Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Aconite and Hemlock

Inspector Cameron White stood to one side of the kitchen while the coroner examined the body. His wife Beryl would have loved this decor – it was all stainless steel and white enamel. She'd redecorate their kitchen like this if he could afford it. Minus the dead body, naturally. He coughed. "Any clue toward pinpointing cause of death?"

"Cardiac arrest after inhaling a fatal dose of hydrogen cyanide." Eric Chambers pointed to the victim's lips, which were an exceptionally deep pink. "Happened fairly quickly, I'd say. She struggled to breath, fell unconscious hitting her head on the corner of the worktop here." He pointed to a still-sticky bloodstain. "Then she lapsed into a coma while her lungs collapsed and her heart stopped.

"Cyanide?" White shook his head. "I thought that was only popular in Agatha Christie novels. Any clue what it was in?"

"Actually yes. She dropped the packet." Chambers pointed to a small sachet labelled 'Cut Flower Food' in bright purple letters. "What should have been Manganese salt was potassium cyanide. It would have activated as soon as she added it to the vase."

"Clever." White nodded, almost approvingly. "Do we know where the flowers came from?"

"The neighbour said it was a tall lad in a space invader knitted tank top with bicycle clips on his legs.

"Ah. That sort of lad." He looked at the dead girl. "She should learned something from the fall of Troy."

Chambers frowned. "I don't follow..."

"Beware of geeks bearing gifts."

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