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18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics

18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics


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A captivating blend of history, women in science, and true crime, 18 Tiny Deaths tells the story of how one woman changed the face of forensics forever.

Frances Glessner Lee, born a socialite to a wealthy and influential Chicago family in the 1870s, was never meant to have a career, let alone one steeped in death and depravity.

Yet she developed a fascination with the investigation of violent crimes, and made it her life's work. Best known for creating the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, a series of dollhouses that appear charming—until you notice the macabre little details: an overturned chair, or a blood-spattered comforter. And then, of course, there are the bodies—splayed out on the floor, draped over chairs—clothed in garments that Lee lovingly knit with sewing pins.

18 Tiny Deaths, by official biographer Bruce Goldfarb, delves into Lee's journey from grandmother without a college degree to leading the scientific investigation of unexpected death out of the dark confines of centuries-old techniques and into the light of the modern day.

Lee developed a system that used the Nutshells dioramas to train law enforcement officers to investigate violent crimes, and her methods are still used today.

The story of a woman whose ambition and accomplishments far exceeded the expectations of her time, 18 Tiny Deaths follows the transformation of a young, wealthy socialite into the mother of modern forensics...

"Eye-opening biography of Frances Glessner Lee, who brought American medical forensics into the scientific age...genuinely compelling."—Kirkus Reviews

"A captivating portrait of a feminist hero and forensic pioneer." —Booklist

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492680475
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 02/04/2020
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 188,450
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

A former EMT/paramedic and a nursing school dropout, Bruce Goldfarb has written for national and local newspapers, magazines, and web publications. He also wrote and edited several medical texts and reference books. This is his first book of popular nonfiction. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Table of Contents

Key Characters ix

Introduction xi

1 Legal Medicine 1

2 The Sunny Street of the Sifted Few 21

3 Marriage and the Aftermath 48

4 The Crime Doctor 70

5 Kindred Spirits 99

6 The Medical School 115

7 The Three-Legged Stool 143

8 Captain Lee 178

9 In a Nutshell 202

10 Murder at Harvard 224

11 The Decline and Falls 246

12 Postmortem 272

A Note from the Author 287

Reading Group Guide 292

Notes 295

Further Reading and Resources 323

Index 329

Acknowledgments 347

About the Author 352

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