Cover Image: 18 Tiny Deaths

18 Tiny Deaths

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I enjoyed learning more about Frances Glessner Lee and her role in pioneering forensic science. I did find myself skimming through some of the dryer sections. That didn't diminish the quality of information or the value I found in the book.
Was this review helpful?
This book was slightly disorganized and wordy. It was difficult to read and did not engage the reader.
Was this review helpful?
I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

If you are a true crime fan in any way, I suggest having this book.
Was this review helpful?
I actually quite liked this book but I don't think the reality matched the title or the blurb so much which is why I have given it 3 stars. There is remarkably little about the later years when Lee was involved in the Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard. Was it that there wasn't much information available or was the author biased or discouraged from writing overly negatively about Lee given he was involved with the dioramas' maintenance? The history about the family was interesting from a social history perspective however it wasn't relevant to modern forensics. This book would have got more stars had it had a better title or blurb however the main focus of the book wasn't on the subject mentioned in the title.
Was this review helpful?
I received this book in exchange for a honest review from NetGalley.

I adored this look into Frances Glessner Lee's life. She has always been an person of curiosity for me. I originally wanted to be a forensic pathologist when I grew up but life led me on a different path to librarianship. This was a honest and fascinating portrayal of a fascinating lady. I one day want to be like her "an elderly woman with a cause"
Was this review helpful?
The history of forensics was quite interesting to read about.  The coroner system was quite inadequate and defunct.  I had no idea that a woman spearheaded forensic studies.
Was this review helpful?
18 Tiny Deaths is a fascinating read for true crime enthusiasts. Super detailed writing helped you feel like you were right there with Frances. Although at times the writing was a bit dry, it was still an interesting look on forensics history and how it was established.
Was this review helpful?
This book was interesting as well as informative. I don’t know if it was my interest in true crime but it kept me engaged. Goldfarb really takes the time to tell you about Francis and explain why her innovations were important. I’m interested in reading more about the subject from this.
Was this review helpful?
I really liked this book. It's a good insight into the birth of forensics. True crime addicts that enjoy the more scientific side of investigation may really like this title. Thank you for the opportunity to be an early reader.
Was this review helpful?
I was interested how this society woman came to have such an interest in forensic science and how she of all people came to revolutionise it.

For starters this is an "...  extremely detailed and thoroughly researched biography ...", so much so that I think it detracts from the object at hand - how and why forensics.  I get that we know to know something of her background, but felt that this could quite easily have been condensed into one chapter.  Another chapter could have been devoted to the history and current standing of forensics in the US before we then embark of Frances' sourjon into crime.

Alternately, this could have been a compelling look into the study and emergence of forensics in America, with a feature of Frances, as this tome does tend to veer off course with the introduction of a number of other influential characters.

Look, all in all, an interesting topic - and further reading up on the "Nutshell Studies" is highly warranted.
Was this review helpful?
What an interesting book.  The author did an awesome job of  laying out the path that modern day forensic science has taken.  Mrs. Lee was not only a huge factor in paving the way for the forensic science but was also a huge support of women's rights.  The ideas that she fought for and against at the time a male dominated culture are amazing.  Mrs. Lee was a force to be reckoned with and succeed in getting almost everything she wanted.  Today's world of unexplained deaths and homicides could still learn a lesson or two from this book.  This was a very informative and hard to put down book.  There are many in today's criminal justice system that have Mrs. Lee to thank for the training and procedures they not receive for their job. It is also sad to see that many of our academic establishments and government bodies still do not see the importance of the ideas that Mrs. Lee outlined.  For someone that has always had an interest in the fields of criminal justice and medicine this was a wonderful book that shows how they can work together for the  betterment of both fields.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed most of the book. It was well researched, and a fascinating portrait of a fierce and intelligent woman. For the rest, it was a history of the birth of modern forensics in the United States.

In many instances there was way too much detail and a bunch of extraneous information. Part of one chapter relates the events of a dinner at Frances Glessner Lee’s parents home where they entertained the Flonzaley Quartet. It goes so far as to describe who sat next to whom at the dinner table, which was completely irrelevant to the overall narrative.

In other instances, the narrative veers completely away from Frances Glessner Lee, and it takes some time for it to become apparent how these threads connect back to her.

The narrative a bit dry in places and I found myself skimming parts in the middle section, but ultimately everything is pulled together again in the last third of the book. I’m happy I read 18 Tiny Deaths, and I’d recommend it to anyone who is particularly interested in the history of forensics in the United States.
Was this review helpful?
What a fascinating book. I've long been interested in Francis Glessner Lee and this told me everything I wanted to know, and more.
Was this review helpful?
DNF'd this title at 17%. I work in forensic science and I had a hard time connecting with the story. Even at 17% I felt like the story was more about Lee's father than the woman herself. I do realize it could change significantly across the rest of the book but it just doesn't hold my attention.
Was this review helpful?
A fascinating true story! Really appreciate the nuances about class and gender about the reception of the doll houses in her era
Was this review helpful?
If you are a fan of CSI, you should pick up this book! It follows Frances Glessner Lee as she played a big role in modern forensics. I loved learning about the way she got involved and pushed the “legal medicine” forward. The beginning is slow but it picks up. She was a wealthy woman who used her money to benefit science. I have always loved doll house tropes in mysteries so it was wonderful to find out the origin of this technique started with Lee. I really enjoyed this!

I received a copy via Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
An informative book about a fascinating character that I knew nothing about.  Born into a wealthy Chicago family in 1878 Frances Glessner Lee e became a driving force in the development of the field of Legal Medicine, the precursor to modern forensics and pathology as used by polices forces around the world and popularised by a raft of television shows and movies. She is an unlikely patron of the subject, as was noted by many of the faculty and board of Harvard University where she endowed the first department dedicated to the topic, but was clearly very passionate, often becoming personally involved in the selection of staff and students. She also lent her practical skills to the subject, creating a series of dioramas recreating various death scenes, the 18 tiny deaths of the title, which were once used as practical teaching devices and are still carefully curated to this day. 
The blurb describes this book as extremely detailed and thoroughly researched, and this is definitely true, though in my opinion that is actually to the detriment of the book. There is far too much extraneous detail about Frances' parents and family history, with everything from the architecture of their homes to the subjects they studied described in painstaking detail.  It was simply unnecessary, a brief overview would have been sufficient. and would have made the book much more focused and less tedious. 
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
While interesting and informative, this book was not what I thought it would be. This biography was most definitely well researched but I felt as though it delved too much into other people and the money of Frances versus her contribution to Medical Law. I definitely learned a lot from reading this book, but I feel as though it would have been more powerful with more cases to show how this new field helped to grow and become so instrumental in solving crimes. 
Note: I was gifted a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This was a fascinating read.
It started off on the slower side for me with all Lee's background. (I even found her parents' home on Google Earth - beautiful building. I had to laugh at the one neighbour's complaint regarding the house - to me it looks as if his house is no longer there, but the house he hated still stands. Am pleased it was not demolished)
I found it so interesting that just one phrase that Magrath mentioned to Lee could spark such an interest for Lee.
She was fortunate to have access to great personal wealth to be able to achieve all she did.
I just wonder what she could have achieved in her lifetime if she was allowed to study further as her way of thinking was light years ahead of some "educated" men.
I found the book very well researched with detailed notes and references.
The author's connection to Lee and why felt he needed to write this book are well explained in the author's  note.
A nice touch was all the further reading and resources. Photographs are always a nice addition.
I initially wondered about the title - I thought at first it referred to the deaths of 18 babies, but that mystery was cleared up by the end of the book.
I really enjoyed this book.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me the chance to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
This is a fascinating story of the woman who changed crime solving in America. Truly an important book to read if you like history, shows like CSI, and true crime stories.

(I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest and original review.)
Was this review helpful?