Friday, April 1, 2016

26+ Ways to Kill: A is for Anaphylaxis or Antlers

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 and her) throughout the entries. Now tune in to murder and mayhem!

It’s amazing to me the number of ways you can kill people. The challenge for the writer, of course, is to make the method believable. Sometimes the mystery writer wants the method to be obscured and sometimes the method is very obvious. But I can’t think of a single instance in real life or in literature where the premeditated death is meant to be traced back to the murderer.

Murderers go to great lengths to conceal their guilt by removing the body, blaming another, having an alibi, or numerous other ruses. That makes for a good puzzle for the reader. Sometimes readers even know who the murderer is, but how will he/she be tied to the crime becomes the plot line.

This month, I have gathered together some unusual ways you can kill. I hope you enjoy the entries. Please comment below so we can add to our colleagues’ list of murderous options!

When considering what to share for A, I considered automobile or airplane. You know, tampering with them so they malfunction, and look like an accidental death (Ooh! There’s an A word!) until the clever investigator figures out the ploy.

But that’s been sooo done! So while anaphylaxis has been used a good bit, I think antlers is rarer.

Death by anaphylaxis is death by allergans. This method requires that the murderer know the victim well-enough to be aware of the victim’s allergies. To kill, an allergan has to be toxic enough to do the job.  Sometimes the murderer will increase the amount the victim is exposed to, but other times the victim has a deadly reaction to a small amount because the person’s reaction is more severe than normal. You or I might break out in hives with a peanut allergy when we eat too many. A person severely allergic, can experience anaphylactic shock when in close proximity to them.

One advantage to anaphylaxis is it can be made to appear accidental with the right set-up. It also can give the murderer the opportunity to be elsewhere and have an alibi as long as the murderer can insure that the victim cannot get help through an epipen or a 9-1-1 call.

If you use this method, be sure to investigate the anaphylactic reaction your allergan creates. For me, bee venom causes my throat to swell and go numb, cutting off my air supply. Untreated, I could die if the quantity were enough. You want to be able to accurately describe the death throes of your victim due to anaphylaxis. Peter Abresch’s Killing Thyme uses death by anaphylactic shock.

On a bloodier note, death by antlers requires some special “equipment”: antlers. They can be on the head of a moose, elk, or deer and the murderer can make it appear a goring by the beast. Or the antlers can be a trophy on the wall used to gash through a body as a sword might do.

This is a very tricky method of death, as you can imagine. The murderer must know where some vital organs are or rip the intestines so internal bleeding will lead to death. This is a slow one and requires the murderer be in attendance until death. The killer wouldn’t want the person to survive to tell the tale.

I couldn’t locate any mysteries using this method, but let’s consider how it could be done. This is more likely murder by a male, but it could be accomplished by an athletic woman. The average woman would find it difficult to heft around weighty antlers or human body.

In the case of a hunting "accident”, the murderer would have to know an antlered critter is available at the location for the death. The murderer would have made extensive plans and arrangements to accomplish the task. Perhaps the deer was killed in advance, transported whole to refrigeration, and then relocated at the site of the murder. This scenario allows for the solving of the crime to show that the animals death did not occur when the murderer claims it did since a clever forensic scientist will discover the animal was already dead at the time of the goring.

Another scenario could be someone expressing concern about mounted antlers falling to the floor of a cabin. Surprise, surprise. It happens and the host is killed by puncturing. In reality, the murderer takes down the antlers, makes it look like they have fallen, and then runs through the host with the pointy ends. Not as easy as I made it sound! You would have to have your victim pinioned to the floor. Could detectives solve the mystery with math? The trajectory of the falling antlers and the weight of the points hitting a prone body (and why was your victim prone anyway?) could prove that it was no accident. While unique, death by antlers is less effective than a good many other methods!

Have you had experience with either of these methods? Share the experience below!
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#Mystery writer need ideas to kill? A is for Anaphylaxis & Antlers. Lots of 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 with Anaphylaxis and Antlers on “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time” at

Tomorrow, stop by to see what is coming up for two B ways to kill.

Sharon Arthur Moore is the author of Mission Impastable


  1. Fascinating methods, Sharon! Who would guess antlers? I am allergic to goji berries and now they are in almost all "healthy" snacks!
    Have a great weekend!

    My A2Zs @ As the Fates Would Have It & Promptly Written
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    1. Oooh, good one. Lori! That would be easy to pretend ignorance of, too, since it is promoted as a health food. I may be using that in a future culinary mystery! Thanks. You are doing TWO daily blogs this month? OMG!