Dateline: Boston, MA January 15, 2023 – Frances McNamara from Boston’s West End debuted her mystery novel “Molasses Murder in a Nutshell” in the “Nutshell Murder Mystery” collection Jan. 15, 2023 as part of Level Best Book’s Historia line. Set during the famous Boston molasses flood, the book introduces historical figures Frances Glessner Lee and Dr. George Magrath as fictional detectives.

“Molasses Murder in a Nutshell” is set in January 1919. A tank bursts in Boston’s North End, flooding the neighborhood with molasses. When a woman is found murdered in the wreckage, Frances Glessner Lee asks her old friend, medical examiner Dr. George Magrath to help exonerate a young serviceman. Frustrated by her lack of education and skills, she wants to clear the young man’s name and find the killer. Will creation of a miniature crime scene lead to the truth? It’s the best she can do.

The purpose of a forensic investigation is said to be ‘convict the guilty, clear the innocent, and find the truth in a nutshell.’”

This is the first in a series of fictional stories roughly based on the “Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death”. Over twenty miniature crime scenes were used from the 1940’s to the present to train police detectives. Set in the 1920’s these stories imagine Frances Glessner Lee working with Suffolk County Medical Examiner, Dr. George Magrath to learn about “legal medicine” as forensic science was known at the time. Working with Magrath provided the foundation for the miniatures for which Frances Glessner Lee has become known as the Mother of Forensic Science.

McNamara grew up in Boston where her father served as Police Commissioner for ten years. A retired librarian, she is author of 9 books in “The Emily Cabot Mysteries’ about a social activist in Chicago during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Praise for latest Emily Cabot novel:

“…The real-life characters mingle seamlessly with the fictional ones to capture the myriad contradictions of Chicago, from the dirty politicians and gangsters who run the city to the idealists, intellectuals, and revolutionaries who are committed to social change. This timely novel informs as much as it entertains.” Publishers Weekly starred review

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Name of Local Media Contact:  Frances McNamara

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