Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Murder in the Bronx

Did you know that miniatures can help solve murders?

In Speakeasy Dollhouse, Cynthia von Buhler tells a biographical tale of murder, bootlegging, mafia, and intrigue, set in New York City and explored through a graphic novel and live performances.

She writes, "This is a true story about my grandfather who, during prohibition, along with my grandmother, bootlegged liquor and owned two speakeasies in New York City. He was shot and killed in 1935, but nobody in my family ever found out why. I'm uncovering the facts and telling the story in two ways: First, a graphic novel with photographs of miniature dolls and sets that I've created to visualize and convey the story, and second, in an immersive play through which the events unfold in real life. You can help me solve this mystery by pre-ordering the book or by purchasing tickets to the play through Kickstarter."

Watch the Kickstarter video on YouTube.
I promise you'll be intrigued!

If you want to know more about the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, mentioned by von Buhler in the video, here's a bit more information, courtesy of Wikipedia (and edited by me for length--click the link below to read the full entry):

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death is a series of eighteen intricately designed dollhouse-style dioramas created by Frances Glessner Lee, a millionaire heiress with an interest in forensic science. They are detailed representations of death scenes that are composites of actual court cases, created by Glessner Lee on a 1 inch to 1 foot (1 : 12) scale. She attended autopsies to ensure accuracy, and her attention to detail extended to having a wall calendar include the pages after the month of the incident, constructing openable windows, and wearing out-of-date clothing to obtain realistically worn fabric
The dioramas show tawdry and in many cases disheveled living spaces very different from Glessner Lee's own background. The dead include prostitutes and victims of domestic violence.

Glessner Lee used her inheritance to set up Harvard's department of legal medicine, and donated the Nutshell dioramas in 1945 for use in lectures on the subject of crime scene investigation. In 1966 the department was dissolved, and the dioramas went to the Maryland Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore, where they are on permanent loan and still used for forensic seminars.

The dioramas are not available for public viewing, but I did find this book about them on Amazon.

This is going on my Christmas list!

1 comment:

  1. It was nice to meet you at the miniature show~you have an interesting blog! I'm going to put your blog on my blog! I have a picture of you and your doll on mine if you'd like to take a look. Happy hunting.