'The dead do not hide the truth and they never lie. Through me the dead can speak . . .'
Dr Richard Shepherd is the UK's foremost forensic pathologist, his job to understand the deaths which may have no natural cause. From crime scene to courtroom, his findings are crucial to the pursuit of justice. His work has seen killers put behind bars, exonerated the innocent, and turned open-and-shut cases on their heads.
Shepherd's obsession with revealing the secrets of the dead is personal. At medical school, while performing his first autopsy, he held the heart of the patient in his hand and thought of his late mother, taken too early by heart disease.
He became driven by the challenge of finding the truth, of seeing justice, and by compassion- sometimes for the dead, but always for those they have left behind.
Thoughtful, revealing, chilling, sometimes bizarre and always unputdownable, Unnatural Causes is the true crime book of the year.
About the Author
Richard Shepherd was born in West London but grew up in Watford. At the local grammar school he was introduced to a medical textbook smuggled into the classroom by a friend which opened his eyes to the world of crime and murder, setting him on a lifelong quest to understand death in its many forms. He trained as a doctor at St George's Hospital medical school at Hyde Park Corner, qualifying in 1977 and then completed his postgraduate training as a forensic pathologist in 1987.
He immediately joined what was then the elite forensic department at Guy's Hospital. He has been involved nationally and internationally in the forensic investigation of thousands of deaths from unnatural causes, from headline-making murders to mass natural disasters, and many sudden and unexplained deaths that his investigations showed were from natural causes or due to accidents. His skills and expertise still remain in demand around the world.
Unnatural Causes gives a sense of the toll that dealing with so many dead bodies takes. It's a very human book that looks at the cases he has been involved with, from the Hungerford massacre to the murder of Stephen Lawrence * The Times (Books of the Year, 2018) *
An unputdownable record of an extraordinary life * 100 sizzling summer books, Daily Mail *
One of the most fascinating books I have read in a long time. Engrossing, a haunting page-turner. A book I could not put down * The Times *
Fabulous . . . The UK's top pathologist investigating high-profile deaths such as that of Diana, Princess of Wales * The Sunday Post *
Puts the reader at his elbow as he wields the scalpel * Guardian *
Insightful, candid and compassionate * Observer *
Fascinating, gruesome yet engrossing * Richard and Judy, Daily Express *
Heart-wrenchingly honest * Professor Sue Black, author of All That Remains *
Darkly fascinating * Daily Mirror *
A deeply mesmerising memoir of forensic pathology. Human and fascinating * Nigella Lawson *
Partly an autobiography, but also a love letter to pathology. It's dignified and graceful and painfully honest about the human and emotional cost of so much time with the dead. Insightful, moving and mesmerising * Marylebone Journal *
This book holds within its pages the story of a life told with honesty, and this is partly why it is such a pleasure to read. A fascinating autobiography. Unputdownable. * Live Ribble Valley *
A unique insight into a remarkable profession * The Times *
His experiences, from morgue to court, are sometimes gruesome, always gripping * Sunday Mirror *
The true crime book of the year; a thoughtful, revealing, chilling and bizarre record of an extraordinary life and profession * Visit Norwich *
He recounts experiences in a gripping memoir that melds the personal and professional * The People *
Must Read * Daily Mail *
A brilliantly written and compelling account of a medical detective who has worked on many appalling crimes and human tragedies * Woman's Weekly *
Must read * Daily Mail *
Medical science books are rarely as gripping as Unnatural Causes. It's grimly fascinating, and I suspect I'll read it at least twice. * Evening Standard *