Monday, January 14, 2019

Guest Blogger: Avery Daniels, Author of Spiked

Julienne, a poisoned Private Investigator with her business card on his body, an MI5 agent taking a liking to her, and her heart on the line.

Julienne needs only three things: successfully pull off a last minute wedding relocated to her resort, work out things with her stubborn ex- boyfriend, and solve the murder of a private investigator found with her business card on his dead body. The wedding she can handle, but it comes with a flirtatious brother of the bride from Britain who manages to give Mason the idea she has moved on, and the dead PI was playing with fire before he was poisoned leaving a myriad of suspects. Two suspects are part of a scandal waiting to explode and nobody wants to be in the middle of the fallout.

Can Julienne wade through the various suspects while coordinating the wedding and dealing with a handsome amorous guest before her rival on the local paper exposes her connection and thus damages her and the resort's reputation? Will she and Mason find their way to each other?

Thoughts on Poisons Popularity in Mysteries

In my third Resort to Murder Mystery, Spiked, I delve into poison as a murder weapon. Agatha Christie, the Queen of Crime, used poison as a weapon for over thirty murder victims in her novels. She used Strychnine in “The Mysterious Affair at Styles.” Cyanide was employed most often by Christie and appears in “The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side,” “And Then There Were None,” “A Pocketful of Rye,” and “Sparkling Cyanide.” Arsenic was used in “4:50 From Paddington.” Christie also used thallium, taxine, coniine, bacillus anthracis, phosphorus, monkshood, belladonna, physostigmine, morphine, and even basic sleeping pills.

That isn’t even touching on the poisonous plants and flowers we often find in our gardens. Besides Poinsettias, there are a number of common plants and flowers that are deadly to animals and humans. This makes it convenient as a murder weapon besides adding an ominous edge to the everyday sight of such lovely flowers as Larkspur, Morning Glory, Lily of the Valley, Daffodil, Azalea, Hydrangea, and Oleander – all of which are toxic to animals and to some degree to people.

As murder weapons go, poison is for the cunning murderer. In my case I needed a weapon that would throw a timeline completely out the window. What better method than poison which allowed the deadly dose to be administered and then the killer secures an alibi for the actual time of death? Besides there being a wedding my main character is coordinating, with a plethora of flowers everywhere.

But there is the saying that I allow to be repeated in the book that women tend to use poison. What I found was that isn’t entirely or all together true today. Historically poisoning was pretty common and that fact caused kings to employ “tasters” to eat samples of their food to ensure it was safe for the ruler to consume. Even the Greek philosopher Socrates was sentenced to death by hemlock for heresy. The Borgia family of the Middle Ages was notorious arsenic poisoners.

But today, men and women, statistically speaking, use guns primarily for murder. Poison is actually used in one-half of one percent of murders. In a Washington Post article that goes into the weapons that men and women use to kill, they state that women are only seven times more likely to use poison than men even with the overall low occurrences.

So why is it so popular in murder mysteries if not that popular in modern life? Because we often take for granted our food and drink (typically the method to slip a toxic dose) and poison throws tension into the rest of the book as people eye their own meals. Plus the timeline becomes sketchy for pinpointing a killer. And, it is often convenient to acquire without drawing attention, such as purchasing rat poison at a hardware store or picking some lovely plants from your garden, making it ideal for a mystery novel.

Pick up a copy of Spiked at...

Avery Daniels was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense her entire life. Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units. She still resides in Colorado with two brother black cats as her spirited companions. She volunteers for a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. She inherited a love for reading from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books at the dinner table.


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