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Crime Authors Competing For UK Morgue Honor

10/31/11 04:40 PM ET   AP

LONDON -- It will be the world's most literary mortuary.

Ten leading crime writers are competing for the honor of having a morgue named after them.

Scotland's University of Dundee said Monday it will name its new morgue and research facility after whichever writer gets the most votes in an online poll and fundraising effort.

Kathy Reichs, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, Harlan Coben, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid are among the authors taking part in the "Million for a Morgue" campaign. Each person who votes donates 1 pound ($1.60) to a money-raising campaign. The university hopes to raise 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) for the new facilities at its Center for Anatomy and Human Identification.

The university's forensic scientists help train emergency workers in identifying disaster victims and have developed groundbreaking techniques that have identified pedophiles from images of their hands.

The university says the morgue will be the first in Britain to use the Thiel embalming method, which advocates say better preserves cadavers so they can be studied by forensic scientists.

The other authors involved are Jeffrey Deaver, Jeff Lindsay, Stuart MacBride and Peter James.

All the writers said they were grateful to forensic scientists for help creating grisly scenes in their books.

Reichs, who like her fictional heroine Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist, said she was "proud to be a participant in this effort."

Lindsay, who created the killer-with-a conscience at the center of TV series "Dexter," said the campaign was an "opportunity to make a small down payment on the huge debt I owe the forensics community."

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(This version corrects to Coben, instead of Cobden.)

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Filed by David Moye  |