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Writing Review    


Making Crime Pay
By Andrea Campbell
Allworth Press, 2002
ISBN:  1-58115-216-7



To paraphrase the Archer Daniels (ADM) commercial:

“It’s not the law library, it’s how to use it!”
“It’s not the idea, it’s how to find it!”
“It’s not your mystery book, it’s how to juice it up!”

Andrea Campbell is someone who I classify as a “necessary person.”  She’s a writer who has a forensic degree and knows how to use it.  Not only that, she can help you use it to.  What’s the best way to do that you ask?  Make it readable, logically organized and interesting.

She has done that, giving us a book split into only three parts:

#1-Criminal Law Explained

#2-Criminal Procedure and Evidence

#3-A Walk through the Criminal Justice System

In the first section, the law is set into perspective, with a history, then quotation of set standards, along with recent interesting and spectacular cases as well.  Old ideas and new ones are mixed; with comments about usage in a mystery book setting is given and evaluated as to likelihood of success.

For example, what does the word, “mayhem” mean?

This from page 33:

“Originally, the definition of mayhem was “to willfully and
maliciously injure another to render him unable to fight.” 

Along with this historical definition, a new, revised definition is attempted. 

I like the Chapter, “Behind Enemy Lines,” in which Andrea gives legal sources to track down your need crime and consequences to it.  Greatly appreciated is the naming of Internet sources for legal trackers.  (Don’t forget the state legal codes, many of which are on the Internet.)

How are lie detectors used by the police, and how about “booking” suspects, or confronting them with evidence, or line-ups?  How are they used to maximum efficiency.  What can police say and not say?  As if that isn’t difficult enough to describe, how about legal wranglings in the judicial system. 

Tips, clues, multiple usage of evidence, or arrest procedures.  Need insights or a heads-up as to what direction your mystery novel should go now?  Making Crime Pay may fill the bill for you.  It did me.


Robert L. Hall
Southern Scribe Reviews

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