Life and Death > Death Details

Poison in a coffee cup.


I know it's been done many a time, but it just appeals to me as one of the classier ways to murder.

So. My victim drinks a latte every morning, maybe more when he is hungover. What is a poison that would be tasteless in such a drink? Maybe not a very fast acting poison, it would be preferable if he died later in the evening. Also, it shouldn't be that hard to come by. Perhaps that is acting quite a lot.

Any ideas?

Dave Freas:
Hi, Rowan

A hefty dose of digitalis or one of the extracts from it (digoxin or digitoxin) might work.  But with a caveat: your poisoner would have no control over when it did its dastardly deed.  That would depend on the individual (size and weight) and overall health.  If your victim has a compromised heart, it would work faster, a healthy heart, slower.

Hope this helps.


How about a delicious dose of SMFA?

SMFA or Sodium Monofluoroacetate is a colorless, odorless and tasteless poison used to kill rats and coyotes. Its killing time is flexible – between 30 minutes and 3 hours, so you can have your victim drop dead at almost any time. Also, the symptoms generally progress from fairly benign – abdominal pain, nausea, sweating, and confusion – to alarming – muscle twitches and seizures – to life-threatening – cardiac abnormalities. Thus, your victim can suffer on nicely all the while thinking he’s just come down with one of those damn bugs that have been going around until it’s too late to do anything about it.

Dredging up long dead posts...wish it was more active round these parts :(

Regarding the OP, I could see a scenario where the SMFA was administered in the morning coffee and the potential victim leaves on a long road trip through the mountains or other harsh terrain with a several hour time frame. The poison kicks in while they're driving a winding mountain road, off the side they go and burn up...making it next to impossible for autopsy to reveal it - unless, of course, SMFA is detectable or part of the standard tests performed.

My follow up question along the same lines -

I watched the series Whodunnit and one of the deaths on the show was due to ground up Oleander, pretty common. I wondered if it would be detected on autopsy?

A florist would know all parts of the plant are poisonous, but someone else wouldn't. I like the scenario that it's growing wild in the yard...someone handles it improperly, contaminates their drinking glass, gets sick, dies or some such scenario. I'd wonder if the investigators showing up would even remotely notice oleander growing in a garden or if it's a case of hiding in plain sight...

Dave Freas:
The only way the deadly elements of Oleander would show up on a tox screen would be if the medical examiner noticed specific organ changes he suspected were caused by ingesting the plant and ordered testing for it.

It's possible the investigator could be familiar with plants and recognize Oleander at the crime scene.  That would be up to you as a writer to give or deny him or the ME the ability to suspect the poison.

Hope this helps - even long, long after the question.



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