Sunday, June 9, 2013

Finding and Hiding Dead Bodies


Body in Beer Cooler Truck
Body in Dumpster behind Bar


I like to locate my dead bodies in interesting or odd places.  I think all mystery writers do this when they can, so I was thinking as I was trying to take a nap that it might be fun to come up with a list of places where a writer might locate a body.  I’ve tried to divide my list into categories.
All Around the House
            In bathtubs, large sinks, washing machines, dryers, stoves, dishwashers.  In closets, in the old coal bin in the basement or an antique trunk in the attic.  Tucked into the eaves, bricked up behind a wall, stuffed under the couch, hidden in the dog crate, shoved behind the draperies if in a hurry (to be moved later).  Under the front or back steps, behind the stack of newspapers that were to be moved last week.  In the hamper with the dirty clothes, then moved to the clothesbasket with the freshly laundered ones.
            Tied to the chimney, for who looks up there anyway?
For Outdoorsy folks
            Floating or weighted down in a stream, lake, river, or pond.  In a gravel quarry under a pile of crushed rock, or crushed by a rock under a pile of gravel.  In the woods, buried or propped up by a tree, as if enjoying the day.  In a swamp, but before the alligators find it. In a cave covered by bat doodoo.
            In the compost pile, under the mulch pile, buried in the garden or used for a scarecrow.  Lodged behind the bushes along the fence line, jammed into the wood chuck’s hole.  Under the grill cover which is never used anyway.  Tossed into a ditch along the road with the rest of the litter or tossed in the trash can at the interstate rest area.
Going on a Trip
            In the truck of the car or in the car carrier on the top (see outdoorsy locations for final resting place).  Left behind in a motel room under the bed, in the shower or in the spa or pool.  With the carryon luggage or, if willing to pay extra, checked with the other bags.  In the airplane lavatory or train lavatory.  Or in the bus station’s bathroom to be discovered when it is cleaned next month (year).  Dumped in a foreign country without a passport.
            Discarded in any of the outdoorsy locations suggested above in any country, e.g., On Top of Old Smoky, at the Great Wall or in the Kremlin.
            Sent into outer space (unmanned probe).
Body found in neighbor's brewery
Body found in protag's brewery
Scary or Ghoulish Places
            In a funeral home in its own coffin or sharing with another.  In a graveyard, buried alone (so overdone) or sharing (as above).  In a meat packing plant, incinerator in the county landfill or simply left out with the trash on Monday morning (see All Around the House above).
At a fun house in the tunnel of love.  Riding the Ferris wheel, merry go round or tilt a whirl.
            In a trick or treat bag on Halloween (big bag!).  Dressed as a corpse being pulled around in your kid’s red wagon on Halloween.
Old MacDonald’s Farm
            Since I grew up on a farm, I couldn’t resist this category.
In the milk cooler, under the manure pile, in the manure spreader (see the outdoorsy category for final resting places), in the hay mow, in the tack room, in the corn crib, in the chicken coop (that’s where I used to hide my teddy bear), in any piece of farm machinery—baler, corn picker, plow, hay wagon.  Down the well or up in the windmill (again, who looks up there?), in bossy or Dobbin’s stall.  Tucked in the middle of a herd of sheep, goats cows or horses, a tricky maneuver, but I’m certain any good writer could work around this one.  Feed troughs and water troughs are big enough to accommodate several bodies in case you’ve got a serial killer on your hands.
City Places
            On a bus, subway or in a subway tunnel.  In the 57th precinct coffee room.  In the fountain for a big splash.  Dressed as a mannequin in the department store window.  In a dressing room.  On the treadmill, stepper, spin bicycle or any other piece of equipment in a fitness club because everyone will just think the person is resting between reps.  In the mayor’s chair, just resting.  On the floor of the House of Representatives, again simply resting.  In Central Park, the most clichéd location.  In a ghetto, again cliched.  In a Park Avenue apartment or in their laundry chute, also clichéd.  Seated in a car in a parking garage.  Seated in a car at an expired meter.  Located in a trunk in the aforementioned locations is also cliched.  In the alleyway in a commercial dumpster along with the other bodies there the cops haven’t yet discovered.
Body at foot of stairs while protag pedals by chased by a gaggle of geese
It’s Your Business
            In any business such as in a dressing room (in my newest book due out Sept 15), behind the Slurpee machine at a convenience store, hidden with the two by fours in a Do-It-Yourself store, feet first with the cherry tree in the garden shop or side by side with yesterday’s pastries in a bake shop.
If I kept at this I’ll bet I could come up with more.  I’ve used some of the more absurd ones in my mysteries.  You too must have some great ones.  Share.



  1. Great list, Lesley!
    Your post reminded me of an episode of Criminal Minds where the team had just found two bodies at a remote motel.
    One actor said to another, "That's another one to add to my list of places not to go."
    "You have a list?" the other actor asked.
    "You don't?" she replied.

  2. On a gurney in the Human Anatomy Laboratory..

  3. Wow - lotsa fun - the scarecrow made me laugh.
    Thanks for this creative post. I think it has jumpstarted me with my coastal mystery!

    To play along:
    house / in a playpen, under baby/toys & blankets
    city/ in the seat of a park's glider / in a gazebo or small bandstand
    country/ behind the honor- system honey for sale (tomatoes for sale) wood stand or on top of the stand's roof

  4. Couldn't help visualizing a dead body in the Half Price clothing bin at Goodwill, or the $5.00 DVDs bin at WalMart. How would you like to pick up a copy of Kindergarten Cop and see a bloody face staring back at you?

    Great list, Lesley. This ought to get us motivated!

  5. I knew you all would have some interesting places. Thanks.

  6. As a police reporter, I saw bodies in some unusual places. But you've come up with some new and good ones here. I'm in the planning stages of a novel in which a body is stolen from a funeral home. I now have some ideas on where to hide it. Thanks.

  7. I'm happy to hear the blog spurred your imagination. I'll bet you have some interesting tales to tell.

  8. I like to have dead bodies in my books that are found or killed in water. It's weird to me because I love water, always have, but that's where my characters seem to perish... I like many of the places you've listed and talked about today!! Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed this.

  9. What a fun post! How about asking Siri? Her answer will depend on where you are, of course!

  10. What a fun post. At my work, there's a big huge carousel freezer. Every time I move the carousel to access a shelf I envision a body cruising by. I know it's cliched -too many horror flicks in my childhood I guess. :)

    I also like the amusement park spots - maybe the aerial tram?

    My dead body flips over a terrace railing and lands on the forward deck of the yacht below. Which is convenient for hiding said body - no need to move it, just hop in the yacht and go for a little cruise.

  11. Wow! What a list that is. A true and very unusual place where no one would have found the body if the murderer wasn't apprehended and eventually told where he'd put the body. It was in a hollow tree and the only hole to it was high up in the tree. He'd cut up the body or bodies, put the parts in garbage bags, hoisted them up with a rope then climbed up and stuffed them into the hole to fall down inside the tree. The only thing he wanted the police to promise him before he'd disclose the location is that they wouldn't cut down the tree. He was a tree lover and quite obsessive about them. He spent a lot of time up in trees.