12 September 2010

This one goes in the “strange, unusual and more-likely-to-fail-than-succeed murder method “ file

Q: What is one of the first things a rational person would think about when planning a cold blooded murder?
A: Choosing a fail-proof murder weapon and method. Right?

Q: Mysteries abound in strange and unusual murder methods, and risky ones can be found in quite a number of them, but when you combine the three, what do you get?
A: A murder that defies even suspended disbelief.

In this case of The Irish Manor House Murder by Dicey Deere the method is so unlikely and so likely to fail that it is just ridiculous. The killer has no way of knowing that shooting a piece of knitting needle into a horse would kill the horse – it was just as likely to have simply made the horse rear up in pain and gallop off uncontrollably, and even then the rider had a good chance of surviving a fall off the horse. Besides, I find it hard to believe that a pop gun is powerful enough to shoot an approximately 4 cm piece of knitting needle – which by the way have blunt tips – so deep into solid muscle that it sinks completely out of sight. Even if the gun is capable of shooting pellets a whole 15 feet.

When, oh when, are mystery writers going to realise that the tried and tested methods are usually the best and that novel methods need to be at least plausible in order for the story to work?

2 comments:

Dorte H said...

I have heard about murderers who could kill with a hat pin, and some time ago I read a rather good cosy mystery where a knitting needle was used as the weapon, but no, I don´t buy this indirect method either.

Bibliophile said...

A pin in an ear, an eye or the heart is a classic and almost sure-fire method, but this just leaves too much to chance.