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Strychnine: Classic & Painful Poisons

Strychnine: An Agonizing Death For Your Fictional Character:

Letter- S of the A to Z Blogging Challenge

Kill her with the slower acting poison, strychnine. 

You must really want your character to suffer...and suffer she will. Picture your character buckling to the floor and corkscrewing in agony while in the final throes of strychnine poisoning. While a popular choice for film and literature, it is not so popular in real life homicides.  One reason it may not be the most attractive real life choice for a killing is the bitter taste.

Strychnine is a colorless, crystalline powder with an extremely bitter taste. In literature, characters most often, swallow the deadly poison, but your victim can be poisoned by skin or eye contact. It can also be inhaled as a dust.

Strychnine attacks the central nervous system within ten to twenty minutes (sometimes longer if taken on a full stomach) and the symptoms are similar to tetanus or lockjaw. Symptoms start with the victim's face and neck becoming stiff, followed by uncontrollable and violent spasms in the arms and legs. The spasms become increasingly worse until the victim is almost continuously in an arched-back position. Think of a gymnast with both her hands and feet on the floor and her back in a high arch. The victim dies from asphyxiation.

Strychnine poisoning is usually fatal, unless the victim receives immediate medical care, before the convulsions and seizures begin.

Strychnine is listed at the highest level of toxicity and is currently used primarily as a rodent poison.

Listed as one of the top ten deadliest poisons in the world.

Agatha Christie once said, "Give me a decent bottle of poison and I'll construct the perfect crime." Read more about Christie's murders by poisons over on A Blog For English Lovers.

I'm sure many of you know this, but the story of Agatha Christie's beginning, goes something like this: Supposedly, during World War 1, a young woman challenged her sister to write a mystery in which the the villain commits an undetectable murder. The writer's response to that challenge was a brilliant and cleverly written piece of fiction that spins the tale of strychnine and murder. That story launched the career of one of the most famous mystery writers of all time. Agatha Christie's novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles was published in 1920 and Christie went on to write more than sixty more, successful mystery novels.

There is altogether too much strychnine about this case - The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie,  1920.

Wow, we're nearing the end of the month. I can't believe it. I know I've slacked off lately, on visiting other blogs, especially new blogs (blogs new to me). Let's all make a big final push this week and visit as many other blogs as possible, in the A to Z blogging challenge.


Melissa Sugar said...

Ah, the good old fashioned strychnine grin. An oldie but a goodie.

Melissa Sugar said...

Don't feel bad in not visiting all the contributors. The population of some 3rd World Nations is smaller than the number of us doing the A-Z Challenge!
Would that we could manage a successful writing career like Agatha! Enjoy the journey of this challenge. As a rare blood courier, I know all too well that life is a harsh mistress, not letting me out to play! :-)

Melissa Sugar said...

This set-up hates me. This is the 2nd time that I've tried to comment. Sigh. Enjoy yourself, Melissa. There are so many contributors this time. As a rare blood courier, I know that life is a harsh mistress, not letting us go to play when we would! Wouldn't it be great to have a successful writing career like Agatha?

Melissa Sugar said...

That's how it kills? Now I feel bad for putting out mouse baits.

Melissa Sugar said...

The first time I heard of it was in AC's book. All I remember is that it's an incredibly painful way to die.

Melissa Sugar said...

Aloha! Stopping by to check out your blog! Finding little bits of time during the day to blog hop and follow up on comments. My mother adored mysteries, especially the British kind.

Melissa Sugar said...

I love that - the population of some nations is smaller than the A-Z challenge participants. Gosh, it's been tough enough to keep up, much less blog hop and follow up on comments. But it's been a great experience.

Melissa Sugar said...

ewwww, I don't ever want to use poison against rats again... except letting my cats get to them can't be much better. :(

#atozchallenge, Kristen's blog:

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