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Writer's Block:
Mailing your own head?
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Mailing your own head?:

 1 joeyjojo, Thu, 8th Mar '12 6:41:06 AM from The Magic Land Of Oz Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Storm the bastille!
I have this semi serious idea for a Locked Room Mystery where an Asshole Victim is found decapitated (and dead obviously) and whose head turns up in the mail of the main character. Who now must find the real culprit of the crime or risk being incriminated as the murderer.

The twist of the story being that, rather than being murdered, the victim actually had taken their own life and somehow arranged for their head to be removed and fed exed to the protagonist in posthumous revenge for a past grievance. Entirety single handedly.

Now is there anyway, -at all- this turn of events could be made to be remotely plausible?

edited 8th Mar '12 7:06:09 AM by joeyjojo

Mn Hovercraft st plen de nguills

Maybe with robots?
 
 3 joeyjojo, Thu, 8th Mar '12 6:57:51 AM from The Magic Land Of Oz Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Storm the bastille!
The setting was the 20s so I doubt it that would work.
Mn Hovercraft st plen de nguills

 4 moocow 1452, Thu, 8th Mar '12 6:58:45 AM from The Internet
The Web Wanderer
He would have to probably work with a shipping company, or have access to a shipping center for it to be remotely plausible. Have him guillotine himself in front of an auto package kiosk so that his head hits the box, box goes into pickup, a machine auto packages it and ships it to the detective. It would take a bunch of prep time, and the guy would have to preemptively cover his tracks, and give up his life obviously, but it could probably be done.
Diagonalizing The Matrix
So Bob gets a decapitated head in the mail. Presumably, he immediately calls the police. The cops investigate Bob, but they don't have anywhere near enough evidence to press any charges against him.

Result:

Old nemesis — decapitated; dead
Bob — inconvenienced, probably lost a few afternoons
Cost to Benefit ratio of plan: Subpar.

Also,

rather then than being murdered

edited 8th Mar '12 7:03:50 AM by TripleElation

Pretentious quote || In-joke from fandom you've never heard of || Shameless self-promotion || Something weird you'll habituate to
 6 Madrugada, Thu, 8th Mar '12 7:02:39 AM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
If by "entirely singlehandedly" you mean "with absolutely no assistance from anyone of any kind", then unless you're writing a story where ghosts are real and are capable of physically manipulating physical objects in the real world, then No, I can't see a way to do it. Someone else would have to tape up the box, if nothing else.

edited 8th Mar '12 7:02:56 AM by Madrugada

'He strutted across the bedroom, his hard manhood pointing the way' sounds like he owns a badly named seeing-eye dog. 'Sit, Hard Manhood!
 7 joeyjojo, Thu, 8th Mar '12 7:04:47 AM from The Magic Land Of Oz Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Storm the bastille!
The main problem with the guillotine is the spray of blood is going to be a give away... but they could say killed themselves before hand by slitting their wrists and then setting the guillotine to a timer of some sort.

This is getting kind of macabre isn't it?
Mn Hovercraft st plen de nguills

[up]Not to mention dispose of the body.
 
 9 joeyjojo, Thu, 8th Mar '12 7:11:19 AM from The Magic Land Of Oz Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Storm the bastille!
So Bob gets a decapitated head in the mail. Presumably, he immediately calls the police. The cops investigate Bob, but they don't have anywhere near enough evidence to press any charges against him.

Bob's an immigrate. Remember 20s.

Not to mention dispose of the body.

If the guillotine is made entirely of wood maybe some sort of fire trap could take care of it. Can wood decapitate someone?

edited 8th Mar '12 7:12:37 AM by joeyjojo

Mn Hovercraft st plen de nguills

 10 Triple Elation, Thu, 8th Mar '12 7:18:03 AM from Haifa, Isarel
Diagonalizing The Matrix
Hm. Well, in that case he can just take the head, burn it and bury whatever remains of it.
Pretentious quote || In-joke from fandom you've never heard of || Shameless self-promotion || Something weird you'll habituate to
 11 joeyjojo, Thu, 8th Mar '12 7:27:32 AM from The Magic Land Of Oz Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Storm the bastille!
what i'm thinking is that frank's body is found, bob is the main suspect and is questioned/tailed by police. Then the mail arrives in full view of everybody.

edited 8th Mar '12 7:27:39 AM by joeyjojo

Mn Hovercraft st plen de nguills

 12 Yamii Denryuu, Thu, 8th Mar '12 8:01:28 AM from You know, that place Relationship Status: Chocolate!
DOES NOT APPROVE
You sure you absolutely need the guy to pull this off entirely single-handedly? Couldn't he have just a few accomplices who were kept in the dark about why this guy needed to mail his head to another guy? You could have Bob, while trying to find the real culprit, follow a few leads to them only to find that they can't give him any real information - essentially making them red herrings - but manage to get just enough info from them to track down the real culprit, who is... the dead guy.
Sam just... punched his own face and died in a marsh. And Pippin got lost, and Frodo was dead.
 13 moocow 1452, Thu, 8th Mar '12 8:02:32 AM from The Internet
The Web Wanderer
You could have him sack the guy's sword, make that into a guilotine, then have it burn except for the sword, you'd have ash everywhere, but not much else.

Also, why would recieving the guy's head in the mail make him prime suspect #1 in the eyes of the police?
 14 joeyjojo, Thu, 8th Mar '12 8:37:59 AM from The Magic Land Of Oz Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Storm the bastille!
@Yamii Denryuu: Giving Frank accomplices seems too... I don't know... reasonable? Its lacks the over the topness of an elaborate suicide/Xanatos Gambit.

If anything else it robs some of the drama if there is any accomplices to prove bob's innocence. But hey I guess Frank could just take a hit out out or poison them before hand to clear up lose ends.

@moocow 1452: I like your idea of a sword, you're right though I need a better justification for him being a suspect though.

Right now the best I could come up with is this scene.

edited 8th Mar '12 8:38:31 AM by joeyjojo

Mn Hovercraft st plen de nguills

 15 Triple Elation, Thu, 8th Mar '12 8:48:31 AM from Haifa, Isarel
Diagonalizing The Matrix
Have someone handling the mail get suspicious because of the smell, dripping liquid, the way the package rattles and so on.

Also have the cunning-yet-suicidal villain put Bob's name and address on the FROM field.
Pretentious quote || In-joke from fandom you've never heard of || Shameless self-promotion || Something weird you'll habituate to
 16 Madrugada, Thu, 8th Mar '12 8:51:41 AM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Joey, you simply can't make it work. If he uses some elaborate contraption to package the head and get it to the delivery service, the contraption (or traces of it) will be there to be found with the body. If he doesn't, then How in the hell did he manage to pick up the head, put it in the package, seal the package, and get it out of the locked room and to the delivery service?

Do some reasearch on the time period you're working with: Self-adhesive packing tape wasn't invented until the 1930s. In the 20's, sealing tape was gummed, and had to be moistened to activate the glue. Dedicated package services like UPS and Fed Ex didn't exist. If you wanted to send a package, you used the mail or a messenger service (if it was small enough) or a cartage company (if it was big or heavy).

One essential part of a locked room set-up is the whole idea that while it can't have been done the way it looks like it must have been done, there is a valid way that it was done. You're focusing on the first half and ignoring the second. There is no way short of supernatural agency to have a decapitated man's head packaged up and sent to someone else without someone alive to do it.

Willing suspension of disbelief only goes so far. I can willingly suspend my disbelief on a lot of things, and this scenario would cause a catastrophic failure of my disbelief. I'd put the story down, walk away from it and never look back.

edited 8th Mar '12 8:53:12 AM by Madrugada

'He strutted across the bedroom, his hard manhood pointing the way' sounds like he owns a badly named seeing-eye dog. 'Sit, Hard Manhood!
 17 joeyjojo, Thu, 8th Mar '12 8:59:52 AM from The Magic Land Of Oz Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Storm the bastille!
Okay how is this

  • Frank wants to kill himself and frame Bob for it.
  • Frank builds a elaborate wooden suicide machine.
  • Frank places order for a package to be picked up from his front door.
  • Frank douses himself in gasoline, sets the machine up, and kills himself by slitting his wrists.
  • The machine's Guillotine chops off Frank's head. Head rolls down the wooden chute into awaiting box.
  • A series of strings and pulleys close the box and pushes it through the cat flap onto the front porch.
  • Package is picked up as planned.
  • fire trap activates and eradicates evidence of suicide machine.
  • fire alerts the Authority.
  • Police realise it's foul play from the missing head,
  • Police go speak to Bob, package arrives.
  • Bob is force to investigate crime to prove his innocence.

That's pretty reasonable isn't it?

edited 8th Mar '12 9:02:54 AM by joeyjojo

Mn Hovercraft st plen de nguills

Unfortunately, it really isn't - I don't even think Stephen King could fold that into a believable story.

I'm on that list of people who would set this book down and never look back.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
 19 Mr AHR, Thu, 8th Mar '12 9:04:30 AM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
It depends on the tone, for me. Is this a silly story or a serious story?
 20 Triple Elation, Thu, 8th Mar '12 9:10:07 AM from Haifa, Isarel
Diagonalizing The Matrix
Apart from the issues Madrugada mentioned, the solution to this mystery has a very... Self-contained nature to it. You'll want realizations, suspects, red herrings, and so on - the mystery unfolding gradually. What could the protagonist possibly discover here? A receipt from the neighborhood Rube Goldberg machine emporium?

Just add an accomplice. It'll save you a lot of trouble and ultimately provide a lead for the protagonist to follow. Also, for this kind of book I definitely recommend you do an outline.

edited 8th Mar '12 9:11:15 AM by TripleElation

Pretentious quote || In-joke from fandom you've never heard of || Shameless self-promotion || Something weird you'll habituate to
 21 joeyjojo, Thu, 8th Mar '12 9:17:25 AM from The Magic Land Of Oz Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Storm the bastille!
It's ment to be pretty togue in check but having the victim decapitate himself might being pushing it without ghosts or robots.

Okay just throwing it out there, what about an extremely well trained monkey?
Mn Hovercraft st plen de nguills

 22 Triple Elation, Thu, 8th Mar '12 9:19:09 AM from Haifa, Isarel
Diagonalizing The Matrix
Okay, I think I'm officially out of tune with what kind of story this is supposed to be. Better sit this one out.
Pretentious quote || In-joke from fandom you've never heard of || Shameless self-promotion || Something weird you'll habituate to
 23 joeyjojo, Thu, 8th Mar '12 9:23:04 AM from The Magic Land Of Oz Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Storm the bastille!
Well it's still a rouge draft, I'm just brainstorming here.

edited 8th Mar '12 9:23:25 AM by joeyjojo

Mn Hovercraft st plen de nguills

 24 Minister, Thu, 8th Mar '12 9:40:06 AM Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
Do Not Go Gentle
In Discworld? Yes. In anything that isn't Discworld? No.

Just have a friend who does it for him. Simpler and effective.
It's your God, they're your rules, you go to hell." - Mark Twain
Yeah, I can't see it working in anything other than an intentionaly silly parody of murder mysteries.

Total posts: 42
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