by Linda Rodriguez
I live in terror that my husband will be murdered. Not likely with the sweet, kind, lovable man he is, but I worry, nonetheless. “And why might that be?” you ask. Is it because he leads a disorderly, reckless life where such a thing might be a real possibility? Is he an addict or lover of risky behavior? No, he’s an almost boringly normal, law-abiding person. I worry because the police always look at the spouse first as the most likely suspect, and one of the first things they will do is to check my computer’s online history to find out what I’ve been researching, such as murder methods. And with me, they’ll hit the jackpot.
My online history includes searches about how much force is required at what angles to pierce the jugular vein, how to murder someone taking a blood thinner after a heart attack with rat poison so that it won’t show up in the autopsy, antifreeze poisoning and the amount to be fatal, what golf club would have to be used at what angle to kill someone with one blow to the skull, how fast a person would die if stabbed in different locations of the body, how to poison someone who’s been drinking with acetaminophen, and other fascinating, if morbid, topics.
I am not now—nor have I ever been—intending to kill my wonderful husband—or anyone else—but if someone else ever does, I’d have a hard time convincing investigators, prosecutors, and a jury of that with my weird online search history. Then there are all my emails to the Poison Lady, who answers my questions about poisoning someone with oil paints and other easily purchased items. Things might look very dark and damning for me.
Many of my friends face similar threats if their spouses were ever to die an untimely death by foul play. Foul play is our life’s work since we write mystery novels, and that makes us a very weird group of people who, while sightseeing in a new locale, remark that such and such a place would be a great place to stash a corpse. At professional conferences, we often disconcert the wait staff in restaurant or bar as we sit in groups, gleefully talking methods of slaughter and ways to escape discovery. There’s just something about a large group of mystery writers laughing hysterically about hiding bodies or a new murder technique or scheme to fool the police that seems to set wait staff’s nerves on edge. Fortunately, mystery writers tip extremely well.
Of course, the investigators of the murder I hope my husband never suffers will find more to throw them in a tizzy and confuse them. After living with me for so long and attending many of those mystery conferences, my husband has been known to comment on good places to hide a murder victim or great spots to have someone stumble on a dead body. I just hope he hasn’t been researching murder methods. After all, he writes scholarly books, not mysteries, but he’s an excellent researcher. If he’s been looking at the best vein or artery to cut if you want someone to bleed out instantly, I’m going to start locking up the kitchen knives.
What about your internet search history? Would it stand up to a criminal investigation?