clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Killing Freeze

At left, Unimog with snowthrower. I could use one of these. We set snow records in January and are on our way to an all-winter record. Five more inches of fun today.

As a crime guy, one of the thing to consider is the dispatch of a victim. A couple of bullets are a handy way to do the job.

Often, we need something more substantial for the plot.

The elements offer a convenient way for someone to kill when they might shy from a pistol or shotgun.


A vehicle is reported abandoned along a sparsely traveled county road. Say, it's on the way to a Christmas tree farm.

I drive near one taking Louis the foxhound to a lovely boarding kennel in the country (indoor heated floors, enclosed run and play yard). He loves it. If I said the words "Animal Camp" right now he'd get up and dance around the floor. I think foxhounds lead the signing lessons. He taught a young german shepherd to howl last fall. Bonus for its owners.

Anyway, country lane, abandoned car, winter. VIN has the vehicle scrapped in Mississippi after the hurricane (pick one). Here it is, though. In a northern state in the middle of winter along side the road. No sign of foul play but it strikes the deputy who goes to see it as odd. He has a locksmith out to punch the trunk lock. Bingo. A body. Frozen - since it's been sub-zero for nearly a week.

Here we have a mystery. Procedural? Sure.

Make the fellow who found the car a local who isn't too interested in police attention. Say he just puts a chain on it and hauls it back to his place to push into an old pit silo which is his private "sanitary landfill." He opens the trunk to get at the spare (farmers love old tires) and he finds the body.

Call the cops? Call the brother-in-law who mustered out of the Army after working on a combined Iraqi-American major crime task force in Fallujah? Do nothing until another car shows up?

You've got options. The frozen corpse gave them to you. Oh, hose it down before it was locked in the trunk so it would more easily meet a weather-related demise: you've got a pretty harsh murder. Good copy in that.

So, while you're out clearing the drive be thinking about what winter brings. Hope when the snow melts, it reveals only grass. You never know.

Write something cold. I will.

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