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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Writing Mysteries  / Mysteries By Members  / Short Mysteries  /

A Survey in Strychnine: A Variation
Angie L. - 06:18am Jan 12, 1999 PST


I first met my close personal friend, Charlotte Colmes, in the autumn of 1887. I had just arrived in London from a three-year stay as a nurse in America. Upon my arrival my sister had planned on introducing me to a young lady of her acquaintence who had been looking for someone to share rooms with in Montague Street. My sister insisted that we would take an instant liking to each other. "She is a bit odd, Jane, but don't fret. She's as nice a young woman as you're ever likely to meet." We arrived at the flat early the next morning, and from that moment on my life was changed for the better. I saw her standing with her back to us, admiring the painting which had been hung on the wall. She was exceedingly tall, although the boots she wore may have contributed to her height. She was also very thin and wore a blue taffeta dress. She heard us approach from behind, and she turned to face us fully. "Miss Charlotte Colmes, Miss Jane Dodson," my sister said. "How do you do?" Charlotte Colmes said to me. "How do you do?" I replied. "You have been in America, I believe." "Why, yes, I have. However could you tell?" "From your clothing, naturally. The particular fashion you are wearing is currently very popular with American women. Also, I see traces of reddish dirt caked on the sides of your boots. That sort of dirt is usually found in areas of the United States. Take Maryland, for example. I think, too, that you have worked as a nurse." "Quite unbelieveable!" I commented, smiling. "Commonplace," answered my new friend. "May I ask how you gathered that I was a nurse?" "That is simple enough," said Charlotte. "Your sister told me." We moved aside to allow several men to carry a piano into the flat. "Thank goodness we're on the ground floor," I observed. "I hope you don't mind piano music," Charlotte Colmes said to me. "I tend to play on occasion when I am not busy with other things." "No, I do not mind at all," I replied, "provided the player plays well." Charlotte's eyes sparkled. "Then you shall have no problem with it at all. When will you be moving in?" "Within the next few days."

Previous MessagesEarliest MessagesOutlineRecent Messages (9 previous messages)
Angie L. - 12:39pm Jan 12, 1999 PST(#10 of 15)

"What are you titling it?"
"Oh, I thought something along the lines of, 'A Survey in Strychnine'."

PoisonGuy - 01:15pm Jan 12, 1999 PST(#11 of 15)
I got my Nemesis pregnant!

Your story is real good and entertaining.

I don't know if you are familiar with the works of Umberto Eco, but he has a similar senario in The Name of the Rose, in which he uses arsenic on the corner of the pages and victims are poisoned when they moisten their fingers to turn the page. Great book.

Arsenic is a good choice in his book because he was trying to poison the people chronically, by accumilation. Strychnine is more of an acute poison. Symptoms develop fairly rapidly from ingesting too much in one sitting, although chronic accumilation occurs it is less common. I assume that he reacted to the poison near the beginning of the book, given the symptoms you describe, since they are manifestations of acute poisoning (arched back due to seizures). I don't know what era this was supposed to have taken place, but nowadays strychnine is no longer used as a rodent killer, being replaced by anticoagulants, but people may have some stored in sheds from many years ago. I don't know if this information is of any value to you, but I felt like it may.

I enjoyed your presentation very much. Good luck.

Spooky Lady - 05:45am Jan 13, 1999 PST(#12 of 15)
I have a cold.

Great story, I really enjoyed it.

I do agree with the comments above though. Good luck with the rewrite!!

Angie L. - 04:34pm Jan 14, 1999 PST(#13 of 15)

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my story, "A Survey in Strychnine: A Variation". Did it seem familiar? I wrote it as a variation on the Sherlock Holmes stories. Charlotte Colmes of course is the female Holmes, and Jane Dodson the female Watson. As a final note, I would also like to extend my thanks to those who offered their comments.

Eclipse - 08:08pm Aug 29, 1999 PST(#14 of 15)
The hasty stroke goes oft astray-J.R.R.Tolkien

Good variation, as I read it I thought of only Holmes and Watson, and their mysteries. Well put together, lots of nice details, I would love to read more of your work.

Adrianne Tayler - 07:30am Oct 6, 1999 PST(#15 of 15)

I like it. It's a good variation of the Holmes version. I found yours more entertaining, though.

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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Writing Mysteries  / Mysteries By Members  / Short Mysteries  / A Survey in Strychnine: A Variation

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