Here's an article that cionaudha
posted a while back, and I asked her ages ago if I could re-post it and then never did. But I did finally get my hands on this book, and it was SO COOL. So now I'm re-posting the article.
The book is The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death
, and it's about miniature dollhouse type rooms and scenes that a woman made as police training tools back in the 40s. They were used (and still are) to train police on crime scene investigation, being so incredibly detailed that detectives would be able to spot clues to hypothesize on the murders. They were all based on real-life murders, but some settings and details were changed so as not to give the trainee detectives an unfair advantage in solving the mini cases.
The book is full of great photographs. I just wish there were MORE photographs. There are also schematic drawings of the rooms with important clues highlighted and explained. Unfortunately, most of the murders don't have an actual solution given. Usually they just have suggestions from detectives such as "Police would need to find out what the weather was like, since the victim was dressed so scantily, and an autopsy should be performed to determine whether the cause of death was smothering from the blankets, freezing to death or something else." Or "It is strange that there is a kerosene can in the kitchen, and that only the right side of bedroom wall was burned. It suggests arson rather than accidental fire."
The woman sounds amazing. She made nearly everything by hand, and was incredibly meticulous - more meticulous than I've ever heard of a miniaturist being before (well except for maybe Queen Mary and the like, but they're wealthy
and could just wave a magic wand to get master artisans to make things for them. They didn't have to knit stockings with single strands of thread on needles made of surgical wire. Or go to the morgue.)
linked at doll_houses
And if you do a Google image search for "nutshell studies",
you can see more amazing pictures.