Please Pass the Poison Milk

I saw this story (Pakistani bride kills 18 people with poison milk to escape arranged marriage) making the rounds on social media but it wasn’t until I did my own research about the story that I realize it was a few years old. According to the article, the 21-year-old woman tried to slip poison into her new husband’s milk and inadvertently killed 18 of his family members in the process.

This made me think of The Poisoner’s Handbook by science writer Deborah Blum which features true stories of poisoning gone wrong.

One of my favorite TV movies is Lethal Vows (1999). The movie is based on a true story of an ex-husband (portrayed by the late John Ritter) who poisons his ex-wife (portrayed by Marg Helgenberber) over a period of years with selenium.

The science of poison in the human body can be quite complex. Between the chemical make up of the poison and the medical science of how the body breaks down the poison. How much did the person they ingest, how much does the person weight, does the person have a fast metabolism or is the person allergic to anything? There is also the poison itself. Does the poison stay in a person’s blood stream or tissues, does the poison disappear completely and remain undetectable during a routine autopsy or toxicology screening?

A story about a medical examiner that has been poisoned could be interesting. Especially if the only person left to do the autopsy is the examiner’s newly-graduated intern.

Or

Two chefs competing for a prestigious prize — like their own show on the Food Network — and one of them ends up dead because of poison in a favorite spice.

Or

A new restaurant receives less than stellar reviews after a popular food blogger is found dead a few hours after writing the scathing review.

Or

When the usual methods for dodging curfew, being popular and getting into the college they have their hearts set on aren’t working. A team of students hatch a plan using poison to make all of their dreams come true.

Who wants to talk more about how you can use this idea in your current or next story?

[Credit: flickr/joshthecartoonguy]
E-mail emilie@real2reelscience.com Hours M-F: 5-10pm EDT, EST Weekends: 12-5pm and other times by appointment.
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