Review: ‘Cause of Death’ Geoffrey Garrett

Dr Geoffrey Garrett was for over 30 years a Home Office pathologist. This is his personal memoir, in conjunction with crime journalist Andrew Nott, of many infamous, unusual and heartbreaking cases and a fascinating history of his professional life, giving a unique insight into a pathologist’s work.

I came across Cause of Death while trawling through the Kindle store when I was off work sick last week. I used to be addicted to shows like BBC’s Silent Witness and have read numerous books regarding the human body and what happens to it after its soul vacates it. Consequently, when Cause of Death appeared in my suggestions list, I thought, “Now that sounds like something I’d enjoy.”

I was sorely disappointed, though. It starts off promisingly enough, giving readers a fascinating glimpse into the Moors Murders case, but with each passing chapter, author Geoffrey Garrett strays further and further away from the book’s topic. While discussing the heart-breaking epidemic of deaths brought on by home abortions in the 50s and 60s, he launches into what is essentially a multi page sermon on the apparent wrongs of abortion. I cannot stress how sick and tired I am of people trying to lecture women on what they should and shouldn’t be doing with their bodies, especially when that person is, as it is in Geoffrey Garrett’s case, a man.

Furthermore, a lot of the language Garrett uses is really dated. Granted, Cause of Death was published 20 years ago, but just because offensive terminology was more widely accepted in decades past doesn’t mean that it was right to use it. Additionally, I noticed he has an annoying habit of referring to grown women as ‘girls’. Calling a woman a ‘girl’ when talking about her brutal murder is demeaning and it was but one of the many reasons I was pleased to reach the end of this book.

Want to read Cause of Death? Head on over to Amazon to order your copy.

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