Monday, April 25, 2016

26+ Ways to Kill: U is for Ustulation

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.

Remember when I said that the last quarter of the alphabet is harder? Boy, howdy!

I only found one pretty good word for killing with the letter U, but then all month, I’ve given your lots of words with multiple letters, so no whining with the piddly one for today. And remember the title of this series is “26+ Ways to Kill”. You got your 26 a while back!

On my way researching U ways to kill, I came across some other words that you might be able to work into your story.

For example, urticate is to sting or flog with nettles. Yikes! I had a run-in with a nettle patch as a kid. Talk about itching! Well, it appears urticate is a BDSM kind of sex thing. Who knew? Speaking personally, that’s not the way I roll. I hate being itchy! For me, it would be the complete opposite of a turn-on. Still, in your novel, you might work urticate torture/teasing into a tale that becomes increasingly bizarre and dangerous so that death comes calling.

On the other hand, urtication had a more seemly side in the past. It was a treatment for paralysis, the idea being to create irritation. Yeah. Well. It must not have been very successful because the medical use of urtication is gone.

You could have your killer commit uxoricide, the killing of his wife. You’ve got lots of ways to do that this month, some more detectable or gruesome than others. How much does your killer want to dispose of her?

Also, I found that unguiculate is a clawed thing (an animal mostly, but it could be an object). You might maul your victim, but death would be unlikely unless you use the unguiculate as a foraminator.

Some writers kill unknowns (most often transients) to conceal deaths. No one is looking for them, so the killer is more likely to escape detection. Or if the unknown is located, with no connection—what investigators always look for first—the killer flies under the radar.

Today’s word for the letter U, however, is Ustulation, scorching, burning or roasting. I know we’ve done various pyrogenation (subjecting to heat) methods before, but this one is slightly different. In pharmacological terms, ustulation is roasting or drying or moist substances. Bodies = moist substances.

Interestingly, an obsolete definition for ustulation is lustful passion, a burning sexual desire. Funny how we ended up there again today!

For the more contemporary definition, I can picture a big barbecue spit that the body is tied to (with metal so it doesn’t melt and drop the body into the coals) or skewered on (through non-vital areas). I’d maximize the torture by keeping the body enough above the coals to create a slow ustulation death by cooking the body. Then, lower the spit and gets some crust on the victim for a cannibalistic meal.

If you take time to share this post on social media, I would be most grateful. 

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#Mystery writer, need killer ideas? U is for Ustulation. Lots of tips this month! #atozchallenge

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

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


  1. I can't even imagine but it seems like a viable way to kill someone tho maybe more difficult to cover up the evidence.
    Sounds like you are having fun this month.
    Im blogging from Fill the cracks and Moondustwriter's Blog. Happy A to Zing!

    1. Hi, Leslie--I'll pop over to check you out. You are writing TWO blogs this month. Whew! I am having the best time. This series is so bizarre, I can get in touch with my inner weird!

    2. I didn't participate in this but am going to do a similar monthly one starting next month.

  2. You mystery writers scare me... Or I scare myself by how much I am enjoying these posts. Lol.

    1. I will take that as a compliment, Cathy! lol

  3. You mystery writers scare me... Or I scare myself by how much I am enjoying these posts. Lol.