Some of my favorite "methods" of murder
As a longtime devotee of the mystery genre, I've always been intrigues by the ingenious ways that writers devise to do away with their victims. While a list of "50 ways" could be filled with variations of the old standbys -- gun, knife, poison, etc. -- it's the really off-the-wall modus operandi that strike my fancy. Where do they get these ideas?
One of my absolute favorites is Roald Dahl's "Lamb to the Slaughter," where a frozen leg of lamb serves as both the murder weapon and dinner for the investigating officers. Another short story, Steven Saylor's "King Bee and Honey," employs a fatal bee sting on the male victim's private parts. What a way to go!
While poison is a common method of murder, the way it's administered can be quite creative. Take "A Pint of Murder," by Alisa Craig, where an imporoperly canned jar of food is used to do away with the victim, or "Bitter Business," by Gini Hartzmark, where the victim gives herself a fatal spray of poisonous perfume. And then you have the "deadly" side of medications, which includes not only the more common overdoses, but poisonous drug interactions which can be made to look like unfortunate accidents.
All kinds of elaborate plots have been devised, from being stabbed by a sharp icicle, which then melts causing the murder weapon to diappear, to mechanical devices pulling a trigger, or setting off some type of reaction which kills the victim. In an episode of "Diagnosis Murder" on TV, a computer genius, whose child accidentally died in the hospital, gets his revenge by methodically killing off all the children of the doctors and nurses involved -- by programming their security systems to malfunction, all master-minded from the man's home computer.
From the earliest days of the mystery, when Edgar Allen Poe penned "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," to today's masterminds of mystery, we readers have been just as interested in "how-done-it" as in "who-done-it." I believe that a sense of humor when plotting a mystery is an important ingredient. And if there are "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," then there are at least "50 Ways to Kill Your Lover," (or anyone else, for that matter), while having a good time writing, or reading, about it.