Fingerprints: Murder and the Race to Uncover the Science of Identity

Colin Beavan

The extraordinary true story of the development of the science of identity and the history of fingerprint detection.

In 1905 an elderly couple were found murdered in their shop in Deptford, London. The only evidence at the scene of the crime was a sweaty fingerprint on a cashbox. Was it possible that a single fingerprint could be enough to lead to a conviction? Could the pattern of these tracks hold the secrets of the science of identification?

Through the story of three brilliant men: William Herschel, a colonial administrator in Indian, Henry Faulds, a missionary in Japan and Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, the extraordinary story of the history of fingerprinting is revealed.

It is a story of intellectual skulduggery and scientific brilliance. Packed with an extraordinary cast of individuals whose scientific breakthroughs helped solve one of the most brutal murders in English history and shape our understanding of identity forever.

Reviews of Fingerprints: Murder and the Race to Uncover the Science of Identity

    • ‘Beavan’s effortless prose, firm grasp of his subject and vividly drawn characters will delight.’ Publisher’s Weekly