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Flitwick
Tuesday, 21 September 2021

University of Bedfordshire expert uncovers forensic clues for bestselling whodunit author

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A University of Bedfordshire academic has been lending a helping hand to crime writer and honorary degree holder Adam Croft, by providing forensic expertise for his latest trilogy of gripping novels.

Dr Samantha Pickles, who has worked as a forensic scientist since 2002 and is now Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science at Bedfordshire, was first consulted by Adam while he was writing the second of three books in his Rutland Crime Series.

With a background of working on suspicious death investigations, Dr Pickles was the perfect advisor to Adam as he crafted his trilogy.

To create a believable and accurate narrative, Adam wanted to know about indicators of death under certain conditions. Such as different causes of death and the impact of extreme environmental conditions on a body.

Dr Pickles’ first contribution was acknowledged in On Borrowed Time, which was released in 2020 and followed on from the trilogy’s debut novel What Lies Beneath.

In May 2021, In Cold Blood – the final instalment of the series – was published following further advice from Dr Pickles.

Dr Pickles said:

“I’m pleased to have been able to help Adam with his novels, giving him an insight into various forensic aspects of his storylines.

“To receive an acknowledgement in On Borrowed Time was great, and Adam also sent me a signed copy as thanks, so I was more than happy to help him again when he asked for assistance with In Cold Blood. All forensic staff at the University have come from industry, so the type of questions Adam had could be answered from real experience.

“Adam has now sent me copies of the whole trilogy and they are brilliant… and I am not just saying that because the University was involved.”

It is not the first time that Dr Pickles has met with somebody weaving forensic fact into fiction and entertainment, having shown actor Emilia Fox around a forensic lab when she first started starring as Dr Nikki Alexander in the BBC crime drama Silent Witness. Dr Pickles said:

“Both large and small forensic providers are often approached by television and film companies to try and make their plots as accurate as possible. Sometimes the truth is not quite as fun as fiction, but it’s always nice when your advice is found useful.”

Adam Croft has sold over two million copies of his novels across 138 countries, achieving seven Amazon bestsellers in the UK, US, Canada and Australia, making him one of the most accomplished independently published authors in the world.

He holds an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University for his services to literature, and has extended his thanks to Dr Pickles. He said:

“In Cold Blood opens with a body found under a railway viaduct on a freezing cold winter’s morning. I knew the circumstances that needed to have happened — the person having been killed elsewhere and later moved there, the weather overnight and a number of other factors crucial to the plot.

“I wanted to make sure the book was as realistic as possible in terms of what the detectives would find at the scene, how things would appear and what might be evidentially interesting in terms of discoveries that’d lead them to discover what had happened.

“Sam’s knowledge and experience helped enormously, and opened up a whole world of possibilities for the plot, and I’m hugely grateful to her for her time and expertise.”

For more information about studying Forensic Science at the University of Bedfordshire, visit Department of Life Sciences.

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John Guinn
I am the editor of The Flitwick Chronicle. This is an independent, local news service based in Bedfordshire. The Chronicle provides local news that is investigative, inclusive and relevant to the residents of Flitwick.

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