The Skeleton Crew, a book by Deborah Halber

The Skeleton Crew book coverSolving cold cases from the comfort of your living room…

THE SKELETON CREW provides an entree into the gritty and tumultuous world of Sherlock Holmes–wannabes who race to beat out law enforcement—and one another—at matching missing persons with unidentified remains.

In America today, upwards of forty thousand people are dead and unaccounted for. These murder, suicide, and accident victims, separated from their names, are being adopted by the bizarre online world of amateur sleuths.


The web sleuths pore over facial reconstructions (a sort of Facebook for the dead) and other online clues as they vie to solve cold cases and tally up personal scorecards of dead bodies. THE SKELETON CREW delves into the macabre underside of the Internet, the fleeting nature of identity, and how even the most ordinary citizen with a laptop and a knack for puzzles can reinvent herself as a web sleuth.


“In her brilliant book THE SKELETON CREW, Deborah Halber explains why local law enforcement often fails to investigate [John and Jane Doe] deaths … While the population of the anonymous dead receives only scant attention from the police or the media, it has given rise to a macabre subculture of Internet sleuthing. Ms. Halber chronicles with lucidity and wit how amateur investigators troll websites … and check online databases looking for matches between the reported missing and the unidentified dead.”—The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

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