Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cruel and Unusual

My mother and I are reading a book in which someone was murdered by poisoned candy. Now that's just mean.

How many murder stories have you read in which the poison was stirred into something the victim drank, slipped into a condiment only the victim used--or a random victim would use, put into something the victim ate or a medicine the victim took? That's not even counting Mickey Finns (anybody else know what a Mickey Finn is?). There's something particularly evil about turning something that should be nourishing--or at least pleasant--and turning it into something deadly, something very Trojan Horse-y about watching your victim administer his/her own murder weapon.

You can even set the trap and be somewhere else with an iron-clad alibi when the deed comes to fruition.

But what if your intended victim doesn't feel hungry/thirsty and somebody else is killed by mistake? So many books and stories in which the detective or police run ragged looking for Mr. A's murderer, only to finally discover that the intended victim was Miss B and they have to start all over again. It makes for a nice confusion (if you're a reader or writer, not if you're a detective or investigating officer--or, come to that, if you're a victim).

And this is quite beside the murderous possibilities of just plain bad cooking....

2 comments:

zhadi said...

Killing someone with chocolate is never nice!

We did it, though, in one of our shows...it was funny 'cause the gal playing the victim had a box of chocolates and the other members of the audience wanted some and she kept swatting their hands away and saying no. And then she died...

Marian Allen said...

I hope I get to "see" everybody tonight. I have dial-up access at home, and it disconnects whenever it feels like it. So I may be there, drop out of sight, and pop back up. It used to be spooky in chat rooms....

Some time we ought to have an online murder mystery, like those mystery parties people have for charities. Or have a round-robin story or something.

Back on topic (I was off-topic? ME?), there's also murder by allergy--slipping somebody something you know triggers an allergy. Frank Parrish's Dan Mallett mystery, Sting of the Honeybee used that to great effect. I love those books! Dan Mallett is a poacher. I usually hate books in which a criminal is the hero, but Dan has an old Mum who needs a hip replacement and refuses to use the National Health, so he HAS to do what he can to get enough money for Mum's surgery, the dear boy.