Forensic summer holidays

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It’s that time of year again.  A forensic summer holiday.


As I head off for a well earned break here is a quick update.  I am just packing my bags and thought I would share a few items going in.

Reading matter

Everyone needs a good beach read – I have chosen to start the DI Horton Series of novels by Pauline Rowson. The series is set in Portsmouth and the Solent (the stretch of water between the ‘Mainland’ and the Isle of Wight), an area I know well.  In the first book ‘Tide of Death’ Horton ‘sets out to find a killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks’.  Sounds like there could be some good forensic content in there to me!

The second book I shall be taking is ‘PIHKAL – a chemical love story’ by Alexander and Ann Shulgin.  PIHKAL stands for ‘Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved’. This book is part autobiographical story and investigation into phenethylamine drugs.  Phenethylamines are a class of compounds with stimulating, euphoric and potentially hallucinogenic properties – the most well known of which is MDMA or ‘ecstasy’.  The authors have made and characterised hundreds of drugs and detail their findings here.

Here he is talking about his first experience of MDMA:

Of course you also need some holiday tunes

As a counter to Shulgin there is always The Verve and ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’

Or alternatively think of the investigations that would happen if you were to shoot the sheriff..


Any other essentials for summer?

I’ll be back in September with some more forensic stories and the latest in the world of sports doping,meanwhile keep an eye out on our twitter and facebook feeds.  Have a great holiday! 


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About Dr Tom Bassindale

Dr Tom Bassindale is a forensic scientist, and the founder of We Are Forensic. He is currently the subject lead for chemistry and forensic science at Sheffield Hallam University. He's managed hundreds of forensic toxicology cases, and is an experienced court witness. He has specialist expertise in forensic toxicology and drug testing in sport. And yes... he watches CSI.