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BINGO! You’re dead! The strangest deaths in crime fiction…

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Have you ever heard of a victim in a crime fiction book being murdered with a bingo marker? Neither had we until last week when someone emailed in to tell us about a book featuring just such a killing. So it got us thinking about other weird deaths in the mystery books we’ve read. Here are some of the best the Crime Fiction Lover team can remember – ranging from the bizarre to the downright bonkers-elaborate!

bingobargemurderThe deadly bingo marker
The smoking ban has made bingo one of the safest sports in the world, but that’s no help to Kinky, the proprietor of the Bingo Barge. He meets his end at the tip of his very own ‘lucky’ bingo marker in Jessie Chandler’s humorous mystery Bingo Barge Murder, which is set in Minneapolis. Can coffee-shop owner and amateur sleuth Shay O’Hanlon get her friend Coop off the hook for Kinky’s murder? Maybe sleazy old Kinky would have been luckier if he’d stuck to PartyBingo.com
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HardBiteMonkey bite!
Snakes, tigers and sharks – sure, they’re dangerous animals. But monkeys? Well if you’ll indulge your imagination a little, yes, because in the pulp crime story Hard Bite by Anonymous-9, a trained monkey is indeed the murder weapon. This is a story of vengeance that sees paraplegic hit and run victim Dean Drayhart tracking down and sicking his helper monkey on drivers who leave the scene of their accidents. Trouble is, one day he uses Sid to kill the son of a drugs baron.
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silenceoftherainThe face hugger
No, we’re not talking about Alien. Our next strange death takes us to Brazil, the setting for The Silence of the Rain by Luis Alfredo Garcia Roza. In this book it’s the perpetrator of the crimes who meets a strange end when the woman he’s holding captive seduces him. However this isn’t an extreme case of Stockholm syndrome because, before long, she’s sitting on his face and he’s asphyxiating. There’s got to be a message in that villain’s death.
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vanishedmanHe just disappeared
The master crime author Jeffrey Deaver introduces a master illusionist in his book The Vanished Man. Except, his carnival ground tricks aren’t really illusions. When he saws a woman in half, for instance, he really does saw a woman in half. And later on when it’s time for the water torture cell, well, you can guess what happens… In fact the murders aren’t this magician’s ‘trick’ at all. He uses his skills to disappear from each crime scene long before anyone has a clue what’s really going on.
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mercyThe bends
Don’t you love it how, in crime fiction at least, killers get so obsessed with their art that they resort to incredibly elaborate means to torture and dispatch their victims. One of the most extreme I’ve come across is the antagonist in Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen. He keeps politician Merete Lynggaard in a compression chamber, increasing the pressure as the story goes on. Yes, he’s built a compression chamber just like the ones deep sea divers need to use. Of course, it also means that if our hero Carl Morck comes to rescue her, she’ll get the bends if he opens the chamber.
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murdersintheruemorgueKiller orangutan
Maybe Anonymous-9 is cleverer than we initially gave her credit for. Because, come to think of it, her murderous monkey Sid has reminded us of the work of that early crime fiction pioneer, Edgar Allen Poe. Regarded as the very first mystery story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue happen to have been committed by a hairy orangutan. Set in Paris, the case was investigated by C Auguste Dupin, crime fiction’s first sleuth, and the genre’s first victims were Madame L’Espanaye and her daughter. Click here for more classic crime.
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So, we’ve gone from bronzed bingo markers to hairy apes but we’re sure plenty more bizarre deaths have been dreamed up by crime fiction authors. Tell us about the best ones you’ve come across below. The person who posts the weirdest one will win their choice of book from the CFL library – the winner will be picked at 10pm GMT on Monday 25 March 2013.

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