Beyond the Tape: Marie Cassidy’s memoir of a career in death

Book review: An insight into the vital craft of the State Pathologist – just don’t read it over lunch

Prof Marie Cassidy stands beside her portrait by artist Jack Hickey at the National Gallery in 2018. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Prof Marie Cassidy stands beside her portrait by artist Jack Hickey at the National Gallery in 2018. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Retired chief state pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy tells a story in her new memoir of two “hard men” driving to commit a crime of some sort. One of them is armed with a shotgun and sits with the butt of the weapon resting on the floor of the car and the barrel pointing at his head. You can guess what happens next: the car hits a pothole and the gun goes off. “Hapless becomes headless,” Cassidy tells us.

It is these morbid vignettes, rather than the accounts of the many high-profile murder cases she has investigated, that make Beyond the Tape such a compelling read.

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