Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Non Fiction, New Books, Non-Fiction

Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters Andrew Morton 4*#Review @OMaraBooks @andrewmortonUK @LoveBooksGroup @Lovebookstours #lovebookstours #ElizabethandMargaret

The first in-depth dual-biography of Elizabeth & Margaret, written by the bestselling royal biographer, Andrew Morton.

They were the closest of sisters and the best of friends.

But when, in a quixotic twist of fate, their uncle Edward VIII decided to abdicate the throne, the dynamic between Elizabeth and Margaret was dramatically altered. Forever more, Margaret would have to curtsey to the sister she called ‘Lillibet’. And bow to her wishes.

Elizabeth would always look upon her younger sister’s antics with a kind of stoical amusement but Margaret’s struggle to find a place and position inside the royal system – and her fraught relationship with its expectations – was often a source of tension. Famously, the Queen had to inform Margaret that the Church and government would not countenance her marrying a divorcee, Group Captain Peter Townsend, forcing Margaret to choose between keeping her title and royal allowances or her divorcee lover.

From the idyll of their cloistered early life, through their hidden wartime lives, into the divergent paths they took following their father’s death and Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne, this book explores their relationship over the years. Andrew Morton, renowned bestselling author of Diana: Her True Story, offers unique insight into these two drastically different sisters – one resigned to duty and responsibility, the other resistant to it – and the lasting impact they have had on the Crown, the royal family and the way it has adapted to the changing mores of the twentieth century.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from O’Mara Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a fascinating insight into the Windsor sisters life and relationships.

It is extensively researched and peppered with anecdotal and historical details. The sense of duty expected from the royal princesses is evident throughout this biography. The writing style is intimate, and immersive drawing the reader into the Royal world at a time of constitutional crisis and change.

The book is both entertaining and informative. There are scandalous elements, although these are quite sedate when compared with twenty-first-century scandals. The enormity of becoming Queen at such a young age comes across well in this book.

This is an enjoyable, insightful read with some lovely images to illustrate the text.

ANDREW MORTON is one of the world’s best-known biographers and a leading authority on modern celebrity. His groundbreaking 1992 biography revealed the secret world of Princess Diana, prompting Tina Brown to declare in The Diana Chronicles, “The journalist Morton most reminds me of is Bob Woodward.” Diana: Her True Story became a #1 New York Times bestseller, as did Monica’s Story, Morton’s portrait of the young woman behind the blue dress in the Clinton White House.

The winner of numerous awards, including Author of the Year by the British Book Awards and Scoop of the Year by the London Press Club, he lives in London and has travelled extensively in the U.S., Canada, and Europe in his research for this biography.

Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Non-Fiction

18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics Bruce Goldfarb 3*#Review @bruce_goldfarb @Octopus_Books #18TinyDeaths #ForensicScience #Biography #nonfiction #RandomThingsTours @annecater

For most of human history, sudden and unexpected deaths of a suspicious nature, when they were investigated at all, were examined by lay persons without any formal training. People often got away with murder. Modern forensic investigation originates with Frances Glessner Lee – a pivotal figure in police science.

Frances Glessner Lee (1878-1962), born a socialite to a wealthy and influential Chicago family, was never meant to have a career, let alone one steeped in death and depravity. Yet she became the mother of modern forensics and was instrumental in elevating homicide investigation to a scientific discipline.

Frances Glessner Lee learned forensic science under the tutelage of pioneering medical examiner Magrath – he told her about his cases, gave her access to the autopsy room to observe post-mortems and taught her about poisons and patterns of injury. A voracious reader too, Lee acquired and read books on criminology and forensic science – eventually establishing the largest library of legal medicine.

Lee went on to create The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death – a series of dollhouse-sized crime scene dioramas depicting the facts of actual cases in exquisitely detailed miniature – and perhaps the thing she is most famous for. Celebrated by artists, miniaturists and scientists, the Nutshell Studies are a singularly unusual collection. They were first used as a teaching tool in homicide seminars at Harvard Medical School in the 1930s, and then in 1945 the homicide seminar for police detectives that is the longest-running and still the highest-regarded training of its kind in America. Both of which were established by the pioneering Lee.

In 18 Tiny Deaths, Bruce Goldfarb weaves Lee’s remarkable story with the advances in forensics made in her lifetime to tell the tale of the birth of modern forensics.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Octopus Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This biography explores significant forensic science developments and Frances Glessner Lee’s role in them. Focusing predominately on North American forensic science, the book sets the scene by highlighting defects of the legal-medico and Coroner’s system, before the development of modern forensic science.

Details of Frances Glessner Lee’s ancestry, upbringing and life, show how remarkable her legacy is, at a time when women were sidelined by society. This is a biography of a notable woman, interwoven with developments in forensic science. For those who enjoy historical biographies, her life is intrinsically interesting. Frances’ interest in making miniature figures and pieces is documented, something which she later used for teaching purposes in forensic science.

Early developments in forensic science and crimes and the development of the medical examiner role and autopsy are explored through case studies and historical characters. Lee’s role in developing a department of legal medicine is documented in detail. As are the model scenes she creates, these are illustrated.

This is a factual, interesting biography, which will appeal to those, interested in the origins of, and players in, forensic science in North America.

Bruce Goldfarb

Bruce Goldfarb is the executive assistant to the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland, US, where the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death are housed. He gives conducted tours of the facility and is also a trained forensic investigator. He began his career as a paramedic before working as a journalist, reporting on medicine, science and health.

He collaborated with Susan Marks – the documentary filmmaker who produced the 2012 film about Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshells titled Of Dolls and Murder.