Between the Lines--Forensically Speaking

Are you a CSI buff? Do you watch every episode of Cold Case, Forensic Files, Law & Order and all the spinoffs? Then you are one of the people who have turned forensics into a hugely popular field. These days, DNA, fingerprints, and all that technical stuff makes fantastic (or more correctly, realistic) fodder for fiction. So what better time to introduce a new kind of forensic expert?

I’ve been in the field of handwriting analysis for forty years and occasionally, I testify in court cases as an expert witness. My practice includes working on cases of forged wills, anonymous letters, and all sorts of legal chicanery, as well as behavioral profiling. And my clients have never been as savvy or as interested in what their handwriting says about them as they are today.

At the same time, there are some who believe that in an age of  the iPod, BlackBerry, and text messaging, handwriting has lost its relevance. But the truth is, your handwriting–chicken scratch though it may be–remains an important form of personal expression, and it paints a true portrait of your personality. The way you arrange your handwriting on the page, the style you use, and the rhythm as it “moves” across the paper, reveal social graces (or their lack), thinking patterns, behavior, fears and defenses, and much more. Studying this highly complex interaction between brain and hand helps the expert glean important information about what makes the writer tick.

So, after analyzing more than ten-thousand handwriting samples over my career, I was ready to kill someone. Not literally, of course. As a big fan of mystery novels since childhood, and the author of non-fiction handwriting analysis books, I’d always wanted to write a mystery. So, the Claudia Rose, forensic handwriting expert mystery series, came into being. Working closely with LAPD Detective Joel Jovanic to solve a series of unspeakable crimes, Claudia delves deep into the trail of ink, jeopardizing her safety to uncover the secrets of personality in some very high-profile suspects.

Although most of the cases that come across my desk are fairly prosaic, from time to time I get calls that lift the assignment well out of the ordinary–like the former FBI agent who wanted to get me involved in a Satanic cult, or the detective whose client had disappeared in the Middle East and was feared dead, or the scumbag attorney who had perpetrated a huge fraud on an unsuspecting group of investors, or the one about Elvis... (yes, really!) Those are the kinds of cases that form the basis for Claudia’s adventures, beginning with Poison Pen, which asks the question, Can handwriting be faked to make murder look like suicide? Read the first chapter of each book at http://    

My latest effort is What She Saw, a stand alone novel of suspense that follows a young woman through the terrifying labyrinth of amnesia, where no one is what or who they seem:

One thing I’ve learned over the past forty years of practice as a handwriting analyst is this: you may be able to change your looks, your tone of voice, or your body language, but regardless of what you show to the world, like DNA or fingerprints, handwriting always tells the truth. 

To learn more about handwriting analysis:

Sheila Lowe



Jackie Houchin said…
Sheila has such an interesting career. I've enjoyed all her Claudia Rose mystery books and learned a lot about graphology in the process. Her new suspense book has an "Alfred Hitchcock-type" appearance by Claudia which ties the two together, but her new characters hold their own. Thanks for featuring her!
WS Gager said…
I was lucky to watch Sheila do a presentation at the Pubic Safety Writers Conference in Las Vegas. It was so interesting and illuminating. I purchased her book and enjoyed it but now I'm a few behind. Will have to catch up.
I love Sheila's books too, Jackie.

And Wendy, that's where I really got acquainted with Sheila.

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