Thursday, May 17, 2007


On the way back from the doctor's office today, I made a quick stop at the main Half-Price Books branch to check on their supply of books on CD. Before I left, I made a quick sweep down the mystery book aisle because they sometimes display audiobooks on the tops of the shelves that they don't have in their audiobook section.

I happened across an interesting book atop the mystery aisle called The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death . The word "nutshell" sometimes refers to the miniatures hobby, so I stopped to take a look. Sure enough, it was about dollhouse miniatures. But it was more than that. It was a study of a series of miniature scenes that were constructed by a lady named Frances Glessner Lee to be used as teaching tools for criminal forensics. Each scene contains at least one body and multiple clues that the investigators should gather and evaluate. Each chapter of the book contains numerous photos of the crime scene and a diagram of the scene with point by point notes of things that should be of interest to the investigation.

Very strange this book. There are bodies hanging from rafters, drowned in bathubs and shot at close range with blood spatters all over the wall. Mrs. Lee based her work on actual case histories and included such minute details as sugar spilled on the kitchen floor and imbedded bullets in the ceiling. On the one hand, I admire the detail of her work. On the other hand, yuck.

Naturally I had to have the book for my comprehensive collection of dollhouse related books. It may be macabre, but also unique and irresistible for an old mystery fan like me.


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