A Web search on Google is a lot like looking for your high school yearbook in your parents' attic. Chances are you probably will come downstairs without it, but as you go through the boxes, you discover all kinds of things you'd either forgotten about or didn't know you had.
For the book I'm writing, I'll have to describe a 9 millimeter gunshot wound to the head. I figured people post all kinds of things on the web, why not photos of gunshot victims?
So I went to the images section of Google and typed in "dead body" I didn't find the photo I was looking for but I found a page on Homicide in Chicago, 1870 - 1930 which I figure should come in handy if I ever want to write a mystery based in the 1920s. I also found the autopsy photo for the infamous 1947 "Black Dahlia" murder in Los Angeles, where a woman's mutilated nude body was found in a parking lot. (These photos will bring new meaning to the word "mutilated.") Then there was a site of really really creepy photographs taken by a Dutch photographer named Frank Ossen.
Oddly enough, mixed among the gruesome sites was an image of Tom Baker from the old "Dr. Who" television show, along with one of the female sidekicks. No one was dead, but it was nice to see, as Tom Baker was my favorite Dr. Who.
I probably could have saved myself some time if I'd could called up the local morgue and asked. I prefer not to take that route. You never know how that person will react to your question. That's an occupational hazard of mystery writers. When we're doing research for our books, people wonder if we're really planning to commit a crime instead of just writing about it.
You don't want to call up poison control and ask "Hey, if there's cyanide in someone's almond amaretto coffee, will they taste it?"
I finally did find what I was looking for. But I still wanted to share all that peripheral stuff that had nothing to do with what I what I was looking for, but was fascinating nonetheless.
Posted by judy5cents at 1:12 AM EDT