Explaining “Clues” to a Detective

At a scene of a homicide, what’s the first thing you notice? The body and the blood. Most murders contain those two base elements. Starting with the body, you first notice the victim’s race, gender, hair and eye color, what they’re wearing, and possibly their superficial wounds. With blood, you can obviously see that it’s red and it’s runny, thicker than water but still obviously a liquid. These basic elements can be distinguished and identified by any person on the street, but with your trained, experienced eye you can notice more details about the crime scene. The position of the body isn’t something that occurs outright to most people, but that can tell you where the assailant struck from and how the victim may have reacted. If the body is lying face down, the person was hit from behind. If it’s on its knees, then it was possibly an execution. With the blood you can tell what sort of weapon was used, and how the incident could have been fought out. If there are little lines of blood flying everywhere, it means that the assailant took the time to slice the victim multiple times rather than kill them outright, maybe suggesting a deep, personal hatred. Things like this narrow down your list of suspects and will get you that much closer to finding the killer. The sort of things that become intuitive as you keep on seeing them, and gradually make you more perceptive of the tell tale signs a murderer makes. These details could be written a large book, with each entry spelling out the particular conditions of a crime scene and what the combinations of each position of whatever body part coupled with the nameless possibilities blood may splatter out of that body part mean, but the trained eye reads the situation like a book, and needs not read a book for the situation. This type of heuristical thinking that results in an instinctive, almost immediate attribution is what Ginzburg’s Clues is all about. The major, definitive, showy aspects of a crime scene such as the rotting body or the pools of blood are what catch the attention of any layman, but what you and other detectives may notice, the details surrounding each individual case, are what result in producing actual information from the scene. You, Morelli, Freud, and Sherlock may reside in differing fields, but you all notice the importance of the detail and use them to construct clues that will aid you in completing your goals.

One thought on “Explaining “Clues” to a Detective

  1. Alex~ you have done a great job by choosing the audience as police and writing to them as if you were talking to them directly. You have shown some good examples of clues that happen in reality and how detectives incorporate those clues to find the criminal. Also at the last section you have stated Ginzburg’s definition that clearly show you have understood the passage or article. Although you have showed some various situations of how clues are used, it would be better if you revealed the definition of what “clue” means for you. Other than that grammar and transition seems fine.


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