Title – The Cause of Death
Author – Dr. Cynric Temple-Camp
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 320 pages
Publication Date – 1st August 2017 by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN – 9781775541097
My Rating – ★★★★/5
“Spontaneous combustion and exhumation, drug mules and devil worshippers, a gruesome killing beneath the Palmerston North Airport control tower, a mysterious death in a historic homestead, a first-hand dissection of the infamous Mark Lundy case.
In The Cause of Death, provincial pathologist Dr. Cynric Temple-Camp lifts the lid on the most unusual stories of death and murder he’s encountered during his thirty year career.”
I received a copy of The Cause of Death from HarperCollins New Zealand to review. It’s been so long since I read a true crime book. But when I heard this was set in the area where I live I was excited to read it (can I say that with a book about death?).
There’s one case in this book that I’d heard of before I picked up the book. I think most people in New Zealand have already heard of the Mark Lundy case. I was too young when Christine and Amber were killed to see it on the news but I do remember watching a TV show that examined the evidence a few years ago. But reading the case from a pathologists perspective and someone who examined some of the evidence was interesting. I still don’t understand how people think he’s innocent.
It was really weird reading about places I’ve actually been to instead of just seeing on the TV or in movies. Some places, like the Junction Motel in Sanson, I won’t be able to look at the same again.
A lot of the cases in this book were really sad, especially the one with the baby on the plane and the old man in Foxton – I felt really bad for him. But then guess most of the stories in The Cause of Death were sad because they dealt with death. Some were even kind of shocking, like the case with the babysitter and the spontaneous combustion. I was a bit skeptical when I read that there was a case of spontaneous combustion in this book. I’m not sure that case can be called spontaneous combustion because there was something there that started the fire but the fact that only the body burned was really crazy. I’d always assumed that spontaneous combustion was something that happened out of nowhere and that there was nothing in the area that could start a fire… But there was with this person so I was left a little confused.
I liked that the science and medical stuff was explained so someone like me who hated science could understand. The only medical terms I knew were picked up from TV shows and movies but I was glad that there was also explanations for things that I didn’t know. Like how the guy was found with burns but nothing else around him was burned.
I also liked Dr. Temple-Camp’s sense of humor. There were parts of the book where he’s questioning someones logic (or lack of) and when someone said that a piece of brain was uncooked lamb or something like that and he made me laugh. There were other things he wrote that I found funny but that might be because I have dark humor… I don’t know.
Anyway, I really enjoyed The Cause of Death (can I say that about this kind of book?) and I’d definitely recommend it to fans of true crime books. And another great reason to pick up a copy is all royalties from the book go to the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter.
*Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*