Thursday, April 09, 2020

Murder in miniature

A 60-something divorced heiress who revolutionised the world of forensic science by building doll's-house-scale crime scenes? Let's be honest, Frances Glessner Lee sounds more like a character in a Charlie Kaufman film than a real-life pioneer - but Bruce Goldfarb's new book 18 Tiny Deaths is a genuine biography rather than a work of fiction.

As this Atlas Obscura article underlines, her dioramas - painstakingly (and expensively) crafted and exquisitely detailed - were not only astonishing creations from an artistic and aesthetic perspective but also vital educational tools, designed to train rookie investigators how to carefully and methodically assess the scenes that confront them.

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