Getting the facts right can be murder for Dunstable author as he teams up with university lecturer

Adam hooks up with forensic scientist for gruesome details

Friday, 17th September 2021, 3:02 pm

Who does a top-selling author turn to for advice for some of the more gory aspects of his novel?

Adam Croft, who hails from Dunstable, has been picking the brains of Dr Samantha Pickles, a forensic scientist and Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science at the University of Bedfordshire, for his Rutland crime series.

With a background of working on suspicious death investigations, Dr Pickles was the perfect advisor to Adam as he crafted his trilogy. To create a believable and accurate narrative, Adam wanted to know about indicators of death under certain conditions, such as different causes of death and the impact of extreme environmental conditions on a body.

Adam Croft

Dr Pickles’ first contribution was acknowledged in On Borrowed Time, which was released in 2020 and followed on from the trilogy’s debut novel What Lies Beneath. In May 2021, In Cold Blood – the final instalment of the series – was published following further advice from Dr Pickles.

It's not the first time Dr Pickles has been asked for her expertise. She showed actor Emilia Fox around a forensic lab when she first started starring as Dr Nikki Alexander in the BBC crime drama Silent Witness.

Dr Pickles said: “I’m pleased to have been able to help Adam with his novels, giving him an insight into various forensic aspects of his storylines.

“To receive an acknowledgement in On Borrowed Time was great, and Adam also sent me a signed copy as thanks, so I was more than happy to help him again when he asked for assistance with In Cold Blood. All forensic staff at the University have come from industry, so the type of questions Adam had could be answered from real experience.

Samantha Pickles

“Adam has now sent me copies of the whole trilogy and they are brilliant… and I am not just saying that because the University was involved!”

Dr Pickles continued: “Both large and small forensic providers are often approached by television and film companies to try and make their plots as accurate as possible. Sometimes the truth is not quite as fun as fiction, but it’s always nice when your advice is found useful.”

Adam, who has sold over two million copies of his novels across 138 countries, achieving seven Amazon bestsellers in the UK, US, Canada and Australia, making him one of the most accomplished independently published authors in the world.

He holds an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University for his services to literature.

He said: “In Cold Blood opens with a body found under a railway viaduct on a freezing cold winter's morning. I knew the circumstances that needed to have happened — the person having been killed elsewhere and later moved there, the weather overnight and a number of other factors crucial to the plot. I wanted to make sure the book was as realistic as possible in terms of what the detectives would find at the scene, how things would appear and what might be evidentially interesting in terms of discoveries that'd lead them to discover what had happened.

“Sam's knowledge and experience helped enormously, and opened up a whole world of possibilities for the plot, and I'm hugely grateful to her for her time and expertise.”

In Cold Blood and other Adam Croft titles can be purchased directly from his website.

For more information about studying Forensic Science at the University of Bedfordshire, visit: www.beds.ac.uk/howtoapply/departments/department-of-life-sciences