Thursday, April 21, 2016

26+ Ways to Kill: Rafale or Retorse

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.

While I found lots of R words to support the criminal intent of this series, there weren’t so many killing options.

Recidivism is lapsing back into crime. Retromorphosis is a change for the worse, definitely akin to recidivism. A rampallion is a scoundrel or villain. That rampallion may also be rantipole (wild and disorderly).

Most of our literary villains are ruthless. But did you know that ruthless is a form of ruth, what our protagonist might be? A person who is ruth shows pity, remorse, or sorrow. Heesh has compassion for the misery of others.

Ratine is to practice sabotage against. That could be an interesting plot line, particularly if someone dies during the sabotage. An innocent perhaps, or even the one being sabotaged could be “collateral damage” in a sabotage attempt.

Some of the death methods we have discussed result in rubor (redness of the body resulting from excess blood).

I didn’t use raticide (substance that kills rats) because we’ve done poison. And I didn’t do rebullition (act of boiling up or effervescing) since that was too close to boiling your people dinner in cannibalism. I also rejected revet (face with masonry) because it was too close to obvallate. Same with riem (rawhide thong). I thought it too close to knout and quirt.

I considered describing retiary (using nets as weapons) but couldn’t see how that would kill. Nets capture, then another method results in death. So here we are at rafale and retorse.

Rafale would occur in a battle with drug lords or war zone novels. Rafale is a burst of artillery in quick rounds. Perhaps a soldier has PTSD and fires at shis comrades or a village of civilians. I assume that any automatic weapon purchased legally could be used in a mass shooting at a shopping mall or a hospital emergency room. Rafale is definitely ripped from today’s headlines.

Retorse is more difficult to pull off and not as quick a death. I see the use of retorse in an historical mystery. Retorse is bent backwards. Can’t you see a medieval torture device meant to break a person in half? The pain would be indescribable. But describing it would be your job.

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#Mystery writer, need killer ideas? R is for Rafale or Retorse . Lots of tips this month! #atozchallenge

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Looking for new, fresh ways to kill (in books of course)? Check out Rafale or Retorse on “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time” at

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


  1. Now, there's a challenge. Trying to figure out how nets could actually kill. There must be a way to make retiary work in a mystery novel. Maybe with some sort of sci-fi twist to it.

    Cheers - Ellen

    1. Yeah, Ellen. I thought maybe strangling with the net once captured, but it takes a sharper mind than mine to figure it out. Weapon yes, killing tool, maybe. I've been AWOL due to some personal stuff, but I am headed back to your Nancy Drew tale to get caught up.