From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Colin Evans
Blood on the table: the greatest cases of New York’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner by Colin Evans echoes some of the history which I had already known through reading Arsenic and clam chowder: murder in Gilded Age New York by James D. Livingston. Colin Evans explores, in detail, the complex history and tumultuous beginnings of the Coroner’s Office, which was eventually renamed. “Of the sixty-five men who had held the office of coroner since consolidation, not one was thoroughly qualified, by training or experience, for the adequate performance of his duties. By occupation, nineteen were general physicians without any formal training in legal medicine, eight were undertakers, seven were politicians, six were real estate dealers, two were saloonkeepers, and two were plumbers; the rest were respectively, a lawyer, a printer, an auctioneer, a contractor, a carpenter, a painter, a dentist, a butcher ….” This book was an eye-opener regarding the politics and fiduciary issues plaguing the Coroner’s Office. The Coroner’s Office was eventually abolished in 1915. “The small print stated that the current holder of the positon would be replaced when their engagement ended on January 1, 1918. Beginning in January 1918, the city of New York, would have its first chief Medical Examiner. For anyone interested in forensics and history, this book is a perfect amalgamation of both. It is sprinkled throughout with true crime examples and the bitter rivalries engendered by the esteem attached to the office of Medical Examiner.