Monday, April 11, 2016

26+ Ways to Kill: I is for Intercostal Icicle or Inanition

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 murder and mayhem.

You might have predicted the I options for your killer would be limited, and you would have been correct. My original goal was to find one method for every letter, but for most letters, as you have read, I could have done a half-dozen.

I was a toughy. Not for one method. I found two right off the bat. But, I wanted to give you more, as I have in the preceding posts. So, I dug deeper, as they say in sports (I’m told) to come up with a post of more than 20 words.

During the search, irreption caught my eye. This is how your killer might access the victim so that heesh can kill with an I word. Irreption is a stealthy entrance. It is a subtle or creeping entrance. Cool word!

And your killer is likely irascent, enraged or angry, causing shim to think irreption is justified.

To the murder methods.

Incineration is a possibility. I’d have my killer dump the victim down the incinerator chute of a luxury high-rise building. The victim would have to be unconscious, but we have a number of methods to render a person helpless. An advantage of an incinerator chute is that, undiscovered for a while, most or all of the evidence is destroyed. Maybe the victim could be portrayed as suicidal complicating the case.

I read a LOT about ichthyotoxism. You almost got that one. Poisoning the victim with fish venom (from one of 1200 species!) is unique. But the problems with obtaining and storing fish venom make this a less attractive option. There are a bunch easier ways to kill people.

You almost got infarction, tissue dying due to lack of blood flow. Think causing a heart attack or simulating a heart attack. But that one is iffy, too, unless the victim is removed from all help. Those docs can work wonders in resuscitating.

So I was left with was Intercostal Icicle and Ianition.

An intercostal icicle death is a rather ingenious one. The killer needs to have some understanding of the geography of the body (called anatomy). Intercostal means the muscle between the ribs. So to kill someone with an icicle, your killer needs to know where to do the most damage. You might have shim use two icicles and go for the lungs. No air. No life. Or you could have shim puncture the heart. Talk about infarction!

The icicle is brilliant as a murder weapon. Once it’s melted, there is no evidence of the weapon. You can’t find the weapon, you can’t present it to a jury. Clever, eh? No fingerprint or DNA issues to explain away. I do think this goes to a premeditated murder as opposed to an irascent assailant. You gotta get the right icicles and preserve them for the time when needed. Plan ahead!

Inanition, starvation, is related to gyve, presented earlier in this series. To remind you, gyve is fettering or shackling a person and walking away to let nature takes its course. Your victim is more likely to die of thirst than starvation, however. If the murderer wants kill by inanition, heesh would have to provide some water and no food to prolong the existence.

Now why heesh would want to do that should be tied to the killer’s motivation, otherwise why take so long to kill someone? Inanition would normally take about two weeks to result in death. But there really is no normal. Gandhi went 21 days with only sips of water. Some have lived even longer, up to 73 days. This method means the killer has to walk away and let the person waste away. If the victim loses 60-80% of body fat (as in anorexia), the body systems begin to shut down and death results. Maybe even a myocardial infarction.

The bad news for a killer who wants the victim to suffer is that the victim will likely lose the sense of hunger and thirst. So it’s not really the suffering of some of the deaths described this month. But it is bloodless and is one that allows for multiple ways to avoid detection.

What’s up tomorrow with J? You’ll have to stop by to see!

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? I is for Intercostal Icicle or Inanition. 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 Intercostal Icicle or Inanition on “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time” at

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


  1. I'm definitely learning new words in this A-Z challenge! These may come in handy if I leap from nonfiction to fiction writing one day!

    - Jenny

    1. Thanks so much for coming by to comment. Inventive killing is the holy grail for mystery writers.

  2. Fun post! But now that I'm warned I'll be watching for friends bearing icicles.

    1. LOL, Deborah! I'd be more careful in summer than winter, if I were you! Glad you enjoyed it. Hope to see you again.

  3. New words, yay! Great theme :-) Good luck with the rest of the AtoZchallenge.

    1. You have a great theme as well! So glad you came by to check in here. Hope to see you again.