Friday, July 6, 2012

Thoughts of Murder and Mayhem

I'm immersed in a whirlwind of selling a house and renting an apartment while we find the right next house to buy. The gale force slams me with decisions about what to shed, what minimal possessions to bring, and what to store. The relocation storm also forces me to make sure precious items are packed with care. How do I cushion the stone Buddha in the garden so  he isn't chipped by moving from here to there and then to where I want him to land? Will my mother's lovely china really survive the move?

Of course, being a crime writer, the possibilities for murderous mayhem alert me at every turn. What if someone rented one of those temporary storage containers, as we have, and the first item she carried in was a body in a cedar chest? She might then fill the pod with the rest of their boxes of books, her fine china, her garden statuary, her momentarily excess bookshelves, the extra couch. 

The pod gets carted off to the warehouse, which is temperature and humidity controlled. No one notices. 

You get the picture. But how, you might ask, did the victim meet his or her demise?

I recently ordered Dr. D.P. Lyle's amazing resource, Murder and Mayhem: A Doctor Answers Medical and Forensic Questions for Mystery Writers

Ooh. Ooh! Dr. Lyle regularly blogs answering these kinds of questions and I don't always make time to read his posts. (He also writes the Dub Walker thrillers and the Samantha Cody series.) But having Murder and Mayhem on my desk makes it hard to concentrate on anything else. A brief sample from the table of contents:

  • Does alcohol intake prevent death from freezing?
  • What structures must be injured to make a stab wound in the back lethal?
  • Can a bee sting kit be altered to result in the death of the user?
You see what I mean. I'd like to take a couple of vacation days just to read this book cover to cover. In lieu of that, what's your favorite nefarious and unusual way to kill off a (fictional) victim? Have you perused Dr. Lyle's books?


  1. Actually there was a body (in an unplugged freezer) in the storage unit where we stored some of our stuff during our down-sizing move. Bill got there to pick up some stuff to find the place surrounded by cop cars.

  2. Yikes, Barb! And this hasn't made it into one of your books yet? ;^)

  3. Edith--I'm glad you like this book. It was fun to write. You might also check out the next two in the series---Forensics and Fiction and More Forensics and Fiction. Same format with more fun questions. And of course I hope each inspire story ideas for the writers who read them---that's what the books are all about.


  4. Edith, just a footnote to the medical aspects of crime fiction. . . if you should ever need details about human anatomy, there are awesome resources online for quick reference. We used some when I was in "massage school."

    Probably the most comprehensive site is from the U.S. Medical LIbrary, compliments of NIH.

  5. You have such an evil mind Edith. Burial by PODS (not print on demand in this instance).

    1. Don't all of us crime writers, Ricky? ;^)

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  7. Wait until after the move, Edith. You'll feel a lot more like committing murder yourself, I predict. Unless you're a better person than I am.