Murder on the Home Front
First published in 1955 as Evidence for the Crown, Murder on the Home Front is the World War II memoir of Molly Lefebure, a journalist who became secretary to forensic pathologist, Dr. Keith Simpson, whom she affectionately dubs CKS. Each chapter details forensic work from a layman’s perspective – Lefebure was in the lab and the field with CKS – and the skill, patience, and persistence required. If anyone thought forensics didn’t exist prior to the television show CSI, Lefebure’s stories provide evidence that the skills and tools predate the 21st century, although in some stories, the murderers are caught by their own stupidity, and sometimes they’re not caught at all.
Lefebure enjoys her work and is valued by her colleagues, and despite the wartime setting, there’s often a cozy feeling; investigations are aided by endless cups of tea and camaraderie. But the unease of wartime London also comes through. Stories of doodle-bombs and the violence of postwar disaffected youth remind the reader what the British endured. Lefebure’s narration provides a welcome alternative to wartime era tales; she’s a young, single, professional woman, not a soldier or an evacuated Londoner. A sympathetic narrator and an engrossing read.