Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Murder Mystery

These posts seem to be a bit heavy lately, but I guess they will tend that way being a Coroner talking about death. But I wanted to write something to lighten up for a bit. As coincidence, serendipity or morphic fields would have it, I got a phone call. It was a local mystery writer who opened her conversation with “I have someone I need to kill today”.

I have gotten called by other writers as well (more than I would have guessed from Lake County). I have gotten procedural questions about death investigations, about Coroner policy and procedures, and about inquests. Most often, however, they want to know how to kill someone, so who better to call than your friendly neighborhood Coroner.

We discuss possibilities that fit in with the plot line and the story they are telling. What would be the right medicine or toxin to cause a death that might look natural or a toxin that would cause them to linger before dying as the story unfolds? What would a knife stuck in here injure to cause death? Fast or slow? The possibilities are nearly endless. If real people die from such a variety of causes with a different story behind them, the possibilities in fiction are legion. It is certainly a change in pace to have these discussions (alright I do enjoy them) and I do like a good mystery story.

But at the end of the call I get to thinking what if it isn’t a murder mystery writer or what if it is a murder mystery writer actually contemplating a real murder? That almost sounds like the premise for a mystery story itself…

1 comment:

Pam Meyers said...

Your post about the writer calling to ask how to kill someone gave me a chuckle. I am a writer who has already decided how to kill my victims--cyanide, ala the Tylenol murders of '82--but I am wondering about procedural sorts of things. Since my story is set in Lake Geneva (where I grew up) I guess I need to be in touch with the Walworth County coroner, assuming states differ sometimes. But then maybe not. I've heard of writer friends being stopped by the cops because a cop overheard them discussing how to kill someone in a restaurant. One woman probably would have been hauled off to jail if not for her ms. sitting on the seat beside her. Yep, we're a weird bunch sometimes, but if it weren't for helpful people like you we'd never get it right and then someone would be complaining about that. LOL.