Cover image for Murder and mayhem : a doctor answers medical and forensic questions for mystery writers
Murder and mayhem : a doctor answers medical and forensic questions for mystery writers
Lyle, D. P.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur, [2003]

Physical Description:
278 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN3448.D4 L95 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



InMurder and Mayhem: A Doctor Answers Medical and Forensic Questions for Mystery Writers, Dr. D. P. Lyle culls the best of his popular "The Doctor Is In" question-and-answer column for the Mystery Writers of America, in which he answers medical and forensic questions from writers all over the country. A frequent advisor to published mystery writers, as well as writers for TV shows such asLaw and Order, Dr. Lyle tackles subjects such as traumatic injuries, doctors and hospitals, weapons of death, poisons and drugs, police and the crime scene, the coroner and the crime lab, and more. In extremely organized and accessible detail, he answers questions spanning a wide range: Do pupils shrink or enlarge with death? Can X rays be copied? Can ingested cocaine kill? How soon do strangulation bruises appear? Lively and accessible, this solid reference book is bound for every mystery writer's shelf.

Author Notes

D. P. Lyle is a cardiologist and writer, based in California. He was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama, and served his residency in internal medicine at the University of Texas at Houston, followed by a fellowship in Cardiology at the Texas Heart Institute. He has practiced Cardiology for the past 40 years.

He is the author of the Samantha Cody series which includes Devil's Playground, Double Blind, and Original Sin; the Dub Walker Series which includes, Stress Fracture, Hot Lights, Cold Steel, and Run to Ground; the Royal Pains series which includes First Do No Harm, and Sick Rich; and the Jake Longly Series which includes Deep Six, and A-List. His novella is entitled Even Steven. He edited the anthology, It's All in the Story, and contributed the essay, Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, to the anthology Thrillers: 100 Must Reads. His nonfiction work includes Murder and Mayhem, Forensics and Fiction, Howdunit Forensics, More Forensics and Fiction, Forensic Science, and Forensics for Dummies.

His awards include the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award 2013 for Run to Ground, and the Macavity Award 2005 Best Non-Fiction for Forensics for Dummies.

He has worked as a consultant for numerous televisions shows such as Law and Order, CSI: Miami, Diagnosis Murder, Pretty, Little, Liars, and more.

He is the co-host, with Jan Burke, of Crime and Science on Suspense Radio, since 2013.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This is an enormously entertaining collection of the best of Lyle's columns for the Mystery Writers of America newsletter, in which the doctor provides detailed and informative answers to questions regarding various aspects of medicine and forensics. Aspiring and experienced mystery writers will achieve verisimilitude, as well as the suspended disbelief of their audiences, by applying Lyle's insights, which he divides into three helpful sections: "Doctors, Hospitals, Illnesses, and Injuries"; "Methods of Murder and Mayhem"; and "Tracking the Perp." Lyle's direct style ("This is unlikely to work"; "Think James Bond") enlivens even the most obscure issue ("What is Calor Mortis?"), while the depth of knowledge he brings to some seemingly basic questions ("How Is the Time of Death Determined?") make his answers definitive. Readers will never again see the oft-repeated crime-scene words "sucking chest wound" in the same way after reading Lyle on its symptoms and treatment. (Feb.) Forecast: The book's range of questions, its depth of information and the quality of Lyle's writing should make this resource must reading for true crime fans. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Drawn from the author's column in a mystery writers' newsletter, this surprisingly funny book is for writers, readers, or anyone fascinated by medical or forensic details. Cardiologist Lyle has compiled information on injuries, illnesses, ingestion, exposure, and other disasters as well as forensic procedures, autopsies, and coroners for writers who must create believable dramatic situations. The medical information is well researched yet simple enough to understand (the section describing the causes and treatment of sucking chest wounds is excellent) and more accessible to the average nonexpert than more technical works like the Merck Manual. The text is organized into chapters by topic (e.g., "Trauma Injuries and Their Treatment"), and the questions addressed therein (e.g., "Where can my hero be shot, and survive?" or "How would death occur from blunt head trauma?") are also listed in the table of contents. Particularly suitable for public libraries but a reasonable purchase for academic libraries with interest-or medical libraries with a sense of humor.-Necia Parker-Gibson, Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.