Injections of Insanity
Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling has just six weeks to solve a series of murders by insulin injection, with nothing to connect the victims except the manner of death and a note left at each crime scene.
The murderer, determined to avenge a wrong from many years earlier, gets close to his prey by assuming various identities.
Can Paolo win in his race against the pretender?
Paolo’s conversation with Barbara Royston, forensic pathologist, after the autopsy of the first murder victim
Week One – Friday 25th July to Thursday 31st July
“From my examination and the evidence the body presented at the scene, I would stake my reputation that he died as a result of insulin overdose. He wasn’t diabetic, so the overdose was probably administered by his mystery visitor. What I don’t understand is why the killer drew attention to the fact by leaving the note.”
Paolo sat forward. “But wouldn’t it have been obvious even without that?”
“No,” said Barbara, “and that’s what makes it so odd. Insulin overdose is the easiest way of killing someone with a better than average chance of it going undetected.”
Dave stopped writing. “I don’t follow,” he said.
“Because it’s a naturally occurring substance it is difficult to spot, unless the forensic pathologist is specifically looking for it in overdose, as I was today. Your killer knocked the professor out with an anaesthetic, so he could have injected him somewhere hidden, such as between the toes. It’s highly likely he could have tidied up the room and made it look like a natural death, but he didn’t go that route. He made sure you knew it was murder by leaving the chaos behind, not to mention the note. What I don’t understand is: why? Why use something that is often overlooked in autopsy and then draw attention to it?”
“Because he is sending out a message,” Paolo said. “That’s the only thing that makes sense. What the message is and whether it is intended for us, or to the other five he has on his list, we’ll only know in due course. The most important thing right now is to work out who the other five might be.” He stopped and thought for a moment. “So does the fact that he used something to knock him out and insulin point to a doctor, or at least someone in the medical profession? That would narrow it down a bit.”
Barbara shook her head. “Sorry to disappoint you, but no. Insulin is freely available on the internet. It shouldn’t be, in my opinion, but it is. Chloroform, on the other hand, isn’t so easy to get hold of. It used to be, but it is fairly tightly controlled now. I’ve run a tox screen and I’m fairly sure it will come back with something easily accessible to the general public via one of those online medical supply sites. Good luck with trying to find out which site sold the insulin. There are hundreds of them and they are situated all around the globe. It’s something that really worries the medical profession here, but we are powerless to do anything about the situation.”
“Bloody internet causes more problems than it solves,” Paolo said. “When someone is targeted through twitter or Facebook, the public gets up in arms, screaming something should be done, but as soon as a solution is suggested and they realise it will impact on their own use of social media, it suddenly becomes fascist to suggest putting curbs on what can and cannot be done online.”
Paolo stopped and glanced across at Barbara. She was grinning at him.
“Want a soapbox?” she asked.
Author Bio –
When not working on her D.I. Sterling Series, Lorraine Mace is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service. She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of THE WRITER’S ABC CHECKLIST (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel VLAD THE INHALER – HERO IN THE MAKING, and NOTES FROM THE MARGIN, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.
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