Wordcrime provides a fascinating insight into a rarely seen and still largely unknown science, and its many narratives describing how forensic linguistics is helping solve crime extend the book's appeal to a wider audience beyond law enforcement. The evidence is well presented and the explanations are easy to follow. The range of cases examined offer a real feel for the discipline's scope, application and usefulness as a crime detection technique. Investigators willing to understand and get to grips with the methods described in the book will find them extremely useful in their examination of suspected fraud involving documents, and any case where discovering the author of a particular document/email/text is an important part of its solution.
John Olsson, 57, who lives in a secluded spot near Welshpool, Powys, is a world-leading expert in forensic linguistics.
When author Lew Perdue claimed Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code had been plagiarised from his own work Daughter of God, Mr Olsson was enlisted as an expert witness for the case.
Mr Olsson said: "I studied both books and found 74 points in common between them, 68 of which were in sequence. I also found a common mistake in both; a parchment was incorrectly called a vellum. I could not find any other example of this mistake.
"However I was blocked from giving evidence and the judge threw our case out, saying the similarities were purely generic."
However, he has had more success in dealing with serious criminal cases - he is one of only three experts in forensic linguistics in the UK whom police call upon for help.
His expertise is called upon when the authorship of a text message is in question. --Sanford Lakoff