Sunday, December 17, 2006

News: Murder the Write Way

Tess Gerritsen, bestselling author of the Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles mysteries, writes in the Washington Post that as an author of mystery novels and medical thrillers, she inhabits a world in which killers are ruthlessly efficient and assassins seldom make mistakes. So when she considers the recent death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with radioactive polonium in London, the sheer clumsiness of the crime astonishes her.

She adds, Litvinenko's killer chose a poison that is rare and easily tracked: polonium-210. Extremely toxic, polonium is difficult to handle and it leaves a telltale trail of radioactive contamination, which British police have used to trace the poison's spread -- and presumably the killer's footsteps -- throughout London. The villain may as well have left a trail of breadcrumbs. The poison allowed the victim to live for days, during which he was able to provide police with vital information.

Had this been a fictional account, Gerritsen suggests alternative methods of murder that would have been more efficient. And, if she were writing this story, the plot suggests a specific villain as the mastermind behind the murder. Or does it?

Read her entire analysis on WashingtonPost.com here.

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