Model Killer: Giant Crimes & Tiny Cover-Ups is a morbid comedy centered on a disgruntled dollhouse maker turned investigator. Vivian Nutt builds dioramas of unsolved murders, only for it to be revealed that she is in fact, a serial killer.

Nothing is as it seems in the small town of Ripton Falls, where violence is on the rise. At a gala at the Institute of Crime, chief curator, Mavis Blumenthal unveils the Murderabilia Wing. During her tour, an intern discovers a mysterious package containing a dollhouse. A threatening letter leads to a series of flashbacks that show how Vivian, a middle aged woman in plastic comfort footwear and a fanny pack, transforms herself from lonely crafter to one of the most notorious killers of our time.

Photo: Marsian De Lellis

Business has been waning at Vivian’s shop, Little Miss Miniac’s Miniature Marvels, due to the dwindling use of handmade items and growing popularity of virtual media. In isolation, Vivian becomes addicted to detail (and adhesive fumes). Her only reprieve is Gacy, a chatty service-parrot, who repeats her vaguely homicidal idiomatic comments. Just as Vivian is forced to close shop, she spots an ad for a police crime lab that’s hiring a model maker. She scores an interview.

A series of accidents with annoying people foreshadows Vivian’s transformation from lonely crafter to blood thirsty serial killer. During a refund, Vivian slices the hand of an entitled customer with a crisp bill. On the way to the interview, her van collides with a bicyclist who takes up too much space. After the interview Vivian unknowingly opens the door onto the Human Resources Director, Joyce Brady, fatally knocking her down a stairwell. Vivian and Sheena, a troubled secretary, Joyce belittled, conspire to cover up Joyce’s death and supplant her at the crime lab where she wasn’t very popular in the first place.

While working on a model for Joyce’s death with alternative evidence, Vivian discovers that retail giant, Drafty Krafty, has discontinued her favorite adhesive. At a forced meeting, Vivian learns of the CEO’s secret plans to use his capital to push religious exemption laws. When he makes unwanted advances, Vivian bludgeons him with a box of tongue depressors. After stuffing his body into a latex suit and dumping it at a motel near Rubber Rendezvous (a convention for men who wear doll suits) Vivian builds another model to maintain her innocence.

Vivian’s ascent in power and realization that it’s easy to get away with murder awakens a blood lust that sets off a string of well-intentioned (though misguided) social justice killings. Her targets include a plastic surgeon who purposefully botches patients for psychosexual gratification, a hedge fund manager who rigs drug prices, and a tenure-thirsty adjunct professor who attempts to take down Vivian on LinkBook for nanoaggressions.

As Vivian’s crime-solving models garner attention, she becomes romantically entangled with a foreign business woman who happens to collect pieces of murder memorabilia. When the business woman discovers Vivian’s unconventional process she commissions new killings so she can buy the models.

Vivian’s targets grow ever larger in scale. When she stages a mass suicide of the reality show family behind Keeping Abreast of the Batmazians fame, Crime TV personality, Grace Shapiro, and Obit-Editorial writer, Trixie Ransom, become major impediments.

Vivian follows Shapiro and Ransom to the opening night gala at the West Ripton Falls Institute of Crime, where she hopes to perpetrate her largest crime to date – a mass killing of elite museum donors using deadly gas.

Trixi Ransom, photo: Marsian De Lellis