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Maythe
09-23-2013, 09:18 PM
I'm writing a short story in which a character poisons her odious husband. Divorce is so long winded don't you think?

I want her to poison him using a contact poison on scrabble tiles. Is this even possible? This is set in the real-world. Are there any such poisons? My current thinking is that she'll prevent herself absorbing the poison (or a lethal dose of it anyway) by painting her fingertips with clear nail varnish.

I know she could just cook him one final meal but that's not nearly as much fun!

cbenoi1
09-23-2013, 09:32 PM
http://www.amazon.com/HowDunit-Book-Poisons-Serita-Stevens/dp/158297456X

-cb

waylander
09-23-2013, 09:40 PM
Does he have a habit of sucking his fingers, chewing his nails or picking his nose?

Maythe
09-23-2013, 09:43 PM
Oh wow. Must buy! I think this is one for paper, not the electronic version for reasons of flippability. Now I have to resist the similar book on Forensics and one on Police Procedure that Amazon is bundling with it...

Maythe
09-23-2013, 09:44 PM
Ooh nose picking would be a fun option. This is a humorous murder, if that's not already obvious. He's a very sore loser and his wife has finally reached the end of her tether...

waylander
09-23-2013, 10:06 PM
Google 'thallium toxicity'

veinglory
09-23-2013, 10:13 PM
Cyanide in the form of 1080 which is used in pest animal control--this is rapidly absorbed through the skin and can kill in about an hour or longer depending on exposure.

Maythe
09-23-2013, 10:19 PM
Google 'thallium toxicity'
It sounds like a possibility. I could have her use Prussian Blue afterwards to purge any out of her own system (more research required). It does seem to take quite a long time and have fairly distinctive symptoms though.

Cyanide is tempting - that way she gets to watch his painful death throes. Assuming a fatal dose could be administered this way.

waylander
09-23-2013, 10:22 PM
The fatal dose of cyanide for an adult is something over half a gram - difficult to do by contact

Maythe
09-23-2013, 10:36 PM
Fatal dose of Thalium seems to be a gram. Maybe that's in one go and you could do it slowly. A few evenings of scrabble, some in the toothpaste, some in the whisky...

Huh. This isn't an easy or simple way to kill someone is it? (No shit, Sherlock!)

veinglory
09-23-2013, 10:36 PM
It might help if he had a weak heart, that might lower the required dose.

Maythe
09-23-2013, 10:52 PM
And maybe he could have a condition that causes hair loss so as to mask the Thallium related alopecia. Ha ha we're getting somewhere now.

Thanks everyone. This is just a chewy niblet I'll be sticking up on my blog later rather than something serious. :) Fun with writing - how to get the mojo back methinks.

Maythe
09-23-2013, 10:57 PM
Cyanide in the form of 1080 which is used in pest animal control--this is rapidly absorbed through the skin and can kill in about an hour or longer depending on exposure.


Ooh somehow I missed this earlier post until now. *Steeples fingers* Excellent... yes. Mwa ha ha.

Thanks Veinglory. :)

oakbark
09-23-2013, 11:23 PM
Try Dimethylmercury :e2faint:

King Neptune
09-23-2013, 11:47 PM
Dimethylmercury would take a long timee to do its work.

Bing Z
09-23-2013, 11:54 PM
Oh wow. Must buy! I think this is one for paper, not the electronic version for reasons of flippability. Now I have to resist the similar book on Forensics and one on Police Procedure that Amazon is bundling with it...

I have the Police Procedure & Investigation book. Don't recommend it. Too general & too generic. May help, though, if you're from the overseas writing US crime stories.

Jim Riley
09-24-2013, 12:40 AM
A combination of Xylazine and Telozol will have approximately the same effects as the date drug, GHB and are not usually part of the standard toxicology tests. Overdose (more than 6 cc's) will normally result in death.

Torgo
09-24-2013, 01:02 AM
There's a solvent called DMSO that turns poisons into contact poisons - it's sometimes used to help deliver drugs, like antifungals, apparently. And there are other liquid poisons that could be absorbed through the skin. I guess the trouble with anything like that is that you would notice surely notice damp or sticky tiles.

Dusty tiles, maybe not so much - you could get some kind of toxic dust on your fingers, then bite your nails, or something - but that seems uncertain and messy. The killer would get trace evidence everywhere and possibly endanger himself.

The self-endangerment point would hold for really nasty stuff like the insecticides/nerve toxins. I would not wish to attempt to poison someone with Sarin over a game of Scrabble.

I can't quite see this working with Scrabble tiles I'm afraid!

Nicotine is apparently a pretty good contact poison, but you'd want to find some kind of reason for a person to smear it on themselves unwittingly. I guess you could mix it in hand cream, or something. Poisoned anti-hairloss cures might be interesting too. If the victim is a heavy smoker, nicotine poisoning might plausibly be overlooked (in fiction - probably not in real life.)

snafu1056
09-24-2013, 11:43 AM
Did you ever hear of the hitman known as the "Iceman"? One of his favorite toys for a while was a cyanide aerosol spray that he would just spritz in his victim's faces, causing pretty immediate death.

Nivarion
09-24-2013, 08:42 PM
Did you ever hear of the hitman known as the "Iceman"? One of his favorite toys for a while was a cyanide aerosol spray that he would just spritz in his victim's faces, causing pretty immediate death.

I thought he was just a random serial killer. Would keep it in a nasal saline bottle and walk along with a fist full of tissue and that bottle and "sneeze" when he walked past people, squeeze the bottle and mist them.

Torgo
09-24-2013, 08:44 PM
I thought he was just a random serial killer. Would keep it in a nasal saline bottle and walk along with a fist full of tissue and that bottle and "sneeze" when he walked past people, squeeze the bottle and mist them.

No, he was avowedly a contract killer. I think opinion is divided as to how much of his claims are true.

I think the KGB used to use the old whiff-of-hydrogen-cyanide gag, too.

Maythe
09-24-2013, 10:01 PM
I have the Police Procedure & Investigation book. Don't recommend it. Too general & too generic. May help, though, if you're from the overseas writing US crime stories.
Thanks for the heads up but it wasn't the book from the same series but a UK based one. I remained strong and only ordered the poisons one in the end - one on traumatic wounds nearly grabbed me but MrK mentioned the possibility of buying Diablo 3 to strengthen my resolve. :P

Maythe
09-24-2013, 10:04 PM
There's a solvent called DMSO that turns poisons into contact poisons - it's sometimes used to help deliver drugs, like antifungals, apparently. And there are other liquid poisons that could be absorbed through the skin. I guess the trouble with anything like that is that you would notice surely notice damp or sticky tiles.

Dusty tiles, maybe not so much - you could get some kind of toxic dust on your fingers, then bite your nails, or something - but that seems uncertain and messy. The killer would get trace evidence everywhere and possibly endanger himself.

You have a point. :( I want her to do him in by the medium of a board or card game though, if at all possible.

A thought - in chess people often have a favourite colour. She could then only dose 'his' colour.

Maythe
09-24-2013, 10:07 PM
Try Dimethylmercury :e2faint:
Woah that sounds dangerous enough she'd no doubt find herself in the neighbouring coffin!

M J Austwick
09-24-2013, 10:14 PM
Strychnine can be absorbed through the skin.

Torgo
09-25-2013, 03:42 PM
Right, I've hauled "Deadly Doses" off the shelf (0-89879-371-8 - recommended) and flicked to the 'Poisons by method of administration: skin absorption" index.

Aniline is a dye used to make indigo, and it's not very good for you. It can be absorbed through the skin, has a toxicity of "5" in Deadly Doses (max 6), and messes with your haemoglobin. Your blood stops being able to transport oxygen, and your lips go blue, you get dizzy, fall unconscious, and die. It's fairly slow-acting (one to two hours to show symptoms.) On the downside, it apparently smells of rotting fish, and will show up fairly obviously in an autopsy, because your blood turns the colour of chocolate and you'll have red pinpricks all over your organs.

In the context of Scrabble, I'd fill a biro with some kind of blue aniline ink and get the victim to keep score. It'd help if the murderer had noted a tic in the victim of licking the tip of the biro to get it working, for example (and you could use that with a lot of other poisons.) Maybe they drive somewhere after the game and fall unconscious behind the wheel?

jkenton
09-29-2013, 08:06 AM
What are her resources? Does she have the money for exotics, or is she limited to things she can cook up herself?

quicklime
10-03-2013, 04:44 PM
Dimethylmercury would take a long timee to do its work.


forgot her name, but there was a researcher who dropped 2 drops no her hand. She wiped and scrubbed, and I believe even had nitrile gloves...but died very quickly. A few weeks or less, much of it in the hospital on life support. Shit, i wish i remembered her name, but i am too lazy to google it.

OP, you have a couple problems:

1. Thallium and bungarotoxin and any number of poisons may sound sexy....but you need to look at if it is at all possible your character might have or obtain them. My Wal-Mart just doesn't stock thallium. Or dimethylmercury. Or tetrodotoxin, curare, etc. A Bulgarian dissident was killed in London by an umbrella tip modified to shoot a pellet of ricin into his leg after an "accidental" poke in a crowd, but if your MC is a soccer-mom, or Larry from the local grocery, he probably doesn't have a lot of KGB engineers at his disposal.

2. Mech of action, intake, dose, etc. all matter....curare is deadly in a scratch, or injected, but you can eat the stuff....or smear it all over your unblemished body. Dimethylmercury goes through skin very readily. Digitalis is readily available, moderately toxic....but its toxicity is greatly elevated by certain other drugs. These things matter.


Your reader isn't likely to (generally) know all this stuff, but you should, and should use it to make the story as realistic as possible. The scrabble tiles, for example, sound poetically nice for a writer, sure, but that's a tiny tile, touched by both parties, etc...as opposed to a toothbrush, poisoning his coffee, etc. The more improbable it feels, the harder it tends to be to embrace. As noted, you may like the idea of game tiles, but reading it I'm inclined to look at the probability and start going "why didn't she just put it in his mashed potatoes? aaaah, because the writer wanted to be cute...." ymmv, for me that's, at a minimum, a venal sin.

King Neptune
10-03-2013, 09:57 PM
forgot her name, but there was a researcher who dropped 2 drops no her hand. She wiped and scrubbed, and I believe even had nitrile gloves...but died very quickly. A few weeks or less, much of it in the hospital on life support. Shit, i wish i remembered her name, but i am too lazy to google it.


It took months for it to kill her.

quicklime
10-04-2013, 02:15 AM
did it? And how much of that was out of a coma? I remember hearing about it in a tox class, it was awhile ago, but I remember it being pretty awful.

*Edit: got off my ass and looked it up, it took a full 6 months post-exposure for the symptoms to even become apparent

King Neptune
10-04-2013, 03:13 AM
did it? And how much of that was out of a coma? I remember hearing about it in a tox class, it was awhile ago, but I remember it being pretty awful.

*Edit: got off my ass and looked it up, it took a full 6 months post-exposure for the symptoms to even become apparent

Yes, not what I would use to get rid of an unliked business associate, but the extended suspense might make it interesting.