Molly Lefebure was secretary to acclaimed forensic pathologist Dr Keith Simpson during the Second World War. Her memoir of her time at the Department of Forensic Medicine was originally published in 1955 as Evidence for the Crown. She went on to write children's books, a biography of Coleridge and several novels. Now in her nineties, she lives in Keswick, Cumbria, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
It is 1941. There may be a 'war of chaos' in the skies over London, but 'the perpetual war against the underworld of crime' must nevertheless continue on the streets below.At 12 o'clock on a Spring day in a London Coroner's Court, famed forensic pathologist Dr Keith Simpson asks young journalist Molly Lefebure if she might like to become his secretary. Recalling the 'horror of secretarial work and secretarial young ladies', she turns him down flat, resolving to stick to twelve-hour days covering 'everything from Boy Scout meetings to the blitz'.By 3 o'clock that afternoon, curious about exactly what goes on behind a mortuary door, Molly has changed her mind. It is the beginning of an extraordinary adventure. 'Miss Molly' becomes Dr Simpson's right-hand woman, following him to crime scenes, courtrooms and mortuaries, taking notes, collecting evidence and witnessing the most shocking of sights.'You'll never regret going to work in the mortuaries, Miss Molly,' a coroner's officer told her. 'There's never a dull moment with the bodies around.'