There are some wonderful online books that offer useful information for mystery, suspense and thriller writers, and best of all they’re free. Such as the following book that offers a comprehensive overview on fingerprints.

The Fingerprint Sourcebook (2011)


This 422-page manual, published by the National Institute of Justice, originated in 2002 when a group of experts representing fingerprint, academic and scientific communities met in Chicago to discuss fingerprint identification. One action item they came up with was to create a single sourcebook of research information for friction ridge examiners. The majority of expert authors for this book are fromThe Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study and Technology.

Each chapter, written by one or more experts from the forensic community, includes photographs, timelines and other graphics to supplement the text. At the end of each chapter is a list of expert reviewers as well as a comprehensive list of resources. You can search terms by pressing Ctrl-F, which opens a search window in the document (typically in the upper right corner).

Fingerprint Identification Goes Back to 300 B.C.

The history chapter alone is fascinating, with an in-depth overview of the historical events of identification, based on people’s palms and soles of their feet, that goes all the way back to 300 B.C. in China. In contrast, ID’ing people via fingerprints in the United states began in 1902.

Other chapter topics include Anatomy and Physiology of Adult Friction Ridge Skin, Systems of Friction Ridge Classification, Latent Print Development, Automated Fingerprint Examination System (AFIS), Fingerprints and the Law, as well as an extensive glossary of terms in the friction ridge discipline.

Yeah, all that for free.

Download PDF version

PDF is the only format available – to download your copy, click here.

Have a great week!