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Blinn biology professor discusses forensic science with the John Openshaw Society of Houston

Dr. Kelly Kissane shares the science behind Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes

May 21, 2018

Kelly Kissane

Blinn College-Brenham Campus Biology Professor Dr. Kelly Kissane recently spoke before the John Openshaw Society of Houston, where she discussed the biological and forensic science used in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.

“I have always had an interest in forensic science and been a fan of Sherlock Holmes,” Kissane said. “This opportunity combined my love for Sherlock Holmes and my passion for biology and other sciences.”

Kissane discussed the science behind the Sherlock Holmesstories and their accuracy, along with the advancements made in forensic science since that time.

The John Openshaw Society of Houston is a chapter of the Baker Street Irregulars, a literary society dedicated to the study of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Victorian world.

“Sherlock Holmes is considered one of the first literary forensic scientists, even though some of the different types of science that he used, like handwriting analysis, had actually been around for centuries,” Kissane said. “I talked about the first criminal case involving the different forensic sciences that were used in Sherlock Holmes and what strategies investigators used prior to the 1800s.”

Kissane also will speak at the Houston Museum of Natural Science at the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes. The exhibit opened in April and will be on display until September. It features original manuscripts and period artifacts, investigative tools influenced and used by Sherlock Holmes, and interactive crime-solving opportunities.

“I will speak about the history of the different forensic science techniques such as fingerprinting, handwriting analysis, and so forth,” Kissane said. “It’s nice to expose people to these scientific topics and to represent the College.”