By Chester Campbell
It's pretty difficult for a mystery writer to come up with a new way to do in a victim. Authors have used about every means of destroying lives you could imagine. But I've come up with one I don't think has been used before.
My wife, who has suffered with atrial fibrillation for several years, is having a pacemaker implanted in her chest today. Her heart has been out of rhythm for several months. They shocked it back into rhythm twice before, but her cardiologist was as bit reluctant to go that route again. After she kept getting breathless from simply working around the house, they put her on a heart monitor and found her heart wasn't beating faster when it should. The doctor said she was a candidate for a pacemaker.
When she went to the beauty shop recently and told about her coming surgery, some of the women said, "Oh, you won't be able to use the microwave anymore." She didn't believe that, so I looked up a medical site and checked into pacemakers.
In case you aren't familiar with the device, it's a watch-sized gadget powered by a battery that is implanted under the skin in your chest and connected to your heart by tiny wires. The pacemaker is a computer that monitors your activity and sends impulses to keep your heart rate at a steady pace depending on what's required.
The information on the website assured us that the microwave would not interfere with the pacemaker under normal conditions. The same applies to other household appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, etc. But it cautioned about working around machines like generators and anything that produces a strong magnetic field. An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a no-no.
So, being a mystery writer accustomed to thinking "what if?" I came up with the idea of using a device called a magnetizer. The murderer would place it close to the victim's chest, causing the pacemaker to go wild, throwing the unlucky person into cardiac arrest. The death would be blamed on a faulty minicomputer.
Okay, I'd have to check this out with the good Dr. Doug Lyle to be sure of it's feasibility, but it sounds good. You can always find a reason to give your character a pacemaker, can't you?. They're quite popular these days.
Visit me at Mystery Mania.