Cadaverish: Murdering My Characters

The internet had been down in my area for the last couple of days, so my entire blogging schedule has gone awry, sorry! Instead of a photo of the week post, I’ve supplemented today’s with Sunday’s and shall post Saturday’s tomorrow.

The good thing with being both a drama student and a photographer is that I get to take photos of cadaverous characters!

The good thing with being both a drama student and a photographer is that I get to take photos of cadaverous characters! (Thanks to Ellie for playing the body)

I found out, recently, that ‘cadaverous’ is a word – meaning ‘death-like’, a gem of a word. But don’t you agree that ‘cadaverish’ should be a synonym? It has that ring perfect for my own prose. Hence the title of this post. Cadaverous has been on my mind a lot this week, so it is my word of the week.

CAD-AV-ER-OUS, being of the state of a cadaver. Although there is no absolute etymology, it is suspected that the word ‘cadaver’ is from the Latin verb cadere to fall, though it is not clear from where the ‘v’ comes, since the past perfect is cecini.

In the spirit of death (!), I’ve also devised a list of my favourite styles of death of my writing. Sure, I don’t have the bizarre ingenuity of Midsomer Murders – “Beaten to death with slide projector,” “Crushed by falling drinks cabinet which had been unscrewed from wall”, and the episode Hidden Depths is particularly bizarre – (that would be unnecessary), but I do pay attention to my murders, as they are, of course, key to mystery stories.

5. The cucumber yoghurt tangent. Was Mr. C poisoned? Why did he eat the yoghurt? Those are the questions posed by the detective stumbling over an infamous (!) red herring that started as a reference. (OJAP)

4. Fake deaths abound. A Game of Murder is wildly different from the madness of Agnetha’s trilogy. For one thing – nobody actually dies. A couple of people get threatened, hit over the head, left in a pitch-black room, but the idea is that it’s not about murder. Not in the end.

However, one character in particular is a superb actor (sadly, it’s not the professional actress at the dinner party) and his ‘death’ by poisoning is very cinematic because we all wanted it to be.

Sparkling_Cyanide_First_Edition_Cover_19453. Good old cyanide. Writing a bit of a homage to Dame Agatha is deliberate. I don’t think Agnetha’s read many of her books, but Supporting Character Caroline actually saves the life of her Russian charge partly through her reading of Christie story Sparkling Cyanide and a Chemistry A Level. (OMM)

Did you know? The Czech translation is entitled Cyankáli v šampaňském – Cyanide in Champagne – and the French version is actually Meurtre au Champagne: Murder by Champagne! (Talk about tangents!)

2. Cased in lime mortar. My most original way of murdering, inspired by a GCSE science textbook: a good way to kill – the equivalent of suffocation and drowning – but a terrible way to hide the body, as lime mortar slows decomposition. Good thing my murderer was no scientist, though I suspect not a lot of people know this. (OMM)

1. Going in for the kill. Although no one actually dies this way in one of my finished novels (the protagonist’s husband gets the shotgun in Today Was a Good Day, and I know whodunnit; I’ve just never got around to finishing the story), I’ve always been a fan of the traditional murder, swift and efficient. Fastidious and precise like me. In Of Jackets and Phones, Agnetha uses her vicious streak to knock two characters unconscious and braces a pistol at the murderer in one of the last chapters. Like Agnetha (she started it, and my research into her passion fuelled mine), I’m fascinated by handguns. Again, Colonel’s daughter’s habit. My father has two gorgeous ornamental swords.

Conversely, Agnetha is on the receiving end of a pair of identical ornate daggers, first in the hand of the murderer in Of Moscow Mysteries, then in a near-fatal wound as her stalker succeeds in striking her at the end of Of One London Eye.

And, if you ever hear me swear I’ll kill someone, please lock me up!

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