Death’s Acre

Death's Acre

by Jefferson Bass

published 2004

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Dr. Bill Bass, one of the world’s leading forensic anthropologists, gained international attention when he built a forensic lab like no other: The Body Farm. Now, this master scientist unlocks the gates of his lab to reveal his most intriguing cases-and to revisit the Lindbergh kidnapping and murder, fifty years after the fact.

Forensic science and murder investigations are among the most fascinating topics of our time. Dominating television and print media every season, both as fiction and nonfiction, the subject could not be hotter. As one of the world’s leading forensic anthropologists, Dr. Bill Bass is the premier guide to this unusual world. 

Nowhere is there another lab like Dr. Bass’s: on a hillside in Tennessee, human bodies decompose in the open air, aided by insects, bacteria, and birds, unhindered by coffins or mausoleums. At the “Body Farm,” nature takes its course with corpses buried in shallow graves, submerged in water, locked in trunks of cars. As scientific stand-ins for murder victims, they serve the needs of science-and the cause of justice. 

For thirty years, Dr. Bass’s research has revolutionized the field of forensic science, particularly by pinpointing “time since death” in murder cases. In his riveting book, he investigates real cases and leads readers on an unprecedented journey behind the locked gates of the “Body Farm.” A master scientist and engaging storyteller, Bass shares his most intriguing cases: his revisit of the Lindbergh kidnapping and murder fifty years later; the mystery of a headless corpse, whose identity astonished police; the telltale bugs that finally sent a murderous grandfather to death row-and many more.