The following was a prompt that got some interesting responses. The idea was to write a short story of the perfect murder. Here is the prompt. You will notice that the murder wasn’t quite perfect.
The perfect murder
I’m sure almost everyone who reads murder mystery novels wonders whether the perfect murder is possible, especially with the obvious intelligence of the officers that appear in those novels. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and here’s my opinion on the subject. There are three elements in catching a criminal in a novel. First, there is motive. I think that I’ve already got this one beat. My only motive would be to commit the perfect murder. It is not like it would be personal. Not only would that eliminate me as a suspect, but it would raise the possibility in police thinking of anyone in a relationship with the victim to be considered the killer. That element is a little too easy. I would almost want to have a very slight motive, so I would be considered and dismissed quickly as the killer. It would almost be more ‘sporting’ in that way.
Then there is means. This is tricky. Humans can be killed by a broad variety of means, but tend to be murdered by only a few of them: (gsw) gunshot wound, (bft) blunt force trauma, knifing, poisoning (the woman’s way), and suffocation. I like the idea of the victim killing himself or herself, but not in suicide, in a kind of stupidity on a grand level, a kind of Darwin Awards type of stupidity, that would ‘go viral’ on the internet. But how do you set a stupidity trap? Greed would be the perfect bait, as that is a powerful motivation for stupidity. Or leaving a poisoned chocolate bar, opened but not eaten on my desk at work. I wouldn’t be blamed as it would look like it was intended for me. Again the problem with that is that it does not seem sporting, on a par with those mighty white hunters who shoot mourning doves and call it sportsmanship.
Then there is opportunity. I think this is the hardest one, as I would want to be there to witness the results of my work. And, of course, I would need at least some opportunity to be able to perform the act in the first place.
I’ve got it. I will place the poison chocolate on Dave’s desk, along with a printed copy of what I have just been writing, at least as far as the “intended for me” part. Just about everyone at work has some sort of grudge against Dave (his constant bragging about being a published author, soon to be famous comes to my mind quickly). He belongs to a mystery writer’s group, so it wouldn’t be a surprising thing for him to write something like this. He comes in a little late every morning, which would give someone the opportunity to steal the chocolate and die. And if someone didn’t do that, then Dave would be killed, and it would be thought of as a strange form of suicide. That’s it. Now I just have to print this up and leave it in his desk. I think that I’ve thought of everything.