Crime writers compete for morgue honours

Ten leading crime writers are competing for the honour of having a morgue in Scotland named after them. Photo / Thinkstock
Ten leading crime writers are competing for the honour of having a morgue in Scotland named after them. Photo / Thinkstock

It will be the world's most literary mortuary.

Ten leading crime writers are competing for the honour of having a morgue named after them.

Scotland's University of Dundee has said it will name its new morgue and research facility after whichever writer gets the most votes in an online poll and fundraising effort.

Kathy Reichs, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, Harlan Coben, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid are among the authors taking part in the "Million for a Morgue" campaign. Each person who votes donates £1 (NZ$1.97) to a money-raising campaign. The university hopes to raise £1 million (NZ$1.97 million) for the new facilities at its Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification.

The university's forensic scientists help train emergency workers in identifying disaster victims and have developed groundbreaking techniques that have identified paedophiles from images of their hands.

The university says the morgue will be the first in Britain to use the Thiel embalming method, which advocates say better preserves cadavers so they can be studied by forensic scientists.

The other authors involved are Jeffrey Deaver, Jeff Lindsay, Stuart MacBride and Peter James.

All the writers said they were grateful to forensic scientists for help creating grisly scenes in their books.

Reichs, who like her fictional heroine Temperance Brennan in TV's Bones is a forensic anthropologist, said she was "proud to be a participant in this effort".

Lindsay, who created the killer-with-a conscience at the centre of TV series Dexter, said the campaign was an "opportunity to make a small down payment on the huge debt I owe the forensics community".

- AP

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