past and the present. And it’s been really, really amazing to sidestep across with 10 years in modern autopsies. And then I did 10 years, just this October 10 years at Bart’s pathology museum. So I’ve been really, really lucky.

Caroline: And the collection there. If I understand it rightly is quite large, it’s, there’s a lot of body parts that we’re talking about?

Carla: It’s a lot of body parts. It’s the museum itself was built in 1879. But the earliest one that we’ve got is from 1750 and there’s 5,000 of them, you know, at least, and they span all sorts of different categories.

You’ve got your cardiovascular general pathology locomotor. We’ve got diseases like syphilis and tuberculosis. And then an awful lot of what was originally called medico legal specimens and what I now call the forensic specimens and they span sort of a hundred, 150 years perhaps. And that’s, that’s been really useful for obviously my, my love of Agatha Christie, but also for the book as well. And all the research. 

Caroline: Yes. Cause you mentioned that word medico-legal there. And that was something that I, I learned from your book very interestingly, was this transition in the way we talk about this field, that in its infancy, it was very much connected to the legal process. Obviously it still is, but it’s grown now into its own field of science. Give us a bit of an overview about how that happened. 

Carla: Yeah. So originally it was, it was even known as things like, you know, medical jurisprudence yeah, medico legal and. Well, although at the time forensic was used as early as about 1900, I think it took a while to get into the general vernacular. But obviously now, I mean, I think everybody knows what a forensic science has, does date and I really, and with things like CSI on TV, you can’t really get away from it.

And it’s used even in the context of a sort of. You know, close examination. So I have these Google alerts on my phone for forensics and I, I always get these things like forensic analysis of match between West Ham and Liverpool. And I’m like, that’s not what friends like me, but I think it, but it’s getting it in a, in a way, because obviously that everybody’s familiar with what it means really, which has, you know, pertaining to the law.

Caroline: Right. Yes. And I think people who read a lot of crime fiction, many of whom listened to this podcast will be familiar with the sort of late Victorian idea of Sherlock Holmes crawling around with a magnifying glass or someone like Dr. Thorndyke in the R Austin Freeman stories. He’s obsessed with dust and tiny bits of ash and that kind of thing.

How does it get from that kind of early 1900s idea to the CSI, bag it and take it to the lab? 

Carla: Well, I think really it’s sort of takes one great man who was, you know, Professor, Sir Bernard Spilsbury. Pretty much sort of unchallenged pathologist from 1910 to, you know, the 1940s late 1940s when he died.

And even though nowadays, there’s certainly a question asked about the fact that he was able to work so independently and be the last word on pressing much, you know, at any particular famous crime at the time. And that a lot of those question now, there’s, there’s no denying that he really to change the face of pathology.

And I think Lucy Worsley says that a pathologist, a forensic pathologist is a Victorian invention. And she’s sort of right in that sense, because as you say, we do hear a lot of in, in Arthur Conan Doyle but Bernard Spilsbury in real life, kind of, he was like a literary character. He was like a character from a book, but in real life, you know, very imposing.

And very stylish and very knowledgeable. And he did bring items such as the CSI examiners’ kits, like specific kits to examine a crime scene or a body created by Bernard Spilsbury. Because he was at crime scenes all the time and he kept seeing gruesome things like police officers picking up chunks of flash and, and wiping up bloods, but with their hands and their own hands.

Because they didn’t have any equipment. So yeah. So I think with Bernard Spilsbury, we started to get in much more regimented and profession of forensic pathology.

Caroline: And I always remember, I think my first encounter with him was when reading about the Crippen trial and when they, they sort of had, is it right? They handed like a dish with a piece of the victim stomach skin that I supposedly had identifying scar and sort of handed it around the courtroom. I just felt like this is clearly a man who had a sense of drama. 

Carla: Yes, because I think he was one of the first people in that sort of in that job to invite the jury and to sort of take a look at what he was doing and explain it to them.

And, you know, we still do that to this day. It was, it was done in that. 1902 as well with, with fingerprints, you know, I’m the first type of time fingerprints were used in court and the images were sort of blown up to large proportion so that the jury could see them. So it wasn’t necessarily a new idea, but I think that he did it very successfully and yeah, certainly just made it so that we, there was more protocol.

I mean, I say that there was also the time when he nearly drowned a female police officer in the, in the bath, trying to re recreate the the brides in the bath. So I think a lot of it was his own experimentation as. 

Caroline: Yes, that, that, that is still a story that absolutely haunts me when I did a whole episode about the brides in the bath a while ago.

So if any listeners are interested, they should go, could go and listen to that. But yeah, the idea that he sound scientific principle, try and reconstruct what happened, but if it works too well, you might accidentally nearly murder somebody. 

Carla: Yeah. She was lucky wasn’t she? I think she was revived after a while, but that was incredibly lucky given the success story of George Smith’s murders. So, yeah. So it’s probably something he knew to do. Try that one again. 

Caroline: Yes, absolutely. And another, idea. I think I’m writing say from the very early 20th century that you write about a lot in the book is every contact leaves a trace. This principle that I think is now is still a foundational idea of forensics. How, why is that so important? 

Carla: Called the fundamental tenant forensic science that every, every contact leaves a trace which was said by Edmund Locard who was a French criminalist. So basically a French forensic scientist in about 1910. And that’s really basically what forensic science is. Isn’t it really is that whenever you go into a crime scene or a room or anything for that matter, you know, you’re going to leave a smudge or a spray or a sprinkler, some part of you, whether it’s slider or a hair or some skin flakes.

And that really is that the forensic sciences main principle is the understand. The analytical we get with our equipment, the smaller those traces are that we can find now. 

Caroline: So connecting it back to Agatha Christie, she had this extraordinary literary career that spans so many decades. How did she stay up to date with this kind of thing? Because as a fiction writer, you might say it’s not really not really her area. 

Carla: I think with Agatha Christie, she certainly was somebody who was a perfectionist and she wanted her work to reflect reality a lot of the time and will, and she talks about it in later books. A lot more through the years, you probably know too, the character Ariadne Oliver, she talks about people kind of pointing out when she gets things wrong.

So I think as she progressed through her career, it probably became more and more important to her to make sure things were very realistic. And I think also. She just enjoys it. So, you know, the fact that they had formed the detection club and, you know, she was involved in the detection club and all of the members would talk about current crimes and talk about different ways of crimes where we researched.

And I investigated the fact that there were books, like the Notable Trials series that, you know, people like, Agatha Christie read just for enjoyment anyway. And they would obviously give away a lot of the information that was heard in the courtroom. And she, she just enjoyed learning about it as well.

And she certainly did say that she read some of the journals of criminalistic science journals at the time, too, as well as talking to people who work in the fields of law or medicine. So she must have, she must have enjoyed it. And she must’ve really liked giving her stories that realism and not having anyone question, you know, oh, that inquest didn’t sound very realistic or, or, you know, and she knew she got it right. She was probably very satisfied. 

Caroline: Yes, I think, yes, she was an enthusiast like you or I, which is quite, quite comforting, I think. Yeah. And you say in the book as well, that you’re always struck by her accuracy that she didn’t just blur the details or sort of fudge it to Sue her plots that she always made sure she got it right. Do you have a favorite example of that that people might’ve come across? 

Carla: One of my favourite things was actually when I sort of started to research the blood chapter, because I think along with a lot of people in the world, I didn’t think that that Agatha Christie was a particularly bloody author. And I was pleasantly surprised, you know, as somebody who’s quite happy and in a loved the environment, I was pleasantly surprised by the bloodiness in many of the stories and many of the books, but by the accuracy of some of herphrases. So for example, she uses the term spatter when she says blood spatter, which is the correct scientific term rather than splatter, which is sometimes erroneously used and can be a bit irritating. And she talks about she doesn’t mention Luminol by name, but she talks about the development of this chemical, which is able to show up old blood stains.

So I think that that was really brilliant for me because I just thought, wow, she, you know, she really has looked into this to get this terminology. I mean, there’s plenty of times when she plays fast and loose with the idea of time of death estimation and says, oh, it has to be between mid day and two. There’s no way that anybody can be that accurate, but she goes on to talk about that in other stories or prior story. She already mentioned that she knows that the fact she knows that a doctor can’t be that that specific. So we know that she’s just using it for there’s the, sort of the, the plot and for a bit of artistic license. So I think yeah. I think definitely the blood was a really nice surprise though.

Caroline: And we’ll hear more from Carla right after the break.

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Caroline: I like you definitely think of Christie and lots of the other authors from that period as being quite lacking in gore, especially if you compare it to modern crime fiction that they did go into huge amounts of description of what the bodies look like and so on. And it all happens in this quite sanitized way later, but reading your book and particularly the chapter chapter on blood and how blood is used, I realized that it does play a large role, even if she’s not talking about like welling pools of blood all the time.

Carla: Yeah. I mean, you know, and, and some of the stories may mention just to simple rusty smear particularly earlier on. Certainly as she progresses through the decade, she, she talks more openly about, you know, blood flowing freely and dripping and spurting. And, and she talks about the difference between arteries and veins.

She talks about ways to preserve blood. So, and, and, you know, Also the autopsy. There’s, there’s a lot more phrases about sort of gruesome, extra dead bodies, gory bodies, greenish tinge. Then I remembered from my first sort of reading of her entire catalog when I was younger. So it was a real joy to go through it with my highlighters and be like, oh, I can highlight this as, you know, gruesome gory body. And then, you know, this says blood, my, and it was, it was great. It was much more than I expected. 

Caroline: For the forensic scientist coming on the scene or analysing the material afterwards, what is the significance of a blood spatter today that might not have perhaps struck Hercule Poirot say? 

Carla: Most interesting things about blood spatter I think from, from the later books and from all modern times is of course DNA. Because you know, I, it was the right scenario up until the seventies and DNA hadn’t even been discovered. It was sort of 80, 86, I think when it first came into the press, You know, Poirot would never I can’t tell if he could ever have imagined how useful, you know, blood spatter would become, particularly because he, wasn’t very interested a lot of the time in physical evidence and, you know, wanted to just think the case through.

But I, I think. Sort of going back a little bit further. You can also see this, this idea, that blood types, you know, we forget that there was a time when blood types weren’t even being identified and separated out. So that criminals could just say, well, I’ve, I’ve got blood on me because I went to a butchers or, you know, I did something with a steak.

And there was no way to say whether or not that was true when it’s even in Mrs McGinty’s Dead, I think, which is quite a late. One of the, the people accused of murder tries to explain it a way that way. And of course, then we were able to start separating, you know, animal blood from human blood and then blood types. So so yes, I probably was, it was quite an interesting time for party to be a detective, I think, with all of these different advances in blood. 

Caroline: Because he does. Of course, you know, the portrayal of Poirot is not always entirely consistent across every story and novel that he appears in, but it, you, you quote quite a lot from The Mysterious Affair at Styles where he does have almost a, quite a forensic approach to the crime scene because he has this little bag and collecting envelopes and so on. And I think you mentioned in the book that that’s, that’s quite shocking for the time that it was written. 

Carla: Yeah, because I’m with it with the crime scene examiners case, we sort of talked about that they didn’t come integration in the real world and tailbone and spells brief, thought them up in sort of like the, not like 1920s.

In 1924, 1925. Whereas Agatha, you know, as we know, she started to write The Mysterious Affair at Styles in 1916, came out in 21. And so she, she basically had the idea for a crime scene examiners kit before one existed in real life. But I think with Poirot is it’s really odd because yeah, he, he doesn’t really stay true to his opinions and The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and he chops and changes a lot.

But I think a lot of ways to do with the fact that when Christie wrote that she’s very much leaning on the sort of Conan Doyle idea of, of, of Sherlock and, and what’s in it, isn’t she really, whereas I think he develops a little bit more as, as we go through the decades that his, his relationship with forensic evidence really changes some sometimes he’s just in order of it. And then other times he just shows a complete disdain. So it just depends on what book or what story. 

Caroline: One common element that you find in basically all crime fiction I think it’s basically impossible to think of a novel that doesn’t do this is fingerprints and you have a whole section in the book where you explain the development of the science of fingerprinting and so on. And, but could you tell us maybe why are they so important? Like what do they do that nothing else was able to do? 

Carla: The fingerprints all they’re probably like sort of one of our oldest sort of ways to identify human beings. And before they actually came into use on their own, they were used as part of a system created by Alphonse Bertillon on who was an early criminalist, who, again, Christie mentioned several times.

In the Bertillon system, and what, what Bertillon did was he measured parts of the body and took photograph of the front and the side of the face, and then took fingerprints. And after around 30 years of this entire convoluted system being used it was realized that fingerprints were all you needed because of the fact that you’re born with them. They don’t change over your lifetime. Everybody’s is completely unique. There’s never been two people found with the same thing, your prints. And so effectively, you know, you’ve got a sort of 98.9% chance of being right identifying a particular individual from their fingerprints. And that was, that was a real game changer in sort of 1902, 1903 when crimes began to be solved using fingerprint. 

Caroline: Something that I learned from your fingerprints chapter. I did not know which the slightly more squeamish listener might not enjoy quite so much, but is the process by which you get fingerprints from a dead body. Would you mind describing it for the listener? Because I think it’s fascinating. 

Carla: Absolutely. Yes. So this is the, I think they call it in the long convoluted terms, the indirect cadaver hand skin method or skin glove methods. And this was talked about as early as the 1930s and in Argentina, where basically when, when a person dies that their skin sloughs off.

And if you’re trying to identify a corpse whose, you know, become really sort of rotten and decomposed and the skin has begun to slough off. You can actually just take the hand skin and put your hands in it like glove and then fingerprints, you know, that the fingertip over your own. And obviously we would wear latex gloves when we do this and I have done this actually.

Because the thing about fingerprints that is so important. People always say to me, well, surely we just use DNA now, but we don’t because fingerprints are an incredibly quick way to identify somebody and incredibly cheap. So we certainly don’t just kind of do DNA tests left, right and centre. So in the mortuary, there was a lot of times when I would do that, this gloving method, and sometimes you just use maybe one finger or two fingers and I think it’s quite cute that they’re called skin symbols in some of the some of the criminalistics journals. And another thing that we would do is add odontology as well. We’d have an adopt odontologist come in and look at the teeth because again, it’s another really quick, really successful way to identify people, but, and also cheap.

Caroline: And that’s another quite old method, isn’t it? Cause there are some crime stories from sort of twenties and thirties that mentioned that as well as a means of identification. 

Carla: Yeah, definitely. I thinkeven as far back is sort of the late 1800s, there was a murder of a Harvard professor or, you know, I think the person had tried to get rid of the body by burning it, but they found a gold filling.

So you can sort of take it back, you know, as far as that. And I think it’s interesting that in some stories Agatha uses odontology, not, not as a science, but as an observation, when Miss Marple in particular notices one of the victim’s teeth and then listens to how those teeth are described by everybody else and something just doesn’t quite tally. So sort of basic level, she’s using odontology to say that’s not the victim that we, we think it is. 

Caroline: So thinking about the way you examine a, a corpse after a murder and so on, obviously in the real world, an autopsy is a very regulated and practiced procedure. How does Christie incorporate that stage of the process in her fiction?

Carla: She does it with incredible accuracy, to be honest for the time. I mean, nowadays the, the likelihood of you having an autopsy is a lot higher than it was then because we have sort of very specific set of rules. I mean, when, certainly when I was working in the mortuary, if you didn’t die of natural causes and your doctor, hadn’t seen you within two weeks of your death, then you would certainly have a coroner’s autopsy.

So that would mean that nobody would have a say in the matter. Now in Agatha’s time it was a bit more relaxed than that. And doctors would say, oh you know, I guess this person I’ve been treating them for gastric problems or heart problems. I don’t feel they need an autopsy. And that is definitely reflective of her time.

It’s also reflective of the fact that, you know, as you know, a lot of people were poisoned to death and people got away with it because we didn’t autopsy regularly. And then you will say, see, quite accurately, a lot of exhumations in Agatha’s works as well. So you know Hercule Poirotwill say something like, well, we all know that arsenic, you know, poisoning resembles gastric problems.

So we should have the corpse exhumed and, you know, do an autopsy. So she was really quite accurate for the time, as well as she, but it’s the same about inquests and the whole coronial procedure really reflected to how it was at the time. 

Caroline: And you mentioned poisons though, which I think people do associate with Christie very strongly, that lots of her books use poisons.

She herself had some background as a, as a volunteer dispenser and so on. Is that same accuracy present in her, her use of poisons, would you say? 

Carla: Yeah. I mean, if I think if Agatha knew anything, she certainly knew poisons, didn’t she, so she was, she was quite comfortable using that as a mode of death.

I know that she mentioned that she wasn’t as comfortable using guns, for example, because you know, one can imagine she didn’t run around shooting at things, but I think she got, she got more and more comfortable using guns and other methods as she went through sort of the decades. But she was also inventive.

I mean, there’s a lot of sort of modes of death there that I had totally forgotten were in any of her books. So I think she, she wrote so much that she had to experiment. They didn’t, she really, she couldn’t just sort of stick to one. She had to, she had to vary a little bit, but she definitely knew what she was talking about with the poisons.

Caroline: You have a favorite death that Agatha Christie brought about, shall we say. 

Carla: Ooh, let me think. I should have thought about that. Shouldn’t I, before we, we, we did the talk. Yes, I do. I do have a favorite death, but I think it’s because it’s one of my favorite stories as well, which is the death in Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, so, I know that we’re coming up to Christmas anyway.

I have to say, I read this or listen to an audio book every single year. Because I just love the story, but I also love the fact that it’s a kind of locked room mystery. So it’s this question about how did the death occur? It’s really quite gruesome, which I think is a wonderful contrast to the sort of festive cheer of the time of year.

And also because there’s a really interesting science in the story as to how the murder is made to look as if it was done later than it was that I was absolutely floored by when I re-read that book. I couldn’t remember that being in it at all. So for me, I think that’s probably my favorite one. 

Caroline: It is a really good one. And I think that’s the one, isn’t it, the book is dedicated to her brother-in-law and she kind of says, see James, I can do blood and gore. 

Carla: Yeah, it is absolutely brilliant, exactly. And you know, what, what transpires is just so unexpected, you know, for, and you can just look that contrast between this idea of this festive household.

Not that they were particularly happy and this story and then this, this really gruesome death. So yes, one of my absolute things. 

Caroline: What’s something that most lay people get wrong about forensics. Perhaps if they’ve watched a lot of CSI, they assume that it’s possible to do X or Y, but actually that’s not how it works at all.

I think 

Carla: a classic one is probably the speed at which results appear because the CSI and things like that would have you imagined that you get your results really, really quickly. And unless it’s some incredibly high profile murder case or something that it’s just, it’s just not, not the way it is in real life.

And you tend to have to wait a week or two for things like toxicology results. Urology results. But what I like is that it must have been the same in Christie’s time because inspector job talks about this quite a bit. And he says, you know, we won’t get these results for a blimming while. And that sort of thing, I thought, oh, well, nothing’s changed then.

Caroline: Yeah, that’s a really good point cause you do it. Yeah. You definitely do get the impression from books and films that the detective just snaps his fingers and whatever information suddenly appears. But now I’m sure there’s a lot of form filling and waiting. 

Carla: A lot of couriers involved, a lot of red tape. And I think the other one as well, and you see this even in, you know, Midsomer Murders for example, is that the pathologist seems to know everything about every forensic science. So in, you know, so they start talking about paint and they’re talking about mud and this sand is from this beach and it’s like, there’s a lot to learn in pathology. So people tend to stay in their lanes. You know, you don’t get these kinds of Gil Grissom from CSI or, you know, Sherlockian encyclopedic knowledge of all trace evidence. Pathologists and forensic anthropologists. They, they stay very much with the body and then leave the rest of it to the experts. So that’s definitely something that on TV gets a little bit skewed. 

Caroline: Yes. I think that’s a really good point. And definitely one that I forget when I’m reading fiction, it always just seems so perfectly coincidental that this person happens to be a bone expert and they found some bones, but yeah, of course not how it really happened.

Okay. Well, I think that that’s everything that I, I wanted to ask you. Thank you so much for coming on Shedunnit, Carla.

Thanks again to Carla for joining me for this conversation — her book is called Murder Isn’t Easy: The Forensics of Agatha Christie, and I highly recommend getting yourself a copy. I’ll put a link to some ways to do that in the description of this episode. 

That’s all for this episode. If she’d done it and indeed from the podcast in 2021. I’ll be back in January 2022 with new episodes. Thank you very much for listening this year and for your support of me and the show, it really does mean a lot. 

This episode was hosted by me, Caroline Crampton. You can find out more about my guest, Carla Valentine, and all the books we mentioned in the description for this episode or at I’ve published transcripts of every episode, including this one; find them all at

Shedunnit is edited by Euan MacAleece. Member support for the Shedunnit Book Club from Connor McLoughlin.

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