Sunday, August 12, 2012

Idea Garage Sale: Clues Without Any Mysteries

Damon had much worse Health Crap than I do and has to take multiple pills at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So he has them arranged downstairs in tiers - breakfast pills in the top row, lunch pills in the middle one, and supper pills on the bottom. That way, if he's feeling bad enough (or I'm spoiling him) to not come downstairs for a meal, I don't have to remember the individual pills, just work my way across the appropriate row.

So one day when I happened to be reading a puzzle mystery, it occurred to me that somebody who wanted to kill Damon and had access to and knowledge of the medicine shelf could easily stick a new, plausible-looking gel cap into the mix, or doctor an existing gel cap, ala that creep who doctored the Tylenol all those years ago, and I would be doing the poisoning for him, quite innocently.

It would not be a sure method, by any means, as the pills would still have to pass muster at the point of ingestion, and Damon is more familiar with the current state of his pill regimen than I am. The safest thing would be to doctor an existing batch, which implies even more intimate access to the family, as you'd have to be able to get into the house when no one was here and be sure of being alone long enough to do the finicky job of taking the gelcaps apart and putting them back together again. Or you'd have to have sufficient expertise and access to have a bunch of mock-ups ready to swap out. But that amount of expertise is implied by the choice of method, anyway. But if the murder victim is the patriarch of a family of pharmacists, or of vitamin manufacturers who use their own products...

I'm afraid if you live with an author you have to get used to the knowledge that once in awhile she'll be idly contemplating what murder methods would be appropriate to you, without the least desire for your death. In case you're worried about it, Damon dying at this point in our lives would be as devastating for me financially as emotionally - which is saying a lot - and in any case I'm so soft-hearted I have a hard time allowing my sims to die, while my tabletop RPG characters have been known to go to some lengths to keep from killing antagonists unnecessarily.

Also, last night Damon put up a mirror in the guest bathroom, a job I've been putting off for quite some time. Naturally he put it at a height that would allow him to use that sink to shave, which means I have to tilt it down (it's one of those mirrors on an extendable arm that move within a frame) in order to see myself in it at all. Which is fine, because I don't need it to put makeup on or anything like that (don't use the stuff). But it reminded me of my Grampa and Gramma's old apartment, on top of Grampa's hardware store, in which Grampa had gotten the electricians to put the light switches down at a height convenient for them - and Grampa was a short man. For awhile after living with them when we were small, my brother and sister and I were always reaching for the wrong part of the wall to turn the lights on or off when we entered or exited a room.

That's the sort of mundane little detail that makes a perfect mystery clue, if you only have a mystery to put it into.

Which I don't.

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