Forensic scientist Xanthe Mallet digs deep in new book, Cold Case Investigations

Xanthe Mallett admits her world is dark.

"I see the worst of humanity every day," she writes in her new book Cold Case Investigations.

The forensic scientist and criminologist has worked murder cases with police in Australia and the UK as well as cases of child sexual abuse.

She's often asked why she does the work and choose to immerse herself in such horror.

"Usually I say it's because I am a scientist at heart; I am logical, I look for facts and only believe what can be proven. I'm also incredibly curious; I want to know how things work, or why they don't, that's true but it's only half the story," she writes.

"Since I was a child I have abhorred bullies and cannot abide cruelty in any form."

From the disappearance of the Beaumont children, the mystery of what happened to William Tyrrell to the double murder of Karlie Pearce-Stevenson and her daughter Khandalyce, Xanthé is determined to expose the truth to maximise dignity for both deceased victims and those left behind.

Xanthe talks to experts to uncover the how's and why's of tragic murders and haunting disappearances. Along the way readers will also be introduced to new forensic techniques and scientific methods that could - or did - help move the case forward.

Cold Case Investigations covers mostly murders or suspected murders - such as Ashley Coulston, Mr Cruel and Ivan Milat - with the victims as the focus. Not only because, criminologically speaking, the more you can learn about your victim the more you can extrapolate about the person who killed or abducted them, but also because they deserve their stories to be told. They deserve for people to know their names. They shouldn't just be someone's victim.

Cold Case Investigations is a fascinating book which will appeal to all those who love watching cold case and forensic programs on television both true crime and imaginary.

But it will also appeal to those seeking to get a grasp of the mental aberrations that drive people to commit such heinous crimes and those fascinated by the science of forensic investigation with explanations of DNA shedding, blood groups and DNA typing, hair analysis, fingerprints, firearms and ballistics and DNA data bases.

Dr Xanthe Mallett is a forensic anthropologist, criminologist, author, television presenter and social commentator. Her first book Mothers who Murder aimed to re-evaluate the evidence in a number of potential miscarriages of justice as well as improve our understanding of how, when and why women can be driven to intentionally hurt their own children.

Xanthe specialises in re-investigating cold cases, often by reaching out to the public to generate leads.

She worked as a forensic anthropologist on the BBC2 series History Cold Case in 2010-2011 which involved experts working to find cause of death for human remains dating from Roman times to Victorian England.

She also starred in the US version of the series, which aired on the National Geographic Channel as The Decrypters.

Xanthe presented the Australian series Wanted in 2013 and in 2014, she presented a television special, Mothers Who Murder, on Channel Ten that coincided with the release of her book of the same name. She is a regular contributor to crime news stories for television, radio and print media.

Xanthe writes: "It's true that my work investigates the darkness in human beings, but I have seen the light and the hope in ordinary people. Investigators who never give up looking for answers, families who fight for justice, the public who engage to help solve cases. So I know that where there is certainly dark, there is also light."

  • Cold Case Investigations by Dr Xanthe Mallett, Pan MacMillan $32.99