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View Full Version : Writing a mystery novel: NEED the most CREATIVE way to kill the victim



Melancholia
03-10-2011, 06:38 PM
Hey all,

Currently I am experiencing a form of writer's block. One where I can still write, but everything I think of is pretty mainstream and unoriginal.

Right now, I need to find a way to kill the victim BRILLIANTLY (because the murderer is a genius), in an English manor set in the Victorian era, 1887. No high tech gizmos, no need for autopsies and fingerprinting and such...think of how Jack the Ripper managed to never be caught by the British police.

I'm not really planning to take ideas, I just need people to give me their most CREATIVE way of killing someone in the setting I set just to get my imagination flowing again.

Thanks in advance guys!

lbender
03-10-2011, 09:16 PM
1) Crossbow bolt in the throat - through the window at night.
2) 8 inch blade shooting up from his favorite chair in response to pressure.
3) Some type of poison - arsenic, maybe - in his favorite port, given as an anonymous gift.

alleycat
03-10-2011, 09:21 PM
A poison book. The victim is one of those people who wet their finger before turning a page. The clever murderer puts an invisible poison on the pages of the book. The victim literally reads himself to death.

WriteKnight
03-10-2011, 09:28 PM
The most creative murders, are those that look like accidents. No one goes looking for the murderer.

So - what sort of 'accidents' are likely to befall a Victorian Gentleman?

Pyekett
03-10-2011, 09:39 PM
Edit: to combine all three posts above with due credit:

The safety bicycle came out in 1885, and cycling was a popular hobby as well as a way to travel. Poison the handlebars (use a wood for handlebars that releases an oil?) so that as he sweats, he triggers the absorption of the poison through the palms of his hands.

Chase
03-10-2011, 10:53 PM
The crossbow and spring-knife, poison administered a dozen crafty ways, murder by bicycle--all delicious murders.

Contriving a fatal accident is also exciting in planning and execution (sorry).

However, I think the most creative and diabolical murder plot is to plant and nurture the idea in the minds of the victim, friends, and associates that the victim is suicidal. Then from afar, carefully drive the victim to want to leap from a bridge or high window, take a hot bath with a razor, step off a chair after tying a rope to a rafter.

It's been done, but not to death (sorry again).

Smish
03-10-2011, 10:59 PM
The victim literally reads himself to death.

That's how I want to go. :D

cbenoi1
03-10-2011, 11:07 PM
> I need to find a way to kill the victim BRILLIANTLY

Who said you actually had to KILL the victim? Domoic acid does a nice job at removing the person from the body without any need for murder.

-cb

Torgo
03-11-2011, 12:55 AM
Nicotine in their denture adhesive.

crunchyblanket
03-11-2011, 12:57 AM
Poisoned ice cubes. The poison is released into the drink as the ice melts.

MeretSeger
03-11-2011, 01:18 AM
Keep it simple. The guy was clearly murdered, but Genius set somebody else up so well, its hard to see around it. Hell, Genius could have two enemies, kills one and sets up the other.

If I were a genius...

Karen Junker
03-11-2011, 01:22 AM
I vote for binary toxins.

lbender
03-11-2011, 01:44 AM
I vote for binary toxins.


Don't binary toxins kill computers? http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon7.gif

Torgo
03-11-2011, 02:08 AM
Sneakiest murder method I've seen in a mystery was John Dickson Carr's Case of the Constant Suicides. I won't spoil it, but if it works it's brilliantly devious and leaves no trace. (It's pretty specific to the scene of the crime, is the only downside.)

OneWriter
03-11-2011, 02:36 AM
A poison book. The victim is one of those people who wet their finger before turning a page. The clever murderer puts an invisible poison on the pages of the book. The victim literally reads himself to death.

Now, that's CLEVER. And it's not a chance that the one who came up with it is Umberto Eco, one of our modern literature geniuses.... :D

Drachen Jager
03-11-2011, 02:36 AM
A poison book. The victim is one of those people who wet their finger before turning a page. The clever murderer puts an invisible poison on the pages of the book. The victim literally reads himself to death.

It's been done, see, "In the Name of the Rose"


Solder his tea-kettle shut so when he places it on the fire for his evening tea the thing explodes.

Toilets in those days had the water tank on the ceiling. Have it rigged so pulling the chain drops the tank on the user's head.

Remove all the safeties on his steam-powered car's boiler so it explodes.

ULTRAGOTHA
03-11-2011, 03:12 AM
Can you tell us a bit more about your victim?

Male or female?
Healthy or ill?
Lives in the manor or is visiting?
Servant or master?
Has a valet/maid or not?
Interacts with the murderer a lot or not so much?

SirOtter
03-11-2011, 03:45 AM
Now, that's CLEVER. And it's not a chance that the one who came up with it is Umberto Eco, one of our modern literature geniuses.... :D

Not necessarily. It was used in an episode of TV show The Adventures of Ellery Queen, four years before In the Name of the Rose was published in Italy. Whether or not Eco wrote that bit before or after 1976, I have no idea (books do take some time to get written down, sometimes years), but the method was broadcast on American TV earlier.

Melancholia
03-11-2011, 03:46 AM
Wow guys, thanks a lot! This is really getting my imagination kickin into high gear!

To ULTRAGOTHA:
The victims is male (what a great observation you have, surely the gender should be considered!). He lives in the manor, actually he's the heir of the estate. There are 8 main characters in the murder mystery and they all have a motive for killing him (think of the board game clue if you've ever played it), so yes he's lived in the manor all his life. He's too cautious to have a personal valet or maid. One more thing, the killer is almost as brilliant as the murderer. He knows he's on everyone's blacklist and that everyone wants to kill him.

The murderer on the other hand, is actually someone that doesn't live in the manor. So there's not much interaction, thus he actually fails to think that the murderer has motive for killing him.

Hope that helps!

RIFF
03-11-2011, 04:14 AM
Lessee... in Victorian times, there was no fear of fingerprints or other clever detective stuff... so realistically, simply shooting the guy through a window, maybe with a blowgun if silence matters, and running away, would be the most believable.
A clever way... might be a good old exploding package, mail bomb, or a tripwire booby-trap somewhere on the grounds.

froley
03-11-2011, 11:15 AM
Get a sharpish block of ice and stab the victim through the heart/neck/whatever. Ice melts, no murder weapon.

Otherwise, have you seen Se7en? Something memorable along the lines of those murders could be up your alley.

Nick Blaze
03-11-2011, 11:19 AM
Convince the person that suicide is the only way to save somebody/something/themself and have them do so. Perhaps have them do so in the most painful way imaginable: slicing open one's gut and then trying to remove one's intestines. I think they'd faint doing that, though.

GregS
03-11-2011, 11:55 AM
Rig a carriage on pulleys above a doorway, drop it on the victim, then relocate the body to a busy road so it looks like they got run over.

dpaterso
03-11-2011, 01:11 PM
An unfortunate accident involving a falling crystal chandelier, possibly at the dinner table, where the smug victim is playing it ultra-safe by avoiding using the silverware, not eating the food, not drinking the port, etc. in front of his watching guests.

-Derek

ULTRAGOTHA
03-11-2011, 07:56 PM
The victims is male (what a great observation you have, surely the gender should be considered!). He lives in the manor, actually he's the heir of the estate.

There are 8 main characters in the murder mystery and they all have a motive for killing him (think of the board game clue if you've ever played it), so yes he's lived in the manor all his life. He's too cautious to have a personal valet or maid. One more thing, the killer is almost as brilliant as the murderer. He knows he's on everyone's blacklist and that everyone wants to kill him.

The murderer on the other hand, is actually someone that doesn't live in the manor. So there's not much interaction, thus he actually fails to think that the murderer has motive for killing him.

Hope that helps!

The killer is a different person than the murderer? Or did I read that wrong? Or did you mean victim and murderer?

Why too cautious for a valet? If he's heir to a large estate in the late Victorian age a valet would be very commonplace. Getting dressed back then was more cumbersome than today and clothes were changed often during the day at that level of society. Not to mention all the other activities a valet performs that have nothing to do with dressing his master. Who irons his shirts, brushes his clothing and tidys his rooms? He buys his own underwear and socks? Not having a valet would be odd.


The common country activities of an heir to a manor at that time would be
Riding his horse
Driving his carriage
Fishing
Shooting
Hunting
Walks around his property
Meetings with his steward
Meetings with tenants
Church on Sundays
Is he married? If not then he'd have to have meetings with his housekeeper and other staff as well.

You could have the manor be in or near some lovely, rock strewn fishing stream and your murderer happens upon the victim and shoves him down a steep bank strewn with rocks. (Yes, a la Five Red Herrings, you'd have to work to make it not resonate with Dorothy L. Sayers.) This would work for a murderer not living in the house. Shove him off a bridge into a river? Shove him over a cliff into the sea?

If your murderer doesn't live in the house then he's going to have to kill your victim outside. Carriage wrecks were common. Startle his horses, tip him into a ditch, then bash his head in with a rock? Victim could be known to drive down this isolated bit of road fairly regularly and murderer comes up with an ambush.

Or murderer could happen by when the horses shy and instead of helping the victim straighten the harness and haul the carriage wheel out of the ditch, he bashes him with a rock, drops the rock along side the road and puts victim's head against it. (I'm thinking a curicle or something light, not a coach. He probably wouldn't be driving a coach around the countryside anyway.) Devil of a time proving he did it though unless you have a witness. And a witness would probably report it unless s/he felt it was good riddence and liked the murderer.

Rufus Coppertop
03-11-2011, 07:56 PM
Could he be eccentric enough to have a collection of medieval siege engines?

Might he be stupid enough or drunk enough to lie down in the sling of a trebuchet?

MeretSeger
03-14-2011, 02:01 AM
Could he be eccentric enough to have a collection of medieval siege engines?

Might he be stupid enough or drunk enough to lie down in the sling of a trebuchet?

heh, 'my, what a convenient hammock!'

DavidZahir
03-16-2011, 04:08 PM
Train a falcon to attack and kill your victim.
If your victim's twin died of a bee sting, hide a hive in their bed room.
Assuming the victim needs or will cut themselves with a specific instrument. Smear pitchblend on it.
Drop a chandelier on them.
Put them in a fiendishly complex maze and let them die of thirst.
Keep them awake for two weeks. That will kill anyone.
Train a monkey to find a way into a house, traverse to your victim's bedroom, then open a bag containing five black mamba snakes into their chamberpot.
Place a dozen or so chinerex fleckteri in their swimming pool. The stings of this South Pacific jellyfish are invariably fatal.
Blood transfusions began in the 1830s or 40s. Give your victim a transfusion from the twin of the person whose previous transfusion killed your victim's twin.
Drug your victim's food one night. As they sleep, transport them to an identical bed chamber to their own. However, when they open the door ten thousand rabid rats will pour into the room.
Masquerade as a dentist. Once your victim is under the ether, cut off their tongue and let them drown in their own blood.
Gag and tie up your victim to the clapper of gigantic cathedral bell late Saturday night.
Drive a wooden stake through their heart, cut off the head and stuff the mouth with garlic. Then leave a copy of Dracula in their hands as if they were reading it.
Kill them by throwing an ice boomarang, then allow the murder weapon to melt.
Cast your victim as the title character in Julius Caesar, then replace all the assassins' prop daggers with razor-sharp real ones, each one poisoned.

AmsterdamAssassin
03-16-2011, 07:10 PM
Have a large primate with a razor cut off his head and shove him in the chimney to hide him...