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View Full Version : Need to kill someone. Expert suggestions?



VeggieChick
08-13-2005, 11:00 PM
Easy, you say. Well, no. The character in the book needs to die in an accident inside a house (specifically, a kitchen). She cannot die of natural causes (i.e. heart attack; unless heart attack is caused by accidental ingestion of some chemical substance).


BUT

(And here's the tricky part…)


The accident cannot leave any obvious marks in her body, so no slips where she hit her head on a table.

The other two characters who find the body need to question whether this was an accident or a murder. The whole premise of the book is set on this question. The characters are isolated, so nobody will come and check the body, which means it really doesn't matter how obvious the cause of death is to an expert; it just has to look confusing to regular people.

So, maybe she can ingest something by accident?

Any chemists in this list that can suggest a substance that reacts when mixed with another by accident?

Any doctors that can suggest something?

Anybody?

PVish
08-14-2005, 12:15 AM
I've always heard you shouldn't mix bleach and ammonia because inhaling the fumes can be fatal. Maybe she had a stuborn stain in the sink and decided when one of those substances didn't work, that mixing the two might. Before she passed out, she pulled the plug and the evidence went down the drain.

Or maybe, she had a glass of water sitting on the sink. Beside it, in an identical glass, she had a toxic cleaning substance. She took a quick gulp.

Or maybe someone sent her a bouquet of helium balloons. Or she picked up a couple to give her kids/grandkids or she bought some to use as decoration. I read (somewhere on the Internet) that inhaling the helium from three average balloons causes death because it displaces the oxygen. She's heard that you can talk funny if you inhale helium, so she gives it a try. OK, maybe this one is a bit far-fetched.

A pathologist I used to know once told about a puzzling case of a young girl who died suddenly without a mark on her. When they removed her shoe, they found a wasp that had stung her on the bottom of her foot.

katiemac
08-14-2005, 01:28 AM
Gas leak on the stove?


By the way, I hope there aren't any killing experts here with personal experience...

Unique
08-14-2005, 01:43 AM
Mushrooms are my personal favorite. They're so versatile. You can put them on pizza, in spaghetti, on an omelet. So many choices! Even if a person doesn't like mushrooms, you can always dice them finely and put them in with, oh, say - nuts in cookies, herbs in soup....

:poke: Ok, I'll shut up now.

Tish Davidson
08-14-2005, 02:04 AM
Injection of insulin if she is not diabetic can to lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) coma and death. The injection would leave a mark, but it would not necessarily be obvious to non-professionals. Search on insulin overdose on the Web for some news stories and hypoglycemia for symptoms.



Botulism toxin, a type of food posioning. Takes 12-36 hours to work. Often fatal. Botulism toxin is also considered a potential biological weapon.

scfirenice
08-14-2005, 04:07 AM
How about arsenic poison by pressure treated wood. This was a big deal a few years ago. When people had extended exposure to treated wood and didn't use gloves, they had very high levels of arsenic. They have changed the formula but she cold have had some old wood lying around, used it to build something she contacted everyday, or otherwise had the expose to this wood and died. There would be clinical signs, but nothing a lay person would be able to verify.

Cabinscribe
08-14-2005, 04:15 AM
Castor beans.

I'm not sure how she would ingest them accidentally, though.

scfirenice
08-14-2005, 04:33 AM
Foxglove, beautiful flower, but is used to make digitalis/ digoxin which is a powerful heart medicine and can kill you if you. She could make a nice tea, thinking it is another tea worthy plant...yummy.

D.J.
08-14-2005, 04:42 AM
She could have severe allergies and from cross contamination of something she ingested could give her anaphalactic shock. The villian could cook something together and take out the one thing she was allergic to before it was served or left for her consumption. I have lots of severe allergies. I had a reaction once at a nice steak place from them cooking my vegetables with tomatoes and mushrooms on the grill but then they served it without those two things that I'm allergic to on my plate. After talking with the chef we found out what had happened. There doesn't have to be much outward swelling for the throat to close off. Little bits of allergen can cause spasms in just the throat that can be deadly. Somehow the villian can keep the epipens out of reach, or damaged, etc.
Or a rare disease such as Hereditary Angioedema. What makes this different from regular angiodedema (which is swelling from an allergic reaction) is this comes from unkown cause. It can be stress induced and the throat can just shut off without outward sign. Stress and fright could be triggers. Sobbing can trigger it also.
Also there is a theory about "Vocal Cord Dysfunction" which in theory can cause the vocal cord to shut irregularly and cause it to block air passage. After one passes out it is something that supposedly relaxes and and the person can regain normal breathing but in some rare cases it does not release. There are breathing exercises to help control this but the killer could see they aren't able to perform these.
Check online and you can find lots of info.

Unique
08-14-2005, 04:56 AM
Castor beans.

I'm not sure how she would ingest them accidentally, though.

I heard a tale of children dying from Castor beans. The beans were strung as beads for a necklace & the kids were 'chewing' on them. Remember those candy necklaces? These kids were just playing around, putting the necklaces in their mouths and they died from it.

(Don't ask me why the parents let the kids make necklaces out of them. It doesn't make sense to me; maybe it's a cultural thing. It happened overseas. In the Phillipines, I think.) ?

PVish
08-14-2005, 05:07 AM
From the true urban legends on Snopes.com:

Dust-Off!
http://www.snopes.com/toxins/dustoff.asp

Foods that contain cyanide--cassava root seems likely
http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/apples.asp

Had she been taking a cold remedy that caused a stroke?
http://www.snopes.com/medical/drugs/ppa.asp

Ara
12-27-2005, 11:56 PM
"Any chemists in this list that can suggest a substance that reacts when mixed with another by accident? "

Yes actually, I am a chemist and doing research on a paper in college if you mix some formulations of vitamins together they react to form a toxic compound. If I remember correctly Vitamin D and E, but it has to be the correct formulation of the compound into its vitamin form. I could be wrong about the E but I know it had D in it. I am sure you can look it up.

Ara

Ara
12-27-2005, 11:57 PM
Also White Oleander is a deadly poison and is can be made into a tea.

reni
12-28-2005, 01:13 AM
If she's a farm wife, or lives in the country in proximity to cattle, there's a very powerful cattle antibiotic called Mitoxin (I think) which is extremely deadly to humans. If it comes in contact with the skin, it will absorb into the body and kill the person. Your villain could dip into a neighboring barn, don some gloves, grab some of the medication, and put it on a convenient surface--car door, front door, kitchen table--where the woman would come into contact with it. You'd have to double check the name of the medication, and the physical symptoms of the poisoning, but I've always thought this would be a very neat way to kill someone (in a book, of course).

Haggis
12-28-2005, 01:47 AM
Perhaps you could have her try some of my cooking. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

TwentyFour
12-28-2005, 03:32 AM
There is a fish that you can eat the oil from and it will give you a heart attack. I'm not sure on the name of the fish.

scarletpeaches
12-28-2005, 03:33 AM
What about having her die of fright?

Writer2011
12-28-2005, 03:40 AM
Cyanide seems to do the trick too :)

Jenny
12-28-2005, 05:22 AM
Maybe this one only works if you're a bit scared of heights, like me.

The kitchen's old. Tall ceilings. Woman wants something on the top shelf of pantry/cupboard. Climbs up stepladder, or the shelves themselves (did this as child). Reaches top shelf, screams, recoils, falls. Skull is thinner than normal. Cracks on landing. Dies.

Not a very efficient method of murder except that the murderer had actually laid a trap on the top shelf. If woman had lived long enough to reach for the weird spice/oil/cooking pan, her hand would have brushed against a needle coated with an obscure poison. It would have pricked her skin and she'd have died. Instead, woman saw the corpse of mouse that had already tasted poison, and hence the scream, recoil, death.

The scenario sounds pretty lame, but I'm fascinated by the idea of a character plotting murder, and then the murder not taking place because the intended victim dies. Would the would-be murderer still feel the guilt of actual murder since the victim died?

To actually answer the original question - electricity. There was an episode on CSI that showed it was possible for the person to not look like they'd been shocked to death.

triceretops
12-28-2005, 05:35 AM
The bite on the inside of the heel from a brown recluse spider.

Tri

smallthunder
12-28-2005, 06:13 AM
Deliberate caffeine poisoning?

[Yes, folks, you can overdose on caffeine and die --and it does happen.]

Perhaps slipping pure caffeine (or large amount of heavy-duty NoDoze) into the victim's coffee -- I am afraid I don't know what the lethal dosage would be, but it would be dependent on the sensitivity and body-weight of the victim, in any case.

Ara
12-28-2005, 06:19 AM
Deliberate caffeine poisoning?

[Yes, folks, you can overdose on caffeine and die --and it does happen.]

Perhaps slipping pure caffeine (or large amount of heavy-duty NoDoze) into the victim's coffee -- I am afraid I don't know what the lethal dosage would be, but it would be dependent on the sensitivity and body-weight of the victim, in any case.
"A high intake of caffeine at once can cause caffeine-induced mental disorder. The symptoms include restlessness, nervousness, excitement, insomnia, stomach upset, muscle twitching, incoherent speech, heart palpitations and excessive alertness.

In most cases an overdose of caffeine will not kill you. However, it can be fatal. A lethal dose is estimated at 10 grams. However, a toxic dose will vary from person to person." as found on http://www.medic8.com/healthguide/articles/caffeine.html.

Sounds very unpleasant!

DaveKuzminski
12-28-2005, 07:15 AM
The fish is the fugu fish. It's served in restaurants in Japan by expert chefs. Even so, an antidote is commonly kept available since it takes only a slight miscalculation to release the toxin.

You can lethally overdose on water and numerous other ordinary non-lethal ingestibles.

My own experience, however, is with rifles, guns, knives, grenades, tanks, and improvised explosives. Mostly within the military in combat, but you want stuff that doesn't leave a mark, so I doubt that I have much more I can offer.

smallthunder
12-28-2005, 08:24 AM
"A high intake of caffeine at once can cause caffeine-induced mental disorder. The symptoms include restlessness, nervousness, excitement, insomnia, stomach upset, muscle twitching, incoherent speech, heart palpitations and excessive alertness.

In most cases an overdose of caffeine will not kill you. However, it can be fatal. A lethal dose is estimated at 10 grams. However, a toxic dose will vary from person to person." as found on http://www.medic8.com/healthguide/articles/caffeine.html.

Sounds very unpleasant!

Thanks for providing the details on dosage -- one of the reasons why I think caffeine would make a good poison for a murder-without-a-trace is that it doesn't necessarily cause vomiting (please correct me if I'm wrong, Ara) and can appear to be a household accident (as opposed to, say, fugu poisoning outside of Japan).

VeggieChick
12-28-2005, 08:58 AM
Hello and thank you for the amazing responses. Just to clarify, the character dies in an accident. She's NOT murdered. The other characters THINK she was murdered, and that's why I need a cause of death that may work either way. A few more details that may help –She's the owner of a Bed & Breakfast in the mountains, and she's in the kitchen preparing food for the guests when she dies. She's found the next morning by another character. Some of the suggestions here would be great if she was actually murdered, but I'm trying to figure out a way that she can die BY ACCIDENT. Thank you so much!

DaveKuzminski
12-28-2005, 06:03 PM
Mushrooms, definitely mushrooms.

Ara
12-28-2005, 06:12 PM
Definetely mushrooms! There is a type in grows in the mountains that look like little tiny christmas trees, my fam calls them molly muchers, and there is a look a like that is deadly! I will ask what the real name is.

Mushrooms, definitely mushrooms.

As for the vomiting with caffeine.... Not sure but the incoherent speech really intrigues me! hee hee hee

CaitlinK18
12-28-2005, 11:07 PM
I'd suggest either mushrooms or a poisonous herb like belladonna that could have been accidentially mixed into the cooking. Accidental poisoning seems the most logical to me.

Electrical shock is also possible...victims that die from electrocution often have no exterior markings on their bodies--their internal organs fail and that causes death. Burns usually only occur with huge jolts, like being struck by lightning or tangled in power lines. If you licked a regular 220-volt socket, most likely your heart would simply seize up and stop without any burning or disfiguring of the exterior skin.

Hope that helps!

TwentyFour
12-28-2005, 11:33 PM
I still think the fish would be a good idea..she could have made it wrong and died from the poison and ppl would thinkshe was poisoned!

TwentyFour
12-28-2005, 11:37 PM
With electricity you will have dark nails too..sometimes you may have bleeding in eyes, nose, and ears...sometimes you will use the bathroom in your pants...my fiance is epileptic and he can have these from his bleeding migrains that cause him to have a seizure. You can bleed from ears and nose with migraines and when having a seizure you will sometimes use the bathroom on yourself. If he got electicuted I might think he died of a seizure and stopped breathing..?

CaitlinK18
12-28-2005, 11:47 PM
With electricity it depends on how good a shape your heart is in--if you've got a strong heart it takes a bigger jolt to kill you. People who have been struck by lightning have gone up to 14 days and then keeled over from the cumulative trauma to their internal organs. In any case, the (slightly gross) truth is that we often release our bowels upon death. How long has she been dead when they find her? May we should break out the decomp into another thread...

Ara
12-29-2005, 12:13 AM
http://z.about.com/d/homecooking/1/0/z/6/morel1.gifMorel (black morel): A relative of the highly-prized truffle; tan to dark-brown, cone-shaped, spongey; smoky, earthy, nutty flavor; expensive and also available canned and dried. The darker the mushroom, the more pronounced is the flavor. This mushroom must be cleaned well when fresh due to its dimpled head. Here is the mushroom.....and its forbidden brother the the False Morel (Gyromitra esculenta) which lacks the symetrical pattern and 'pits' on the cap. Beware: The false morel, if eaten, can cause death!

Yikes!

EyesClosed
12-29-2005, 08:16 AM
Not sure if someone's suggested this already, but perhaps she could simply choke on something?

smallthunder
12-30-2005, 04:17 AM
Hmmm ... choking is an idea ... but wouldn't the victim's face turn blue, bug-eyed? Of course, such a visage might suggest that the victim was murdered by poison ... which would be misleading ... and isn't that what you want, at first glance?

TwentyFour
12-30-2005, 10:52 AM
http://z.about.com/d/homecooking/1/0/z/6/morel1.gifMorel (black morel): A relative of the highly-prized truffle; tan to dark-brown, cone-shaped, spongey; smoky, earthy, nutty flavor; expensive and also available canned and dried. The darker the mushroom, the more pronounced is the flavor. This mushroom must be cleaned well when fresh due to its dimpled head. Here is the mushroom.....and its forbidden brother the the False Morel (Gyromitra esculenta) which lacks the symetrical pattern and 'pits' on the cap. Beware: The false morel, if eaten, can cause death!

Yikes!

HAHA we don't call that a morel here! It depends on the location because where I live they are "Hickory Chickens"

TwentyFour
12-30-2005, 10:52 AM
If you choke your eyes can have tiny blood vessels burst. If you sneeze or cough to hard can also cause that!

Jewel101
01-03-2006, 06:50 AM
how about perscription medicines. There's alot you can do there. given the wrong perscription by an old pharmisist. I like this: a guest leaves medicine in kitchen. Woman takes it thinking it was hers. heart failure due to wrong type and/or dosage. Some people can't intake certain medicines because it would cause just that. Sometimes, it takes some time to reaction (about 30 minutes i think) so she can even put the medicine away so that it isn't obvious

smallthunder
01-03-2006, 12:42 PM
I think the prescription medication idea is novel (pun intentional, sorry!) -- very good.

Minister
01-03-2006, 08:39 PM
This one is rather nasty, but happened up in my area not too long ago. Turns out rat urine can be lethal. An individual took a drink from a soda can that had been stored in a rat infested area. The dried rat urine on the can's top killed her (I think it was a woman). The news people in the area made a big deal for a while about how you should wipe off the lid of any canned food or drink you are using. Like I said, it's nasty, but it could happen to just about anyone, anywhere.

VeggieChick
01-03-2006, 09:54 PM
how about perscription medicines. There's alot you can do there. given the wrong perscription by an old pharmisist. I like this: a guest leaves medicine in kitchen. Woman takes it thinking it was hers. heart failure due to wrong type and/or dosage. Some people can't intake certain medicines because it would cause just that. Sometimes, it takes some time to reaction (about 30 minutes i think) so she can even put the medicine away so that it isn't obvious
I love this idea. There's a character in the book (a guest at the b&b) that's a little bit of a hypochondriac. I could probably play up her obsession and make sure she has some dangerous medication with her.

Blaise Hartman
01-05-2006, 11:44 PM
I have a severe (like going to the hospital if it has peanut oil) allergy to nuts. Perhaps the character ate a blondie that was supposed to be nut free but the person who gave her the gift go the wrong batch. Happened to me at Christmas, the lights were so pretty... Hope this helps.

Paint
01-08-2006, 01:49 AM
I like this one:

her diamond ring fell in the garbage disposal, she grabbed for it and missed. Her sleeve caught in the blade. She bled to death. No one knew if it were accidental or her mean ex who had ...

Or a personal favorite:
Killed by a spear of ice, the weapon melts and dries.

and isn't there a virus you can get from cat litter? Is she pregnant?
unusual deaths in my area:
a boulder fell from a mountain and killed a fishing man in a stream below.
a guy was shredding a tree and his glove got caught in the- well, you know.
That CSI one on electricity was great!

DamaNegra
01-08-2006, 03:04 AM
Sometimes, when you're cooking and pressure builds up inside a pot, it explodes. It once did on my grandmother's house- total devastation. Someone could easily die if the pot exploded in one's face. One might thing it was a homemade bomb and thus that someone made it explode to kill her.

kybudman
01-09-2006, 05:10 AM
I'm really not sure I wanna be amongst this cadre of malcontents, but:
:)

How about she accidentally breaks a glass container of something or other she can't identify. sliver gets caught under her fingernail (she has the lovely nails, you see--she's vain about them!). Turns out it's rat poison and she, sadly, succombs to her own vanity and clumsiness...

With the proper polish, they wont see the bruise.

Just another (marginally sick) thought! :)

Bud

Cleveland W. Gibson
01-12-2006, 05:29 AM
What about a trail of red- herrings or false clues?

She,your character,has hypertension and also a liking for alcohol. On the day she dies ,however, the bottle of whisky is stood on the window ledge in the kitchen with a good measure poured into a glass(but it is untouched).
A discarded bandage lies on the floor with dried blood on it. Perhaps from an ulcer on the leg or a sports injury. When found she is slumped on a rowing machine. It is her day off.
Could it be heart-attack or hypertension? No foul play suspected but why were drugs in the cupboard? You decide.
The real cause of death could be choking on chewing- gum while on the rowing machine. All the other things are possible.
Hope it helps.

blacbird
01-13-2006, 12:32 AM
Mushrooms are my personal favorite. They're so versatile. You can put them on pizza, in spaghetti, on an omelet. So many choices! Even if a person doesn't like mushrooms, you can always dice them finely and put them in with, oh, say - nuts in cookies, herbs in soup....

:poke: Ok, I'll shut up now.

Ah, but mushrooms, even the worst of them, aren't quick. Amanita phalloides (the Death Cap), Amanita viriosa (the Destroying Angel) take anywhere from 12-24 hours before any symptoms show up, by which time it's generally too late, and the victim's kidneys and liver are irreparably damaged. Death ensues within another 1-2 days, usually.

There is an even nastier European species (Cortinarius orellanus) from which the symptoms might take as long as two weeks to manifest themselves, again by which time, it's too late to do anything.

So, for anyone else interested, I guess I'll post my avocational expertise in mycology.

caw.

Cleveland W. Gibson
01-21-2006, 02:13 AM
She's NOT murdered. The other characters THINK she was murdered, ...–She's owner of a Bed & Breakfast in the mountains, ...in the kitchen preparing food for the guests when she dies. .. found next morning by another character. .. death BY ACCIDENT. Thank you so much!

Set up several red herrings or clues.
A glass of whisky (untouched) in the window ledge and an opened bottle of whisky on the kitchen table.
On the floor of the hall a discarded pair of trainers and socks.
An exercise machine in the kitchen.
A shower running in the batchroom with the extractor fan switched on.
Pinned on the notice board an article about artificial sweetners and body fat.
An empty syringe in a plastic case and several clean needles.

The second character opens the door to the house. Comes in stepping over the clothing on the floo. That person calls out , hears the shower in the bathroom and goes into thekitchen. This person sees the woman owner of the B and B slumped over an exercise machine.No obvious cause of death. Death could be a blood pressure fault(hypertension) due to excessive weight, insulin dependence and the laps into bad drinking habits. After running and then doing more exercise it might have been enough to cause the person to die of hypertension.
It might work for you.
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