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Book Review: Beyond the Tape

Dr Marie Cassidy


Beyond the Tape: The Life and Many Deaths of a State Pathologist


Hachette Books Ireland, October 2020


Paperback, 302PP, €14.99


ISBN: 978 1 5293 5297 3


Review by Joanna Geoghegan

Beyond the Tape: The Life and Many Deaths of a State Pathologist is the gripping new memoir by the former State Pathologist of Ireland, Dr Marie Cassidy. The book takes its readers through an account of Dr Cassidy’s early life and the beginning of her medical career before delving into the nittier, grittier aspects of her job as a forensic pathologist, from taking part in crime scene investigations and conducting autopsies to testifying in open court.

Dr Cassidy’s memoir carries with it a sense of profound sadness for each of the lost lives which she encounters. The book is heartening in its account of the gruelling job of a forensic pathologist – as Dr Cassidy discusses the motivation behind her choice to work in pathology, the reader understands that such a position was chosen out of a desire to do what is right, and a hope to bring peace to grieving families.

Beyond The Tape is educational and honest, yet always respectful in its account of the investigations with which the former pathologist was involved. The field of pathology is defined not by the gruesome elements of the pathologist’s job, but by the sympathy, professionalism and kindness with which they conduct their work.

At times witty, empathetic and gut-wrenching, Beyond the Tape: The Life and Many Deaths of a State Pathologist offers a clear look at the responsibilities of a forensic pathologist, but also encourages the reader to see that death should not be something to fear. Unflinching in its representation of death investigation, Dr Cassidy’s memoir is a compassionate and truly compelling account.