Pointing from the Grave: A True Story of Murder and DNA

By Samantha Weinberg
Read by Nadia May

12.62 Hours 05/01/2003 unabridged
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This is the remarkable and gripping true story of a murderer and his victim, and of the tiny molecule that linked their fates. It is both the history of a science overlaid with human drama and a human tragedy inextricably entwined with science. It is about two lives made and destroyed by DNA—and by each other. In 1984, Helena Greenwood, a young British DNA scientist, was sexually assaulted in her San Francisco cottage. A year later and five hundred miles south, she was strangled to death—before she could appear in court as the key witness against her attacker. The alleged rapist, Paul Frediani, was the prime suspect, but police and forensic experts failed to link him to the murder. The crime was consigned to the cold case file. Over the next fifteen years, Frediani continued his life—with a job, children, and apparently nothing to tie him to Greenwood’s death. Scientists, meanwhile, were beginning to use DNA to unravel the riddle of human identity. Their discoveries beat a path from the laboratory to the courtroom. In 1999, this prompted a determined San Diego detective, Laura Heilig, to reopen the Greenwood file, where she discovered a vital clue. Like a classic thriller, this is a tale of twists and turns. From crime scene to courtroom, laboratory bench to prison cell, Pointing from the Grave is the unforgettable story of how a dead woman’s groundbreaking work pointed the finger at her own murderer.

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Summary

Summary

Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger for Nonfiction

This is the remarkable and gripping true story of a murderer and his victim, and of the tiny molecule that linked their fates. It is both the history of a science overlaid with human drama and a human tragedy inextricably entwined with science. It is about two lives made and destroyed by DNA—and by each other.

In 1984, Helena Greenwood, a young British DNA scientist, was sexually assaulted in her San Francisco cottage. A year later and five hundred miles south, she was strangled to death—before she could appear in court as the key witness against her attacker. The alleged rapist, Paul Frediani, was the prime suspect, but police and forensic experts failed to link him to the murder. The crime was consigned to the cold case file.

Over the next fifteen years, Frediani continued his life—with a job, children, and apparently nothing to tie him to Greenwood’s death. Scientists, meanwhile, were beginning to use DNA to unravel the riddle of human identity. Their discoveries beat a path from the laboratory to the courtroom. In 1999, this prompted a determined San Diego detective, Laura Heilig, to reopen the Greenwood file, where she discovered a vital clue.

Like a classic thriller, this is a tale of twists and turns. From crime scene to courtroom, laboratory bench to prison cell, Pointing from the Grave is the unforgettable story of how a dead woman’s groundbreaking work pointed the finger at her own murderer.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Pointing from the Grave is about detection, literally and figureatively. It is about the dead, and the speech of the dead. About how the breathless can still whisper, and science can amplify their whispering until they are given back the clarity denied them in life…All this forms as fascinating a detective story as you could hope for.” Daily Telegraph (London)
 “Weaving together cutting-edge genetics and forensic criminology, courtroom drama and multiple perspectives, Weinberg’s book is an ambitious and riveting tale of crime and the science that has been developed to counter it.” Publishers Weekly
“May handles Weinberg’s interviews with Frediani, his family, Greenwood’s family, and numerous genetic scientists with tact and taste. Her performance makes this carefully researched true-crime drama as fascinating as crime fiction.” AudioFile
“To spin a compelling yarn out of the dry thread of DNA is not easy, but that is what Samantha Weinberg’s astonishing true crime-and-science thriller does.” Matt Ridley, award-winning scientist and journalist and author of Genome

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Samantha Weinberg

Samantha Weinberg is a British writer and journalist who followed the Greenwood case after reading about it in the Los Angeles Times. She lives in London.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction
Runtime: 12.62
Audience: Adult
Language: English