MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION


MF&F 600X961

VOLUME 3 OF DP LYLE’S Q&A SERIES

2013 Edgar Award Nominee, Best Fact Crime

2013 Agatha Award Nominee, Best Non-fiction

2013 Anthony Award Nominee, Best Critical/Non-Fiction


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PRAISE FOR MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION

D.P. Lyle is the best resource I know for a crime or mystery author. He’s authoritative, clear, and extremely generous with his time. MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION makes for fascinating--and terrifically morbid—reading---C.J. Box, New York Times Bestselling Author of FORCE OF NATURE

MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION is....a gold mine.  A must-own reference book for writers of all stripes---Bestselling Author, Grant Blackwood

The must have reference book for crime writers or anyone interested in forensics. Not only indispensable but fascinating, creepy, gruesome and absorbing. Dr. D. P. Lyle has written another treasure---International Bestseller, M.J. Rose

What a fun book! Reading MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION will open your mind to all kinds of new story possibilities. The authors ask all kinds of odd, intriguing questions, and Doug Lyle answers them all in an entertaining, easily accessible way.  More Forensics and Fiction is a celebration of the creative spirit---Matt Witten, screenwriter for House, CSI: Miami, and The Glades

Nothing ruins a good read like inaccuracies, especially of the CSI type. MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION, along with the rest of Doug Lyle’s medical and forensic Q&A series, should be required reading for all crime writers – they are factually detailed, wonderfully gruesome, and spot-on accurate! Read this book if you want to get away with murder . . . on the page---Twist Phelan, Thriller Award-winning author 

Another delightful collection of diabolical insight, not only into the physical consequences of various kinds of bodily assault, but also into the macabre minds of crime writers and the writing process.  It is impressive how Dr Lyle can answer these questions with a straight face--and without contacting the police---Laurie R. King, Edgar Award winning author of GOD OF THE HIVE and PIRATE KING

What's more fun than reading a novel by one of your favorite mystery writers? Finding out how their minds work. Between curiously morbid questions (as they come up with intriguing ways to kill off characters and allow investigators to solve crimes) and the always interesting answers by D. P. Lyle, M.D., you have one fascinating book. I was intrigued from the first page to the last---Robin Burcell, award-winning author, The Bone Chamber


 

Table of Contents                         

 

Part I: Traumatic Injuries, Illnesses, Doctors, and Hospitals

What injuries might my character suffer in an auto accident that would require hospital treatment for at least three days?

Can my serial killer nurse use injected air to kill her victims?

Can an air embolus cause a stroke in my character who has had recent open-heart surgery?

Can my severely alcoholic character suffer blackouts and lost memories?

What happens when someone in a coma wakes with amnesia?

Is it possible for someone to be relatively immune to anesthesia?

Can nasal trauma cause my character to lose his sense of smell?

Can a stroke leave my character paralyzed from the waist down and unable to say what he wants to say?

How was locked-in syndrome treated in the 1880s?

How would my character with adult respiratory distress syndrome be treated?

How would my character whose arm is trapped beneath an overturned vehicle be treated once rescued?

What does the victim of an arrow to the heart look like, and how would he die?

Can withholding or tampering with an inhaler lead to death in an asthmatic, and can the ME determine that asthma was the cause of death?

What injuries could my character suffer if struck by a car?

Could a doctor save an unborn child if the mother is shot and killed?

Can my automobile accident victim be blinded but otherwise uninjured?

What could be used to kill a hospitalized patient who has had a recent bone marrow transplant?

Can a heated branding iron applied to my victim cause death?

What injuries can result from depleted uranium bullets?

Could a twelve-year-old boy suffocate a smaller child by sitting on him?

How would my car fire victim be treated in a specialized burn center?

What type of cancer is deadly but has neither outward signs nor symptoms that would attract attention?

How was ovarian and cervical cancer treated in the 1870s?

Can a blow to the head cause Capgras syndrome?

How long would it take my assailant to kill his victim if he used a choke hold?

How is a castration performed?

What factors determine whether a child can receive a blood transfusion from a parent?

What childbirth complications could lead to maternal death in a third world setting?

Is it possible for a woman to be in a coma for six weeks after childbirth and then awaken?

How were comas treated in the 1500s?

Under what circumstances would someone be placed into an induced coma?

What are the symptoms and signs of a miscarriage?

How would a pregnant woman and her child be treated if she was in a coma for a year?

What complications from a pregnancy could cause my female character to be unable to bear children in the future?

How was CPR performed in 1949?

How would my character perform CPR in a helicopter?

How could my killer murder a man with severe emphysema and make it look like a suicide or an accident?

What type of insanity would my character have if he hears voices telling him to kill?

What could cause disorientation in my middle-aged male character?

If a killer has had a bone marrow transplant and leaves blood at a crime scene, will this blood match him or the bone marrow donor?

What happens when my character contacts an electrified fence?

How was epilepsy treated in the 1940s?

What type of eye injury could require my character to be hospitalized with his eyes bandaged for several weeks?

What injuries might my character suffer while escaping from a burning house?

What types of injuries would occur if a woman was strangled by a cello string?

Could my character suffer an abdominal gunshot wound and survive for twelve to twenty-four hours before reaching medical help?

How long could my character survive after a gunshot to the femoral artery?

Can my hero be shot in the head and bleed significantly yet survive without major injury?

Could my character be shot in the head and suffer no real brain injury yet develop impaired memory?

What would a gunshot to the liver look like, and could the victim die in thirty minutes?

How would my character treat a suspect’s gunshot wound, and what would she use to sedate him?

What damage to my character’s hands would limit their use?

How long does the heart beat after death from hanging?

What unusual method of murder could my avant-garde woman use in the early 1800s?

How was hypothermia treated in 1975?

Can my character with a hysterical conversion disorder take care of herself?

What trauma could my character suffer that would make him sterile but not impotent?

What happens to someone who is confined in total darkness for an extended period of time?

How are donors and recipients of transplanted organs matched?

Was leprosy a problem in Victorian England?

Could someone executed by lethal injection be an organ donor?

What symptoms and problems would my young leukemia patient have while on a RV road trip?

How was lupus treated in 1939?

What injuries might my character suffer if knocked off his motorcycle by a nuclear explosion?

How long do harvested organs remain useful for transplant?

Could a flight attendant kill an allergic passenger with peanuts?

Can my female character suffer from polydactylism?

How would my character be treated if she was jabbed by a bone fragment at a crime scene?

What injuries could be caused by a blow from a shovel?

How was sickle-cell disease diagnosed thirty years ago?

What happens during smoke inhalation and how is it treated?

What might kill my character who is locked in a smokehouse?

How long could my character survive in an airtight freezer?

What would happen if my character is stabbed in the femoral artery?

Could my villain infect his victim with polio in 1932?

Were morphine drips for pain management used in 1965?

What injury could my tenth-century duke suffer that might take his life a decade later?

 

Part II: Poisons, Toxins, Medications, and Drugs

Are poisons still viable weapons in fiction?

What drug might worsen my character’s aphasia?

Can injected alcohol kill an already intoxicated person?

Can alcohol and narcotics be found in a corpse two days after death?

Can the combination of ammonia with chlorine bleach be deadly?

What injectable sedative could my special forces troops use to subdue an enemy?

Will snake venom injected into fruit cause death?

Could my killer use ingested venom as a method for murder, and would it be difficult to detect?

If my killer uses antifreeze for murder, how much would he need to give the victim?

Does ethylene glycol make an effective poison, and will alcohol negate its effects?

Was arsenic traceable in 1950s England?

Could arsenic be used by my villain to slowly poison someone?

Could my sleuth suspect that someone was planning a poisoning simply by seeing what he purchased in a grocery store?

Can large doses of aspirin make my character’s tinnitus worse?

Can death from consuming belladonna berries be confused with a heart attack?

What cardiac medications can cause dizziness and fainting?

Could my fifty-year-old woman with severe congestive heart failure be murdered with her prescribed medications?

Is there a drug that will quickly induce labor?

Could camphor cause a miscarriage?

Could my kidnapper use chloroform to render and keep someone unconscious?

Can my killer use carbon monoxide as a murder weapon?

How could my killer ensure a death from carbon monoxide in ancient Rome?

Can my murderous gardener use autumn crocus to kill his victims?

Could my killer make his own curare and then use it for murder?

Could my ancient Egyptian murderer add cyanide to the victim’s makeup and cause death?

Will a sedative added to coffee render a good-sized man unconscious?

What injectable drug could my WWII doctor give to cause a fairly quick death?

What drugs might my bad guy use to worsen another person’s Alzheimer’s disease?

What drugs could be surreptitiously given to a depressed individual that might lead to his suicide?

Can alcohol withdrawal be deadly?

What lethal, short-acting, hard-to-detect gas could my antagonist use to kill a train conductor?

What hallucinogenic drug could my thirteenth-century murderer use to cause death due to clumsy or reckless behavior?

Was Socrates’s death from hemlock peaceful or painful?

Could someone die from inhaling mercury-laced cigarettes?

What drug might kill an elderly woman several hours after administration?

How long would ketamine be detectable in blood obtained around the time of intoxication?

What painkiller could be used for surgery on board a ship in 1803?

What deadly drug might point to a medical student as the possible killer?

What substance available in 1579 could be employed for chronic poisoning?

What poison was available to my killer in the late nineteenth century?

Can propranolol be used as a poison?

What are the symptoms of ricin poisoning?

Is there a drug that mimics schizophrenia?

What drug available in 1977 could be used to sedate a ten-year-old child?

In 1962 could the coroner distinguish death from an auto accident from one caused by succinylcholine?

What household substances could a woman inject as a method for suicide?

How do hallucinogenic drugs affect a blind person?

In the 1920s would a physician give strychnine to treat poisoning from green potato skins?

 

Part III: The Police, the Crime Scene, and the Crime Lab

What forensic techniques were available in the late 1800s?

What blood and toxicological tests were available in England in 1924?

What evidence might link my killer to the rural site where he dumped the corpse?

Can beach sand be used to connect a killer to his crime?

How long does it take blood to dry?

Can stored blood be used to fake a death?

What substance available in 1924 would prevent blood clotting?

What clues would an MD see in a gunshot victim that would suggest the time of the murder?

Can blood found at a crime scene be matched to a missing person?

Can DNA analysis be done on a very small blood smear?

Can the ME distinguish wounds from an attack from those suffered in an automobile accident?

Could my character quickly recognize that blood on a Halloween costume was real and not fake?

Can a change in plants reveal the location of a buried corpse?

How long do crime scenes usually remain sealed?

Can mitochondrial DNA help my character distinguish her mother from her aunt?

Can paternal DNA alone prove that two stepsiblings are related?

Can DNA be extracted from a fetus?

Does the DNA in a transplanted organ adopt the DNA pattern of the recipient?

Can DNA be obtained from a submerged gun?

Can DNA be obtained from a half-eaten bagel?

Can animal DNA determine the type of animal involved in a fatal attack?

Can fibers found at a crime scene be linked to a particular pair of shoe covers?

Do gloves worn during a crime leave their own fingerprints?

Is gunshot residue unique to a particular weapon or ammunition, and could it be found on a jacket a week later?

What is the difference between MO and a signature?

How do investigators analyze threatening notes?

Prior to DNA testing, how was semen used in rape investigations?

 

Part IV: The Coroner, the Body, and the Autopsy

Can the ME distinguish between premortem and postmortem electrocution?

How would the ME determine cause of death and whether a victim had been moved after a fall down a flight of stairs?

Can the ME determine if a female corpse has had a previous abortion?

How would the coroner determine that a sixteen-year-old murder victim was pregnant at an autopsy?

Is it possible to determine the age, sex, and cause of death from only one or two fingers?

Can a decaying corpse produce alcohol?

Could the exhumed body of Houdini reveal whether he was poisoned or not?

How would the coroner’s report describe a death from a blow to the head?

What would an early twentieth-century autopsy room look like?

What cause of death is difficult to determine at autopsy?

What would a corpse look like after fifteen years buried in a mine, and how would it be identified?

Will my dead victim bleed if the killer saws open her chest?

After a knife wound does the blood clot or dry on the victim’s skin?

Can the handedness of an attacker be determined by the nature of a throat slash wound?

What crime scene evidence might exonerate the daughter of a man murdered by throat slashing?

How long would a corpse remain intact in a Michigan lake?

In 1935 could a coroner determine the time and cause of death in a victim struck on the head and tossed into a cold mountain lake?

What would a corpse look like after twelve hours in a boiling hot spring?

Is it possible to determine that bones are one hundred or more years old as opposed to being “fresh” simply by looking at them?

Can DNA be obtained from one hundred-year-old bones, and can finger bone be distinguished from skull bone?

What can my killer add to the burial site that would hasten corpse decomposition?

How would my killer completely destroy a corpse?

What would a corpse look like after sixty years in a submerged freezer?

Can my character fake his own death by substituting another corpse?

Could my coroner determine that a young girl was already dead before being burned in an arson fire in 1912?

Could my ME identify and determine the cause of death in a corpse frozen for thirty years?

Could the ME determine the time of death if the corpse remained in an air-conditioned office building for three days?

What would a corpse look like after ten years in a septic tank?

What would a corpse look like after ten years in a silage pit?

What would a corpse look like after sixty years in a miniature submarine?

What device might detect the residual odor of a corpse in a car trunk?

What would my pregnant drowning victim look like after twelve hours in the ocean, and can an accurate time and manner of death be determined?

Before the invention of the stethoscope, how did a physician determine if someone was dead?

What materials would the ME use to identify a murder victim if only a limb was found?

Can the ME determine where a drowning took place?

What types of bugs visit a decomposing corpse, and how do they develop?

How would an ME determine that a rock hammer caused the wounds on a corpse?

What would a corpse look like if the person dies from injecting a combination of heroin and strychnine?

How would the identification of a child abducted at the age of one month be accomplished when his corpse is found seven years later?

How would my investigators identify a corpse that had a pacemaker?

Could my coroner in 1946 England distinguish a heart attack or stroke from a blow to the head as the cause of death?

How does the coroner locate needle marks on a corpse?

Can my killer reposition a stiff corpse?

How would a semen stain be revealed in 1906?

Could my forensic anthropologist determine from skeletal remains that the victim’s carotid arteries had been severed and her heart removed?

What would the corpse of a Civil War soldier look like when unearthed 130 years later?

Do teeth and their fillings remain in a skull twenty years after death?

Could the ME determine that a victim’s tattoos had been applied postmortem?

 

Part V: Odds and Ends, Mostly Odds

Could my killer completely drain a human body of blood and make it appear as if a vampire were the culprit?

How long could a man survive chained to a wall in a subterranean environment?

How long could my character survive if buried alive?

How would a snowplow blade damage a frozen corpse, and would my coroner be able to determine the cause and manner of death?

How would my scientists analyze tissues obtained from an unknown life-form?

Could DNA from spontaneously combusted vampires reveal their age?

In my speculative fiction story is a mutant gene that causes homicidal behavior believable?

Can my marine biologist name a newly discovered species after herself?

Could my young girl, who is both vampire and vampire slayer, each with its own blood type, develop medical problems from this blood mixture?

Will flies deposit eggs on an injured but living individual?

Could my character hide a key beneath his skin?

What effect would facial immersion in molten bronze have on my character?

What would happen if a parasitoid insect ate a human from the inside out?

What happens when someone swallows razor blades?

What physical changes and sensations would my character experience as he transforms into a jaguar?

How long could my victim survive while being skinned?            

© Douglas Lyle 2015