In the previous article, we discussed about physically-locked rooms on the topic of  “the murderer enters the room and commits the crime“. Though it does seem pretty cool when it comes to tricks to lock the room, it feels like there’s something more to dig in……

Is there a way, through which the murder can be done without entering the room?

This idea would definately broaden our horizons. But what specifically should we do? Well, there exist two main problems:

  • Commit the murder. We didn’t talk about it before–for under the circumstance of “entering the room”, it is of little importance how you eliminate your target. However, things are different this time: how to kill people “at a distance“? (No magic or sorcery, please)
  • Dispose of the weapon. Suppose you, a murderer, had used all your wisdom to kill your enemy–only forgotten to dispose of the weapon. If so, things could be really bad: it would be easy to tell, that just because the murderer hadn’t entered the room was he unable to take the weapon away. So, in order to make others confused, it is essential that you try to dispose of the weapon.

These two problems, as you may tell, are linked with each other–surely the type of weapon used would decide whether it is hard to restore it. However, in order not to limit our thought, by simply viewing them as sequential stages, I will discuss them separately.

1. Tricks to commit the murder

1.1 The murderer make the victim move close to himself

It’s actually a kind of reverse thinking: if I can’t get close to him, then why not let him move close to me? However, watch the way I put it–it suggests two possible plans:

  • Let the victim move by himself. For example, suppose the victim was familiar with the murderer. In this case, if he was called by the murderer at the window, though may feel strange at first, he would probably answer it, and then…you know the story. Also, apart from windows and ventilation openings, keyholes are a good choice. Despite relatively small in size, they can be enlarged by dismantling the lock (provided that you are able to put it back), and are much more difficult to be discovered. Weapons used here, most commonly, are pistols and crossbows.
  • The murderer himself move the victim. Suppose there’s a sealed room, with a lonely window placed four or five meters above the ground. In this case, apparently, it would be improper to ask the victim to move by himself. So, try to “lift” the victim near the window, as is illustrated by the pictures below:

Of course, this is a very specific scenario. Under some circumstances, however, what the murderer has to do is to move the victim “horizontally“. For example, the victim has a limp and must move on a wheelchair. The murderer attachs a hook to one end of a long stick, then manages to hook the wheelchair, and drags the victim towards him. Or, the murderer uses certain items to make the floor tilt…

Or, not to “lift”, but “go down“…

Well, actually, these are all my imagination.

1.2 The murderer uses certain mechanism or telefactor to kill the victim

That is to say, the murderer went into the room in advance and made certain preparations, which enables him to commit the crime at a distance. Common tricks are: breaking electronic devices, causing leakage of electricity or making them explode during operation; setting up launchers triggered by trips or sensors; setting up convex lens, focusing sunlight on something that is easy to burn or explode; breaking gas devices, causing leakage of gas, which leads to explosion or poisoning.

At the same time, modern technologies have brought us with new possibilities. For example, let us suppose that the victim was fast asleep on the sofa. The murderer controlled the nursing robot inside the room (wait, how come there is a nursing robot?) to lift the sofa and tilt, which caused the victim to die of fall.

So I guess…maybe it’s better not to place anything in the room?

1.3 The murderer uses gaps or holes of the room to kill the victim

Do have this in mind: being inaccessible to humans does not mean being inaccessible to everything. If the murderer himself can’t get inside, just send something that would do the job! Based on this theory, we have two ideas:

  • shooting arrows, bullets or knives inside
  • sending poisonous gas (like CO) inside

It seems out-of-fashion, but this trick is easy and flexible.

1.4 The murderer uses plants or animals to kill the victim

Well, maybe it seems a bit ridiculous…But to be frank, given that there’re so many types of plants and animals in this world, it would be pretty undiscoverable if you use them as weapons. However, if used inproperly, it would be easy to become inequal for readers (for example, a mysterious plant/animal from Africa or the Amazon Rainforest). So, our murderers, do pay attention.

First, plants. Commonly used plants are those with poisonious juice or pollen, or with strong aroma. If put intendedly inside the room, the people living in it would face serious threat. To learn more, just search for “plants that should never be brought indoors”.

Next, animals. Ordinary pets like doggies and cats are usually not considered, and the best choice would be animals that are easy to get angry and aggressive, for if the murderer provokes them, they may turn to attack their owners, and the whole thing would look like an accident. Also, the murderer may apply poison to paws of small animals. If the victim gets scratched, he will probably ignore the incident, but soon gets poisoned.

So, next time someone sends you a present, you may…happily keep it, and be careful.

2. Tricks to dispose of the weapon

2.1 The murderer makes the weapon to disappear naturally

Naturally, we would think of weapons made by ice, dry ice or freezed blood. With the time going by, the weapon melt, leaving no evidence. But remember:

  • if you use the ice, make sure the water evaporates as well
  • if you use the blood, better use that of the victim, or as least be of the same blood type

Comparatively, day ice might be better, but storing matters also deserve attention.

2.2 The murderer uses mechanism to send the weapon outside

Again, mechanism. But this time, the goal is different.

  • First, like what I’ve mentioned before, the murderer could tie ropes or threads to the weapon and easily drag them away from the outside.
  • Or, the murderer might stick the rope to an outdoor running machine (water wheels or millstones, for example), then the weapon will automatically get outside following the movement of the machine. The most wonderful thing about this, is that the murderer doesn’t need to work by himself!
3. To our detectives

1. Examine the structure of the room, especially the positioning of the body and the window (ventilation opening, door). Is the body right before the window? Or above? Below?

2. Is there anything weird in the room? Are there scrapes? Is there damp? (Looks familiar? Yes, we talked about this before)

3. Are there any intentional arrangements outside the room? Are there man-made “channels” or “bridges“, so that the weapons could be carried outside?

4. Are there plants or flowers at the scene? If so, were they ordered by the victim? Or someone close to the victim?

5. Does the victim raise animals? Did animals have unnatural behaviours before and after the incident (for example, those before the incident might be the rehearsal made by the murderer)?

6. Was the breakdown of electronic devices a coincidence? Did those devices have problems long before?

7. Is there a nursing robot in the room?

Well, the part of “Physically-locked Rooms” is over, what do you say? Please, feel free to leave a comment!

In the following article, we are going to discuss the next exciting part: Psychologically-locked Rooms.

To be continued.

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