University of Dundee

Name a Character: Crime Authors Offer a "Deadly" Opportunity to raise a Million for a Morgue

03 Sep 2012

Crime fiction fans could find themselves at the dead centre of their favourite authors’ forthcoming books in the latest opportunity offered by the Million For A Morgue campaign at the University of Dundee.

Bestselling authors Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, Peter James, Jeff Lindsay and Stuart Macbride are all offering the chance to have a corpse named in their next books.
Fans are invited to make bids in the Million For A Morgue auction, where they can secure the chance to have a corpse in their favourite author’s next book named after them, or the person of their choice (with that person’s permission).
The auction will be open until 30 September 2012 and all lots will go to whoever has made the highest bid over the reserve price on that date. Fans can bid via the website at
All of the money raised will go to the Million For A Morgue campaign, which is building the first morgue in the country to use the Thiel method of embalming, bringing significant boosts to medical research and training in the UK.
The campaign is led by Professor Sue Black, Director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID).
The Thiel method of embalming gives surgeons, dentists, students and medical researchers a more realistic method of testing techniques, practising procedures and developing new equipment and approaches.
“We are the first University in the UK to exclusively use Thiel embalming and it is an area where, working together with other colleagues in the University, we can make real breakthroughs and change the face of scientific, medical and dental research and training,” said Professor Black.
The University has already committed £1 million to the project but another £1million needs to be raised.
Professor Black and other members of the CAHID team featured in the major BBC2 series `History Cold Case’. The CAHID team have developed groundbreaking techniques in areas such as hand identification, which has directly led to the successful prosecution of a number of paedophiles identified from images of their hands found in obscene photographs and films.
The Centre also runs a major training programme in Disaster Victim Identification, which has trained police offers in practical techniques in human identification, enabling them to be deployed to help identify victims of mass fatalities anywhere in the world.
The link-up between the morgue project and the crime writers came about through a long friendship between Val McDermid and Professor Black.
As well as taking part in the auction, anyone who wants to donate and vote in the campaign can do so by visiting the website at , or by texting to the relevant author’s number as listed below.
The authors involved are:
  • Val McDermid (text: VALM10)
  • Peter James (text: PETJ10)
  • Tess Gerritsen (text: TESG10)
  • Kathy Reichs (text: KATR10)
  • Harlan Coben (text: HARC10)
  • Lee Child (text: LEEC10)
  • Jeffery Deaver (text: JEFD10)
  • Mark Billingham (text: MARB10)
  • Jeff Lindsay (text: JEFL10)
  • Stuart MacBride (text: STUM10)
For text voting, all codes should be sent to 70070 along with the amount in pounds. So, to donate £10 for Val McDermid, type:
VALM10 £10
and send it to 70070. 
There is a generic code for anyone who wants to donate but not vote for a specific author, which is MFAM50. 
Only people based in the UK will be able to vote by text but email votes and donations can be taken from around the world.
For more on the Million For A Morgue campaign see: