A Bee in my Bonnet by Paty Jager


While figuring out the means of death in my latest Shandra Higheagle mystery, Toxic Trigger-point, I had to come up with something quiet, easy, and could be done while a woman was face down on a massage table.

I wanted the scene when the body is found to look as if the woman is on the table waiting for a massage, but then they realize she is dead.

The scene had to look serene-normal.

I came up with an allergy to bees. After reading up on it, I discovered people who are deathly allergic to bees can die within minutes of contact with bee venom. Further research, I discovered there are some facial creams that have bee venom in them. Enough to cause anaphylaxis shock and death.

To tell you any more about how it all happened would give the story away. ;)_

However, each time I tried to come up with a way for Shandra and Ryan to get a confirmation it was from a bee sting or venom from forensics, I was shot down by Judy Melinek, MD and forensic pathologist.

Each time I’d come up with something, like, how about finding the enzymes for bee venom in stomach contents, she’d shut me down. Bee venom can not be tested for because of it’s chemical break down. Hmmm….

She told me the discovery would have to come from the investigation. Discovering the woman’s allergy and working from there. So that’s what I did. With the help of information from the victim’s family and, of course, Shandra’s dreams, she and Ryan solve the murder.

This is what I enjoy about writing mysteries. While I might have a great idea in mind for a murder, I have to dig and research to discover the best, and sometimes the only way, to disclose or discover how the victim was killed.

Have you read any mystery books with an unusual way the victim was killed?

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3 thoughts on “A Bee in my Bonnet by Paty Jager

  1. I think the weirdest ways to kill someone are what’s been on the TV show, Midsommer Murders. After 20 years of being around, they have come up with very inventive ways to dispose of a person. They have been hoisted on their own petard (blown up with his or her own bomb), shot with arrows, killed by wine bottles from a catapult, and drown in muck (yuk).
    And that’s only what I can remember off the top of my head. I read an Ian Fleming novel where the person was thrown into a pool with Pirana. It was not pretty. I personally prefer less gruesome ways for my victims to get done in. But dead they must be, so I try to keep it colorful.


  2. I think it makes things more interesting to come up with unique methods of murder. Fun fact! Thanks for commenting Missye!


  3. My 2nd Casebook has in it 2 homicides via animals. I totally love devising wayz to have people murdered unconventionally. My 3rd will have poisonings in it The NUC ME panels will misscreen, because they’re not outfitted for every poison on the planet.

    TRIVIA: The CIA and FBI has every ink devised on record since the late 1800s, and only recently added printer inks. Cool, huh?

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