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stuckupmyownera
09-13-2010, 02:47 PM
I need a poison that can bring my character to the point of serious illness and collapse within a couple of hours. It must be found in his house and unnoticable in wine, and the effects must be reversible with medical attention.

I was going for antifreeze all along, which seemed perfect, but now I've been told that it takes a bit longer - twelve hours or more.

So I started researching insecticides, but am finding it incredibly difficult to find any useful information. It seems all the really dangerous ones are banned these days. (My story's set in England.)

Plantstuffs would not really be suitable, since the garden's under a foot of snow.

I know, I know. I don't ask for much. :o

I don't suppose anyone knows of anything that would suit my scenario?

Maryn
09-13-2010, 05:41 PM
I don't have any specific suggestions, just knowledge that this problem has cropped up enough times that Writer's Digest Books has sold a great many copies of "Deadly Doses," which is all about poisons and how they act on the soon-to-be-deceased. See if you can get your hands on a copy. I'd be amazed if nobody at AW had purchased one.

Maryn, who didn't

Kathie Freeman
09-13-2010, 06:57 PM
Curse you, Maryn! So you're the one that's been chewing up my tomato plants. I will find you!!!

Cyia
09-13-2010, 08:31 PM
Anti-freeze wouldn't work; it has a distinct taste and scent, and it wouldn't mix well with wine because it's tinted. It would alter the color.

If it has to be put in wine, then you need something concentrated because you'll have to have enough liquid to dissolve it without residue, yet not dilute it enough to affect potency. Medications would be the easiest, but barring that, an arsenic based rat poison or nicotine based insecticide (nicotine is pretty potent, so it doesn't take much if the person's not a smoker. For a smoker, it takes a slightly higher amount).

And there's always the stand-by of mixing chlorine bleach with ammonia, which wouldn't go into wine, but could still poison someone with the fumes.

Maryn
09-13-2010, 08:43 PM
Curse you, Maryn! So you're the one that's been chewing up my tomato plants. I will find you!!!No, I only look like a tomato worm. I am actually a luna moth caterpillar--so there!

Maryn, avoiding yet another close call

stuckupmyownera
09-13-2010, 09:10 PM
Anti-freeze wouldn't work; it has a distinct taste and scent, and it wouldn't mix well with wine because it's tinted. It would alter the color.

The wine is red and being drunk from the bottle, so alterations to its appearance wouldn't matter. I have read that the taste of antifreeze is easily hidden in alcoholic drinks, but well... without having tried it... who knows?

Thanks all so far. Turns out you can read a majority of that Writers' Digest book online at Amazon, with the 'search inside' feature! I am still looking...

backslashbaby
09-13-2010, 09:36 PM
I don't know if they've changed this in the UK yet, but in the US our anti-freeze was changed fairly recently. They added something to make it taste awful. I don't know if that was because of its use in murders or that pets were drinking leaks from cars and dying.

PeterL
09-13-2010, 09:39 PM
The wine is red and being drunk from the bottle, so alterations to its appearance wouldn't matter. I have read that the taste of antifreeze is easily hidden in alcoholic drinks, but well... without having tried it... who knows?

Thanks all so far. Turns out you can read a majority of that Writers' Digest book online at Amazon, with the 'search inside' feature! I am still looking...

Antifreeze might get covered by a strong wine, but it is sweet, so you'd have to be careful. A cheap, sweet wine-like beverage might work, or you could try Port.

Someone mentioned nicotine, and that is a very powerful poison, but the taste and scent are quite distinctive. If you could get some in something that would be swallowed whole, then it might work.

Arsenic has the same problem as antifreeze; it is sweet, so you'd need to cover the flavor. Again strong, sweet wine might help. Unfortunately, it takes quite a bit of arsenic to kill.

blacbird
09-13-2010, 10:23 PM
I don't know if they've changed this in the UK yet, but in the US our anti-freeze was changed fairly recently. They added something to make it taste awful. I don't know if that was because of its use in murders or that pets were drinking leaks from cars and dying.

For both reasons, although I'm sure the incidence of accidental ingestion of antifreeze far exceeded its use in murders. There are some famous instances of antifreeze murders, however, notably:

http://law.rightpundits.com/?p=2191

Kenn
09-13-2010, 10:24 PM
I don't know if they've changed this in the UK yet, but in the US our anti-freeze was changed fairly recently. They added something to make it taste awful. I don't know if that was because of its use in murders or that pets were drinking leaks from cars and dying.
Believe it or not, I think you'll probably find it was because people were drinking it deliberately as a cheap form of alcohol. The treatment for anti-freeze poisoning is to drink alcohol, so it is not the best poison to use in a drink.

Weedkiller or rat poison are probably the most obvious ones.

Shakesbear
09-13-2010, 11:29 PM
Have you thought of food poisoning? See here for some info:
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Food-poisoning/Pages/Introduction.aspx

The incubation period for some types of food poisoning have are very short- about an hour.

quicklime
09-14-2010, 06:39 PM
The wine is red and being drunk from the bottle, so alterations to its appearance wouldn't matter. I have read that the taste of antifreeze is easily hidden in alcoholic drinks, but well... without having tried it... who knows?

Thanks all so far. Turns out you can read a majority of that Writers' Digest book online at Amazon, with the 'search inside' feature! I am still looking...


the problem with antifreeze is how it kills. it damages the kidneys, and this takes a bit of time. worse, the kidneys are something you can do without for a good long while--not weeks, but days.

methanol would be good, but you'd do better with it in something stronger--it tastes "alcoholy", takes a shot or more to kill, especially if with ethanol. on the other hand, it kills fast. ricin could be extracted but would kill slowly. depressants work very well with alcohol, but there's almost always a very distinct taste. pesticides in a drink? yuck....you'll notice. Tetrodotoxin is very poisonous, google it and see if any of the fish it is found in actually make their way to pet shops; it would be fairly simple, although gross, to buy a puffer and dissect it, then soak the liver in your wine or even mash a bit with a mortar and pestle and sink it in the wine, and I doubt a small bit of liver yould noticeably alter a cabernet or shiraz

quicklime
09-14-2010, 06:40 PM
otherwise, coumarin-based rat poison. takes very little, you bleed out

stuckupmyownera
09-15-2010, 02:07 PM
Thanks all. I'm thinking of going with isopropanol (rubbing alcohol, and found in various solvent cleaners). The Writers' Digest book reckons it'll do the trick and it's fairly common stuff. :)