One of the most interesting ones out there that I have come across is forensic handwriting analysis. The idea that you can tell so much about a person by their handwriting is intriguing. Imagine filling out an application for a job only to be turned out because your handwriting revealed things about your personality that don't fit the job. Kind of scary if you think about it, but also really intriguing.
This past summer, Signet picked up Sheila Lowe and her Claudia Rose series. Lowe's debut, Poison Pen, was originally published by a mystery publisher called Capital Crime Press. This, by the way, is a huge, huge deal for any author and small publisher out there. I actually purchased an old copy of Poison Pen and was really excited to hear Lowe's good news. Now, I have to say that at first, I was under the mistaken impression that the Claudia Rose books would be cozies. As I said, mistaken. This book was great (not that cozies aren't just that I want any cozy readers to be prepared, this may not be your cup of tea) and it was really fascinating. Here is my review as posted on Bookbitch.com:
Claudia Rose is one of the foremost experts in the field of graphology, or handwriting analysis. When a college “friend,” PR guru and overall nasty person, Lindsey Alexander, commits suicide, Lindsey’s business partner asks that Claudia analyze the suicide note. Claudia agrees with some reluctance as the man’s reasoning that Lindsey couldn’t have committed suicide hinge directly on the fact that the note was printed and she only wrote in script, and that the ink used was black rather than her signature green. Of course, he also reveals that if the death is ruled a suicide, the insurance won’t pay out and he can’t keep the business afloat without it. In searching for usable comparison handwriting, Claudia comes across one of Lindsey’s darkest secrets about her past. Then, Lindsey’s partner is murdered just moments before Claudia arrives to meet with him and Claudia has to admit that the evidence strongly suggests that Lindsey’s death was something much more sinister than the suspected suicide by overdose. Sheila Lowe herself is an expert in the field of handwriting analysis and the use of this rather interesting field as a background for the series is quite refreshing. Lowe develops her tale with an ease that is quite uncommon in many debuts. Poison Pen is a must-read for forensic mystery fans looking for something a little different.
Lowe's follow up, Written In Blood, is also now available and Rose will be returning in August in Dead Write. So, if you're looking for something a little bit different that will really get your blood pumping, I suggest you run out and pick up Poison Pen.
Readers who enjoy feisty females like Jan Burke's Irene Kelly are sure to enjoy Sheila Lowe's Claudia Rose series.