Murder Notes 2

A few more ideas for murder mysteries...

A man gives himself a series of alibis, by confessing to a priest that he meeting a woman for an adulterous affair at the time of each crime. He knows the priest has broken confessional secrecy before, and will do so again.

Three murders, all well reported in the press, all with the same MO. One suspect can be tied to the first and third, but has a cast iron alibi for the second. The second murder was by a copycat killer.

A spate of poisonings lands a series of people in hospital, where they die. The people are unconnected apart from two, who are members of the same family. The symptoms of all before reaching hospital are slightly different from each other. There are various toxins found in each bloodstream after death, but one is common to all.

The spate was partly a statistical fluke. The two family members were poisoned by the same person, who just wanted to hurry up his inheritance. The other poisonings were just a coincidental cluster of food poisonings, and the family killings would have been noticed immidiately if they hadn't been hidden by the cluster.

One of the doctors at the hospital is the real killer, administering the common poison to patients when they arrived in his ward. He chose patients with low life expectancy to hide what he was doing. His motive: he just enjoyed it.

It's been said that there are only four basic motives for murder - love, lust, loathing and lucre. But I think there are many others that don't fit into these categories.

What about shame? A mother kills a journalist who is writing a biography of her pop-star son, to prevent her finding out about the son's shameful secret - that at school he got a girl pregnant and forced her to have an abortion, after which she suicided.

The mother pieced together what had happened from clues about her son's behavior and what she'd heard about the girl. But the mother had worked it out wrong - she was protecting a secret that existed in her own imagination.

What about murder as a trial run for another murder - one that never takes place? Or is botched?

Murder as ceremony? As initiation into a sect? A secret society of super-powerful businessmen, and for someone to join they need to prove their ruthlessness and determination by killing a stranger.

Murder as experiment? Think of Alfred Hitchcock's film "Rope", where the maguffin is the protagonists comitting a murder as an intellectual exercise, just to see if they can do it.

A wants to kill B. B and C are sisters who resemble each other and often visit each other's homes. A writes a series of anonymous hate letters to C, pretending to be an unbalanced stalker, vacillating between love and hate for her.

A shoots B from a distance, making it appear the stalker has attempted to shoot C, but got the wrong sister.

There are plenty of mysteries where the killer covers their tracks by advancing and retarding clocks. How about one where they get caught because their own watch was slow?

"Strangers on a Train" was about two people who met once by chance and swapped murders. How about a group who are all members of a larger association - say 5 members of a sports club of 30 - who draw lots to each perform one murder for one of the others.

The trail of clues for each killing would lead back to the sports club, but the obvious suspect for each would have an alibi (such as being at the club at the time), and there are 29 others possible suspects.

For further obfuscation, one of the murders was of the wrong victim - mistaken identity.

The police will quickly cotten on to the link between a spate of murders and the sports club. But they might be confused by a staged failed murder of one of the group of five.

1 comment:

  1. I've said it before so I'll not say it again; otherwise you'll get a swollen head :)