Our fascination with murder is enduring. True crime is one of the most popular podcast categories, and police procedurals are bigger business than ever: The CSI franchise alone has an estimated audience of two billion people. But it’s not everywhere you find depictions of ghastly murders that could also be described as twee. In 1940s America, however, Frances Glessner Lee achieved this feat by rendering crime scenes in adorable dollhouse miniatures. Glessner Lee, born wealthy in Chicago in 1878, was a strange girl. At age four, she allegedly told her mother that she “had no company but my doll baby and my God.” In addition to typically feminine pursuits like dolls and sewing, she was fascinated by medical texts and Sherlock Holmes. Forbidden to go to school by her father, she was adrift for decades until the rest of her family died, leaving her with the family fortune. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Three Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 49 Cult Rooms The history—and future—of Luna Luna Park. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Cult Rooms How California’s empty swimming pools changed youth culture. Arts & Culture Issue 44 Cult Rooms Jaipur’s Jantar Mantar is an otherworldly playground designed for celestial gazing. Arts & Culture Issue 42 Cult Rooms In the foothills of the Alps, socialism, modernism and manufacturing came together in IVREA, Olivetti's remarkable “company town.” Arts & Culture Issue 41 CULT ROOMS Inside Alexander Calder’s studio, where chaos and kinetic art found a harmonious balance. Arts & Culture Issue 38 Cult Rooms Peter Smisek wallows in the glory of the bathhouse.