By Lonnie Cruse
On a recent cold winter morning here in Southern Illinois our front yard was covered with large black dots. Blackbirds to be exact. Zillions of them. This happens now and then. The birds are hunting for food. They usually appear like this when a storm is predicted, though one is not predicted for this week. Still, the birds usually know more than the weatherman so I'm keeping an eye on the sky.
The sight of the birds reminded me of the movie, THE BIRDS. If you saw it, you know how scary it is. The Hitchcock version, of course. Nobody does it like Hitch. Then there is the Agatha Christie mystery, POCKET FULL OF RYE. It features blackbirds in part of the mystery. This got me thinking about master writers and movie makers. They can take simple things in life, like Blackbirds, and turn them into something that makes us sleep with the lights on for several days. Murder weapons you and I probably would never think of.
Don't know about you, but I check out binoculars very carefully before I look through them ever since I saw a movie where binoculars were used in a particularly nasty way to murder a woman. You know the one I mean? Came out in the fifties, still scares the daylights out of me to think of it. Ewwww!
How about the frozen roast used in a Roald Dahl story to kill someone, then baked and turned into dinner and served to the investigating officers? That has to be one of the best unusual weapons ever to appear in fiction. Sigh.
My point here is that some authors don't have to use guns or knives or ropes or poison to kill off a character. They use everyday items to do the job. Items that are generally thought to be safe. Birds or binoculars or things like that.
What's the most unusual murder weapon used in a book or movie that you can think of? Care to share? Do authors even use unusual weapons in today's mysteries?
Most important, will I have to sleep with the lights on tonight? Sleeping with the lights on, part two, next Friday. See you then!