A husband preserved in mothballs, a vigilante victim encased in red mud, and convicts beaten and burned in a prison riot are only a few of the cases of death examined here by forensic anthropologist Stanley Rhine. Drawing on cases he worked for the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator, Rhine demonstrates how unidentified skeletal remains indicate race, sex, age, height, and ultimately identity and how the specialist decodes skeletal anomalies to establish cause of death. Blunt trauma, gunshot and knife wounds, and other injuries receive his attention.
Step by step the author explains the techniques used to solve forensic mysteries. At the end of each case, he explains what lessons the forensic anthropologist learns from the bones. Rhine also explores specific problems and tasks: working mass disasters; recovering bodies from the field; defleshing bones; examining charred and badly decomposed remains; testifying before juries; and others.