From the acclaimed author of Death in the Air comes the story of a turbulent period in American history when many of the CSI-style forensic techniques we take for granted in law enforcement today (like ballistics and blood-spatter analysis) became the basis for a new type of modern criminal investigation-and the larger-than-life scientist who paved the way. Berkeley, CA, 1925. A scientist's lab filled with curiosities: beakers, microscopes, Bunsen burners and hundreds upon hundreds books; its occupant an investigator who cracked at least two thousand cases in his forty-year career. Welcome to the world of Edward Oscar Heinrich, one of America's greatest-and first-forensic scientists: a man known in his day as the "American Sherlock" for his knack of finding clues, establishing evidence, and deducing answers with a skill that seemed almost supernatural. Heinrich was the nation's first expert witness, and the force behind the invention of a myriad of new forensic tools that police still use today, including blood spatter analysis, ballistics, the use of UV rays to detect blood, and the modern-day presentation of evidence. With a commanding presence in the courtroom and a cool demeanor on crime scenes, Heinrich captivated America's attention during the height of Prohibition, an era in which sensationalized crimes met the systematic study of evidence. But with his brilliance came the swift possibility for error, leaving an immeasurable, but often-ignored, impact on the history of forensic science, until now. American Sherlock captures the life of the man who pioneered the science we now rely upon. Based on years of research and thousands of primary source materials, none of which has ever before been published, this book is a stunning dissection of Heinrich's career and his longstanding impact the very foundations of the criminal and legal system. But more than that, it is a searing lens with which to examine our country's troubled history with crime investigation, a deep dive into the often-painful birth of forensics, and a look at the promise-and limits-of science and its experts.