Saturday, April 9, 2016

26+ Ways to Kill: H is for Hydragyrism and Hyperemesis

Welcome! Since I write culinary mysteries, “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time” deals with food topics and with mysteries. This month I am sharing ways to kill people—in your mysteries, of course—and some tips on getting away with it! To avoid the pronoun problem, I’ll use heesh (he or she), shis (his or hers), and shim (him or her) throughout the entries. Tune in for murder and mayhem.

My search for H ways to kill led me to some strange stuff! Okay, right. I hear you. Other letters led me to the dark side, too. Still . . .

One H term to escape detection would be hide the body. No body, no evidence. No evidence, no charges. Hiding the body could be the killer’s get-out-of-jail-free card. But that’s not a killing method. Of course, helicopter blade is a killing method, but that’s been done. You came here for the unusual, right?

There’s nasty stuff you can do with H. Like hamble is to mutilate a dog by cutting off the balls of shis feet. Ugh! String up someone who would do that to an animal, like as in hang the guy! I also found out that hereticide is the killing of heretics. That could be a motive for killing. And, to keep with a religious theme, hieromachy is a fight or quarrel between priests. You might be able to use that for a plot point. Your killer could use the fight to deflect attention from shimself onto another.

Other fun H words are hosticide (killing one’s enemy) and homnivorous (eating humans—see my C post on cannabilism).

And don’t you like the sound of holocryptic? That’s something inscrutable, indecipherable like our killer wants to be!

Some really nasty ones I wish I could figure out how to do are a hirudinean murder (using leeches) and helminthiasis (infestation with worms). The only thing I could think was to insert a tapeworm into the muscle of some meat (Steak tartare, anyone?) and let it grow hoping the person wouldn’t see a doctor as heesh wastes away.

So that left me with H is for Hydragyrism—mercury poisoning.

It’s wonder we’re not all dead! I certainly remember playing with the mercury that seeped from a broken wall thermometer, don’t you? Now, of course, that’s unthinkable, but the reason we lived is there are multiple varieties of mercury, which while all toxic, some are more so.

The symptoms of mercury poisoning are: loss of balance, slurred speech, tingling of skin or numbness, abdominal pain (from liver damage), and weight loss. Mercury attacks the brain, so systems begin to shut down. The victim could become comatose and die.

Most mercury poisoning seems to come from eating fish with high mercury levels. You’ve heard that preggers moms shouldn’t eat tuna, right? Actually, none of us should eat excessive amounts of tuna (or other fish with the risk for mercury saturation).

If I were going to kill with hydragyrism (mercury poisoning), I’d have my killer target a seafood-loving victim and covertly pour on some mercury while they were dining at a restaurant. Autopsy finds mercury in the fish. The restaurant gets the blame. Easy peasy. EXCEPT—I’d have the seasoned M.E. figure out the kind of mercury in the fish was not the right one for that fish. The mercury our hapless killer used was a kind of mercury used in lab tests. Uh oh! Busted.

H is also for Hyperemesis, excessive vomiting. I found that a hypatic is a purgative, like eccoprotic used earlier in this A-Z challenge. A hebenon is anything with poisonous juices, so that has lots of possibilities, some of which might be either undetectable or so rare they’re not normally tested for in an autopsy.

Using a hypatic or hebenon, the killer could induce hyperemesis resulting in a condition called hypokalemia. <grin>

Hypokalemia is a condition caused by excessive vomiting. In hypokalemia, the body is depleted of potassium. Potassium is needed for muscle functioning. Thus, the heart being a muscle, one could induce cardiac arrest by causing the heart to beat out of rhythm. This method allows the killer to be far away at the time of death with an airtight alibi. 

Yay! I get tomorrow off! Please come back Monday for my innovative ways to kill with I words!

If you take time to share this post on social media, I would be most grateful. 
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#Mystery writer need ideas to kill? H is for Hydragyrism or Hyperemesis. Many killer tips this month #atozchallenge

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Blogging from A to Z Challenge offers a wide range of topics. If you want to kill someone (in books of course), check out killing by Hydragyrism or Hyperemesis on “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time” at

Check out Sharon Arthur Moore’s culinary mystery, Mission Impastable  


  1. Oh I do like a bit of H murder. AM gonna start a recipe book you know for justin...just in case.

    1. Your recipe book could be a best-seller with the mystery writer crowd. You could include some drinks--doctored up--like you mentioned in your "Ice" post. Thanks for coming by.

  2. Your posts are a great resource for anyone interested in murder ... fictionally speaking, of course. ;-)

    1. Yep, that's the idea, CR! When a bunch of mystery writers get together, someone is bound to bemoan they have to kill the same old way. Not so much! lol

  3. Scary stuff here. A lot of it sounds like too much work. It can put off any fictional killers from doing their job. Which is a good thing!

    In other randomness, helicopter blade = made me think of that scene at the end of 28 Days Later; mowing down the zombies.

    1. Ooh, not just an accidental death but using the helicopter blade as a weapon. I like it! I don't know the movie, but now I know to look for it! Thanks for coming by!