Feb. 2nd, 2009

zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
So I'm trying to poison a character with something left inside his cup which, when mixed with the wine that fills said cup, will kill him. I need something that might, after the wine has settled a while, leave a bit of an oily film, and my subconscious said, for no reason I'm aware of, "Alkaloids!" Then I spent some time ruling out various New World alkaloid poisons because this is early 16th century Denmark, and various alkaloid poisons that smell like mouse-droppings.

I don't quite get the point of a poison that smells like mouse-droppings. If it smelt like rabbit droppings it might work, but only if you were trying to kill a rabbit. Anyone else is going to say "This shit smells like crap" and refuse to drink it.

So I ended up with belladonna, and then I was discussing with Irina whether it'd leave the requisite oily film. One of us remembered that nutmeg was an alkaloid and, as I have a lot more nutmeg in the pantry than belladonna, I decided I'd run an experiment with that. Then I forgot because I was actually getting writing done. (Yeah! I know!) But tonight I remembered.

One wine glass was filled with pure (albeit extremely cheap) red wine as a control in case I hadn't washed the glasses properly.

Into a second glass 1/8 tsp nutmeg was placed. Next red wine was added.

At this point it was realised that 1/8 tsp nutmeg was in excess of the amount that would give best results. Therefore a third glass was dusted with minute amounts of nutmeg and red wine was added.

Nothing unexpected was observed on the surface of the contents in the control glass, thus vindicating my housekeeping skills.

However on the surface of the second and third glasses, a thin layer of nutmeg powder was immediately observed.

It was recalled that, whereas nutmeg comes in powder form, belladonna comes in an oleous solution. It is likely that these two substances have different properties as a result. Recalling this before beginning the experiment would have saved on red wine and, more importantly considering how cheap said wine is, on time spent doing dishes.

[My sisters will recall that I have a history of designing scientific experiments that turn out to be, at best, tangential to my auctorial needs. There was the time I burnt a match in order to taste the burnt wood only to realise that a) burnt wood tastes like burnt anything and b) what my story actually wanted was a description of what burnt wood smelled like.]

Further research is required with olive oil.


zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)

July 2017

234567 8

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 20th, 2017 12:42 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios