|Mystery: January 13, 2021 Issue [#10562]|
This week: Let’s split up and search for clues! Edited by: Arakun the Twisted Raccoon
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Quote for the week: "The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you."
Neil deGrasse Tyson
A clue is a piece of evidence that leads to the solution of a problem. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the word "clue" was originally a spelling variant of "clew" which is a ball of thread or yarn. The modern meaning of clue as a key to the solution of a mystery or puzzle may be based on mythological stories of a character following a thread to find the way out of a maze. In the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, Theseus unwinds a ball of thread behind him as he travels through the Labyrinth. After he has killed the Minotaur, he follows the thread back out of the maze.
Some clues found at a crime scene might be noticeable and obvious, while others might be as subtle and slender as a strand of thread. Some might not seem to be important at all at first, but might be found to be the strand that holds the case together. Clues found at a crime scene can lead detectives to the perpetrator and can also be instrumental in getting a conviction in court.
One of the fundamental principles of forensic science, Locard's Exchange Principle, states that "the perpetrator of a crime will bring something into the crime scene and leave with something from it, and that both can be used as forensic evidence." The theory was formulated by Dr. Edmund Locard, a famous criminologist who became known as "The Sherlock Holmes of France." Because of this principle, anything found at a crime scene might turn out to be evidence. Clothing fibers, hair, skin cells, blood, shreds of paper or traces of makeup are just a few example of items that might help solve a case if they are found where they should not be.
Even a criminal who tries to clean up all traces of their presence is unlikely to remove everything. In some cases, perpetrators might actually leave evidence by trying to clean up evidence of the crime. Certain chemicals can detect traces of blood even after it has been cleaned up by bleach. A strong odor of bleach might lead police to further examine the area and discover that large amounts of blood have recently been cleaned up.
Something to try: Write a mystery story that depends on a small piece of seemingly unimportant evidence.
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