History Main / SerialKillingsSpecificTarget

16th Jan '17 6:47:14 PM PaulA
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* A variant is done in the 1944 SherlockHolmes film ''The Pearl of Death'': bad guys are looking for a pearl which was hidden in one of six china busts of Napoleon. They track down the owners of the busts and hire the Creeper to kill them, and then break open the bust to see if it's the right one. To cover their tracks, the Creeper breaks all of the victim's china, to disguise the fact that they're only really interested in the Napoleon busts.

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* A variant is done in the 1944 SherlockHolmes Franchise/SherlockHolmes film ''The Pearl of Death'': bad ''Film/ThePearlOfDeath'': Bad guys are looking for a pearl which was hidden in one of six china busts of Napoleon. They track down the owners of the busts and hire the Creeper to kill them, and then break open the bust to see if it's the right one. To cover their tracks, the Creeper breaks all of the victim's china, to disguise the fact that they're only really interested in the Napoleon busts.
13th Dec '16 6:38:50 PM PaulA
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* The Creator/DavidEddings novel ''Regina's Song'' has the killer butchering about two dozen sexual predators in the Seattle area. Although in this case the reason for killing so many of them wasn't to cover up the specific target, it was because Renata didn't know where to find the specific sexual predator who raped and murdered her twin sister, and so just went trolling for rapists until she found the one she was looking for. It is implied that she would have stopped killing after that point even if she hadn't been caught afterwords.
10th Dec '16 8:57:46 AM benda
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* One of the earliest examples (though the disguise is a military battle rather than a serial killing) is "The Sign of the Broken Sword" (1911) by Creator/GKChesterton, featuring Literature/FatherBrown. In his own words:

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* One of the earliest examples (though the disguise is a an intentionally provoked military battle rather than a serial killing) is "The Sign of the Broken Sword" (1911) by Creator/GKChesterton, featuring Literature/FatherBrown. In his own words:
10th Dec '16 8:51:17 AM benda
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* One of the earliest examples is "The Sign of the Broken Sword" (1911) by Creator/GKChesterton, featuring Literature/FatherBrown. In his own words:

to:

* One of the earliest examples (though the disguise is a military battle rather than a serial killing) is "The Sign of the Broken Sword" (1911) by Creator/GKChesterton, featuring Literature/FatherBrown. In his own words:
10th Dec '16 8:47:57 AM benda
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* Another early example of the device, the Creator/JorgeLuisBorges story "Death and the Compass," offers an interesting DoubleSubversion in that the villain's intended victim is [[spoiler: the detective himself, who turns up early after deducing the particular place and time suggested by the pattern to try and stop the last murder. He thus becomes the victim of an ambush by the killer, his longtime ArchEnemy.]] As above, the added twist makes this story a bit of an early, UnbuiltTrope version of the device.



* Another early example of the device, the Creator/JorgeLuisBorges story "Death and the Compass," offers an interesting DoubleSubversion in that the villain's intended victim is [[spoiler: the detective himself, who turns up early after deducing the particular place and time suggested by the pattern to try and stop the last murder. He thus becomes the victim of an ambush by the killer, his longtime ArchEnemy.]] As above, the added twist makes this story a bit of an early, UnbuiltTrope version of the device.
10th Dec '16 8:46:39 AM benda
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Added DiffLines:

* One of the earliest examples is "The Sign of the Broken Sword" (1911) by Creator/GKChesterton, featuring Literature/FatherBrown. In his own words:
-->'''Father Brown''': Where would a wise man hide a leaf? In the forest. If there were no forest, he would make a forest. And if he wished to hide a dead leaf, he would make a dead forest. And if a man had to hide a dead body, he would make a field of dead bodies to hide it in.
17th Oct '16 2:46:25 PM margdean56
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* ''Literature/NickVelvet'': In "The Theft of Santa's Beard", two men dressed as Santa are killed, seemingly at random. Several large department stores then recieve extortion letters warning that their Santa will be murdered in their store unless they make a large cash payment to the killer. However, the first two Santas were the intended victims all along, and the extortion attempt is a smokescreen.

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* ''Literature/NickVelvet'': In "The Theft of Santa's Beard", two men dressed as Santa are killed, seemingly at random. Several large department stores then recieve receive extortion letters warning that their Santa will be murdered in their store unless they make a large cash payment to the killer. However, the first two Santas were the intended victims all along, and the extortion attempt is a smokescreen.
26th Aug '16 8:14:58 PM ImperialMajestyXO
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* Another (cruel and stupid= variation: [[http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20099360,00.html in 1986]], Auburn, WA resident Stella Nickell had successfully killed her husband by poisoning his headache pills with cyanide. The coroner's report didn't mention any poison and listed his cause of death as emphysema, meaning she had gotten away scott free... until she got her husband's life insurance payout and noticed it was $106,000 less than she expected because the insurance company hadn't ruled her husband's death as being an accident. So she decided to try to reverse the decision by leaving her poisoned bottle in a store (resulting in the death of one other person) hoping the media would interpret it as another Tylenol-esque mass poisoning. Unfortunately for her, the greater scrutiny placed on this caused her to get caught.

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* Another (cruel and stupid= stupid) variation: [[http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20099360,00.html in 1986]], Auburn, WA resident Stella Nickell had successfully killed her husband by poisoning his headache pills with cyanide. The coroner's report didn't mention any poison and listed his cause of death as emphysema, meaning she had gotten away scott free... until she got her husband's life insurance payout and noticed it was $106,000 less than she expected because the insurance company hadn't ruled her husband's death as being an accident. So she decided to try to reverse the decision by leaving her poisoned bottle in a store (resulting in the death of one other person) hoping the media would interpret it as another Tylenol-esque mass poisoning. Unfortunately for her, the greater scrutiny placed on this caused her to get caught.
22nd Jul '16 9:58:39 AM Adept
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** Another Christie example is ''Three Act Tragedy''. Three people are killed by poisoned drinks at three separate dinner parties. The second murder is the significant one, while the third served to cover it up. The first murder turns out to have been merely a dress rehearsal for the second, with the victim chosen at random.

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** Another Christie example is ''Three Act Tragedy''.''Literature/ThreeActTragedy''. Three people are killed by poisoned drinks at three separate dinner parties. The second murder is the significant one, while the third served to cover it up. The first murder turns out to have been merely a dress rehearsal for the second, with the victim chosen at random.
8th Jul '16 5:30:29 AM Adept
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* {{Burke}} mentions this was a favorite tactic of ProfessionalKiller Wesley. He would kill one man, then burn down the building so the police would have a bunch of other possible victims/motives to investigate.
* In ''{{The List of Adrian Messenger}}'' a killer destroys a train and a plane just to get one person in each as part of a long range plan.

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* {{Burke}} ''Literature/{{Burke}}'' mentions this was a favorite tactic of ProfessionalKiller Wesley. He would kill one man, then burn down the building so the police would have a bunch of other possible victims/motives to investigate.
* In ''{{The List of Adrian Messenger}}'' ''Literature/TheListOfAdrianMessenger'' a killer destroys a train and a plane just to get one person in each as part of a long range plan.
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