How I used forensic science in my murder mystery novel.
Todays' blog post is about how I used forensic science in my murder mystery novel.
I loved doing the research for the cause of death in THE WIDOW CATCHER. What I learned is that they call it Forensic Science for a reason, because the rules of death are grounded in absolutes. If too much blood is lost, a person dies. If too many internal organs are damaged, a person dies. If there is no oxygen, a person dies.
In thrillers and mysteries, unless there is a supernatural element, we rarely have scope for miraculous recoveries. People may survive gunshot wounds, but they cannot dodge bullets. People may survive being held underwater for a period of time, but they cannot breathe underwater. I typically write fantasy and science fiction, so writing THE WIDOW CATCHER made for some interesting writing when I searched for ways in which the protagonist would kill his victim while abiding by the rules of death in the natural world.
I turned to my trusty ‘Encyclopedia of Forensic Science’ written by Brian Lane. I bought this book many years ago, 2004 from the date on the front cover, and I have been dying (excuse the pun) to use it. Here are two pieces of information that I found particularly interesting.
CAUSE OF DEATH
Coma is a failure of the brain – such as bludgeoning in the case of homicide, narcotics, hemorrhage.
Syncope is a failure of the heart – such as natural failure or homicidal as a result of poisoning or extensive injury.
Asphyxia is a failure of the lung – such as drowning or strangulation, poisoning, paralysis of the lungs due to electric shock.
The killer in THE WIDOW CATCHER used passive methods of murder to rid himself of his obstacles, so as not to dirty his hands. In the planned follow-up book THE THIEF CATCHER, the killer will be certainly getting his, or her, hands dirty.