Every so often I take a break from fiction and pick up a factual book. My current factual treat is Dr John Olsson’s Forensic Linguistics. The leading expert in the field, Olsson details some of the cases he’s worked on and explains how linguistics has helped to solve mysteries and bring criminals to justice.
Every chapter is a different case. The most fascinating of all, I thought, was the plagiarism case made against Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code.
I was on the edge of my seat waiting to get to the end of the chapter to find out the outcome. I won’t spoil it for you, but when I discovered what happened I was shouting with disbelief at the page – an action which doesn’t go without attention when you’re meant to be watching your child at his gymnastics class.
Olsson has worked on husband/wife murder cases, instances of foreign aid workers going missing, death threats and corporate crimes. Sometimes it goes into a lot of in-depth linguistic detail which, if you’re not a language-nut, can slow the pace, but then this is real life, not CSI Miami.
Nonetheless, I’ve really enjoyed Forensic Linguistics and will definitely be reading more about it in the future.