Excerpt from the book called The Frisby Waterless Murders
“Hello Colin, you look eager for some news. Well, I have some, but not a complete picture just yet. I have to examine the stomach contents and get them analysed.”
“But from what you know…” began Knowles.
“So far, it looks like poisoning by a drug of the curare family. Something was dipped in curare, leading to asphyxiation owing to the inability of the victim’s respiratory muscles to contract.”
“By a blow dart?” said Knowles anxiously.
“Literally, Colin, yes and no.”
Knowles looked confused and open and closed his mouth a couple of times, like a goldfish.
“The explanation, Colin,” said Dr Crabtree holding up his hand to stop Knowles from talking, “is that there is a puncture wound in the left-hand side of his neck and also one in the back of his left hand. It’s entirely possible each wound could have lead to his death. I believe the one in the hand came first simply because this is the older wound and there is more bruising around the puncture.”
Knowles stroked his chin and looked at Barnes, who winced at the implication of what he’d just heard.
“So that could mean one or two murder attempts. What could have caused the puncture in his hand, Dr Crabtree?” asked Knowles.
“Well, it looks like one of those pins you stick in noticeboards could have been used, but if you stick one of those in your hand they sting, so the Major would have noticed…”
“…unless he was being distracted” continued Barnes
“…by the smoke coming into the carriage” said Knowles
“or if he was being helped to his seat by the steward and someone bumped into them as apparently happened twice,” said Barnes, “the steward didn’t notice who it was on either occasion.”
“Those pins can be hidden between your fingers and the point still sticks out, so you could just touch someone’s hand with your own and no one would think anything other than it was an affectionate gesture,” said Knowles.
“The wound in the neck was administered with more force so I am guessing a dart was used as we don’t have any other evidence at this stage,” continued Dr Crabtree, “but you would have thought the Major would have noticed.”
“Unless the curare administered by the hand wound was already taking effect,” said Barnes.