Obviously, pathologists use rigor mortis, livor mortis, algor mortis, body temperature and basic decomposition to determine a victim’s time of death. But, in a mystery suspense novel, we authors sometimes have to get a little more creative. Time of Death is often an important clue (or red herring) and one of the facts deduced by an interesting sleuth.
Here are ten ideas for your sleuth to determine Time of Death beyond normal forensics.
- Victim was on the phone when killed
- Victim was sending or had just sent a text message or email message
- The victim’s arm hits something when he falls dead,busting the wrist watch and freezing the clock hands
- A neighbor hears a commotion/gun shot/scream at a specific time
- The victim pressed a monitored alarm at a specific time
- The victim was shot/stabbed/attacked while recording a video blog update, and managed to upload the video before dying
- Determining the development cycle of fly larvae in the wound
- The victim ordered a pizza. Twenty minutes later, the pizza delivery boy arrives and finds the body.
- The victim posted a message on an Internet chat bulletin board before dying.
- The victim was filmed on a parking lot security camera.
Looking for more info? Check out these sites:
- Explore Forensics: Estimating the Time of Death
- 4 Ways to Determine the Time of Death in a Dead Person
- Forensic Entomology