Please welcome Tace Baker, author of Speaking of Murder:

Imagine an attractive and brilliant older undergrad.

 

 

Add in his linguistics professor, a Quaker with an ear for accents.

Complicate the story with an addictive friend and a threatening departmental chairwoman.

In Speaking of Murder, murder at a small Massachusetts college, small-town intrigues, and academic blackmail present obstacles as Professor Lauren Rousseau uses her facility with languages to track down the killer. When Lauren puts aside conflicted feelings for her boyfriend, his expertise in video forensics helps her solve the murder. Her own experience in karate enables her to escape from the killer.

Speaking of Murder was first runner up for the Linda Howard Award for Excellence in March of 2012.

One of the key tools used to solve the crimes in Speaking of Murder is video forensics.

Zac, Lauren’s boyfriend, works as a civilian video forensics expert at the local police station. The tool he uses is dTective from Ocean Systems, developed by Grant Fredericks and others. It’s used by police departments around the country to clarify surveillance video and present video evidence in court.

The dTective software works with Avid Media Composer, an award-winning video- and film-editing software for which I wrote technical documentation for 14 years. I knew I wanted to feature this software in my books. Write what you know, right? I was fortunate to be able to consult with the Raynham, Massachusetts police department, and also the Bristol County District Attorney’s office. They each use this software in their daily crime-fighting and each spent a half day with me, demonstrating the software and talking about how they use it.

It was a fascinating look into some of the inner workings of the criminal justice system. I hope I’ve done justice to their expertise. I learned how much this software can do with surveillance video. For example, you can:

* Apply a standard to see how tall someone is

* Lighten a dark image of a license plate

* Zoom in on a tattoo or other unique physical characteristic

* Compare a fingerprint left on a counter to one taken after arrest

 

It’s very cool stuff.

What about you? Do you know of other software programs that help solve crimes? Or have any questions about linguistics?

 

Tace Baker is the author of Speaking of Murder (Barking Rain Press, September 2012, ), which features Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau.

Tace Baker is a pseudonym for Edith Maxwell. Edith holds a PhD in linguistics and has been a member of Amesbury Monthly Meeting of Friends for several decades.

Edith also writes the Local Foods Mysteries.  A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die introduces organic farmer Cam Flaherty and a colorful Locavore Club (Kensington Publishing, June, 2013). Edith once owned and operated the smallest certified organic farm in Essex County, Massachusetts.

A technical writer and fourth-generation Californian, Edith also writes short crime fiction and lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau and three cats. She’s active in Sisters in Crime and serves on the board of the New England chapter. She can be found at www.tacebaker.com, @tacebaker, and www.facebook.com/tacebaker, as well as at www.edithmaxwell.com, @edithmaxwell, and http://www.facebook.com/edithmaxwellauthor.

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