Television shows and books often depict the forensic scientist. A scientist might focus on chemistry, which encompasses crimes against property such as burglary, or they might focus on biology where the crimes are against people—murders and rapes. The third category is where the scientists focus on drugs and toxicology.
In a recent Army magazine (Issue 448) I learned about the forensic dentist.
The main ways to identify human remains are finger prints, DNA and dental records. Visual identification can be difficult and fingerprints are not always available. DNA testing is expensive, and this is where the forensic dentist comes in.
Teeth are the hardest part of the body and in recent times have been used to identify human remains. Identifying a person in this manner is quick, inexpensive and very accurate.
Our local army personnel have helped in identifying soldiers killed during combat in the first Gulf war and after disasters such as the Christchurch earthquake, the Boxing Day tsunami and the Victoria bush fires.
The forensic dentist said the work was demanding and could be unpleasant, but it was also rewarding to help give closure to a grieving family.
I thought – wow. I can use this as an occupation in a future book, and a plot started shaping in my mind to write when I get time.
And this leads me to a question for all you mystery and romantic suspense fans out there.
Is there a type of character or occupation that you’d like to read about in the future? One that you haven’t read about so far, or do you have a favorite type/occupation that you gravitate to?
Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand with her husband and a rambunctious puppy. She writes romance for Samhain Publishing and Ellora's Cave and loves to toss in dead bodies for interest. Her next release is a historical romance called Mistress of Merrivale, and it features murder and deeds most foul along with a marriage of convenience. You can learn more about Shelley and her books at www.shelleymunro.com