X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Bookends

Bookends

How to bury a body

3 September 2011

12:00 AM

3 September 2011

12:00 AM

Dr Temperance Brenner, like her creator, Kathy Reichs, is a forensic anthropologist. She works in North Carolina, specialising in ‘decomps and floaters’. This ensures that in Flesh and Bones (Heinemann, £18.99) you get plenty of authentic sounding detail with your gore. So when a human hand is found sticking out of a drum full of asphalt at the local speedway track, Reichs carefully includes plenty of stuff about how to extract the body — start with a power saw, then move on to an air hammer — and about the drum itself: ‘the size of the drum suggested a 35-gallon capacity.’

But there’s plenty more to Reichs than just insider info. She’s very good on character — Brennan, an alcoholic cat-lover, is an engaging mix of bullishness and vulnerability — while her plots are delicately knotted and full of tension. Here she’s investigating the disappearance of a pair of teenagers 18 years earlier — one of whom had connections with a particularly bonkers militia group called the Patriot Posse.

The body count is reassuringly high, the denouement satisfactorily shocking, the autopsy descriptions guaranteed to turn the most cast-iron stomach. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s some handy advice on how best to bury a body. Having tipped your cadaver into the hole and then filled it in, don’t stamp on the earth afterwards. This Reichs notes sternly is ‘the usual mistake of the uninformed’ and will simply make the ground sink into a telltale depression. Far better just to give the soil a light pat with your spade and let nature take its course.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close