Wow, I really dropped the ball this week on posting. A thousand pardons to my three loyal readers. Let me pick up where I left off, and that’s the steps your crime fighter will go through at the crime scene. Today’s step is the last one, removing the body. I’m taking my info from Murder one: A Writer’s Guide to Homicide by Mauro V. Corvasce and Joseph R. Paglino. It’s part of the Howdunit series by Writer’s Digest, and it’s worth having on your resource shelf.
By the time your detective gets to this step in the investigation process, the coroner or medical examiner has arrived. Research this carefully! There’s either a coroner or a medical examiner, but not both, and if the town you set your story in is small enough, there might not be either. Anyway, back to the point. The coroner (or ME) will examine several key issues:
- the temperature of the room (or air, if it’s outdoors)
- the humidity of the room (or air)
- the weather in the area (not applicable if the body’s indoors)
These items are vital for establishing an accurate time of death. So many factors go into this, and sometimes it’s downright impossible to be completely accurate, but the closer the better. Then the body is taken to the morgue (again, research this to make sure your town has a morgue. Sometimes bodies have to be transported to the nearest morgue, which could be quite a distance away). An autopsy will usually reveal the cause of death and hopefully offer some additional clues to the killer’s identity.
Determining cause of death is a whole different can of worms, and there’s an entire book in the Howdunit Series devoted to that subject: Cause of Death
by Dr. Keith Wilson.
(I own that one, too – awesome book).
That wraps up the steps involved at the initial crime scene. There’s a whole lot left to cover, but I’m wondering if this subject is applicable to my faithful viewers. If you’re finding useful information in this series, leave me a comment that says you like it. If you’re bored out of your mind and wish I’d move on to something else, please say so. This blog is meant to be relevant and helpful, not boring and useless, and I aim to please. Thanks!