Title: The Dental Mental Mystery
Author: Dr.Durgesh Bailoor
Dr. Durgesh Bailoor promised us a racy thriller based on the forensic dentistry work he has been doing.
Based on his previous work I was expecting a book along the lines of his lecture on Oral Submucous fibrosis. Know the pattern…
Etiology, demographics, physiology, psychology, evidence conclusion kind of stuff. But this was different, though I did feel at times this was written to for the galleries and why not. he was not definitely writing a textbook.
The dental mental mysteries documents three cases where forensic dentistry evidence was used.
Child abuse where Snyder’s tests and bone healing is used to detect the possible crime. This story also introduces, us to the forensic expert Dr.Bailoor. His past muse, future muse and muse-in-waiting, the Doctors feisty mother, his work environment as an faculty of Oral medicine and radiology.
The second is about an insurance fraud that pans across continents. The trail moves along Kasargod, Mangalore, Udupi, Karwar, and Goa. a poor fisher-girl, working her way up from the local factory, to the middle east back to Mangalore, udupi, karwar and goa. Her befriending wealthy men, and defrauding them until law catches up on her. A dubious lawyer, a susceptible banker, a frustrated businessman, a voyeuristic photographer all thrown in between. the perpetrators and captured through the dental records of one of the perpetrators. Like the dog that did not bark, the records did not match. Dr. Bailoor uses the sex and age technique used in forensic dentistry, though he does not describe the test he does make a mention of it.
of course the doctor’s romantic life blooms, his police officer muse becomes his wife.
The third should have ideally been called “Gloria’s Glorious return” for the good doctor’s wife is posted to Bangalore on duty and his ex-girlfriend arrives from Australia, of course the wife returns too, who said only canine’s were territorial. Between the three of them, they track down a psychopath who was into ritualistic killing during the full moon. Here the forensic odontology technique of translating the bite marks is used.
There is a huge element of familiarity in the locations used in the books it makes is enjoyable, at the same time it takes away the sense of exotic. The essence of the hospital and working there are hands on however a little more research on the Canara Catholics would have added zing to the book, for there spaces and lacunae of inconsistency there.
The characters of Dr.Sujatha the colleague, Mohammed Kharoushi the insurance investigator are quite real and like-able. However the Greek fencer of stolen goods Papnopolous, I think has been part of Agatha Christie’s and Uderzo’s narratives.
About the author:
Dr.Durgesh Bailoor, is a full time professor of OMDR. Currently based in the US of A Dr.Bailoor has been nomadic, he worked in Oman, Trinidad-Tobago. He is an Alumnus of University Of Bombay and worked in Bhopal, Ahmadabad, jaipur, Mangalore and Manipal. He has also authored texts on
- Fundamentals of Oral Medicine and Radiology.
- Management of medically compromised dental patients.