I usually find it hard to read my way through non-fiction in a few days. It takes time and mental investment to keep myself going even if I find the content inordinately interesting. This was probably one of the few books where I did not have to struggle. It was also a very fascinating character study.
The title, although attractive, does not really do justice to the content. The story spans the growth of Legal/forensic medicine in the US as well as the rise of Frances Glessner Lee and her family. It begins at the very beginning of how law and order started post-colonial times and the different aspects of it. The presentation was enough to have someone like me, who is very removed from the US or its legal system feel like the time invested in reading about it as time well spent. We can draw so much from the story. The impact of industrialization, and how people got wealthy, how some people used their wealth and perseverance of some who changed their worlds. I picked this book up because I saw a youtube video about the dioramas that were her crowning glory, and I was rewarded with a lot more than just information about it.
The lady in question is painted in so many shades by the author. She is not described as self-effacing in the sense that she had confidence in her thought process and used her mind to alternatively charm or use persuasive words to get her way. That said, she did not want the credit for achieving all the things she did. She has left a life long legacy in the country, and if she had had her way, people would not be talking about her at all! These contradictory stands were shown using letters written to and by and about her. All in all, I would highly recommend this to anyone with a passing interest in the history of forensics in the US (probably because of the miscellaneous TV shows), or just of pioneering women who fight against the odds and work long and hard at what they are good at to make a dent in history in general. The author has let his interest in the subject and the woman behind it shine through making for some fascinating reading.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my reading experience. The only bias I have is the inclination to binge-watch well done US crime shows.
I added this to #1 Memoir of #2020ReadNonFic Challenge