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"Deadly Harvest"

Brief: A successful banker (Maria) died in a suspicious way and autopsy revealed that death is due to a tablet. When the news broadcasted in TV, one lady(Suzan) claims that her husband(Mark) took that same tablet some hours before his death and asks the police to reopen the case. Now Maya has to find out the reason behind the two deaths.


Maria- The Successful Banker
Sarah - Maria's twin sister
Daniel- Maria's husband
Christina- Maria's daughter
Suzan- Mark's wife
Mark- A retired cop
Maya- Detective
Dr. Richard- The doctor who performed autopsy
Samson- Dr. Richard assistant

It was a typical Wednesday in the suburb of Hyderabad, and Maria was preparing for another long day as Vice President at local bank. And her daughter Christina was running little late rushing to take a quick shower before heading off to office. Over the sounds of running water, Christina couldn't hear when her mother collapsed. It was a tragedy then a medical mystery one which sent shock wave throughout the city.

Maria was a successful Vice President at local bank and the mother of a young daughter. She had recently remarried and was well known in the small suburb in Banjara Hills Hyderabad. Maria was only 40 years old and in the perfect health on the day she collapsed. Maria was rushed to a nearby hospital unconscious and near death. She died shortly after arrival.

As this is a high-profile case, Maya has been assigned to investigate the case. Maya along with her team went to Maria's house for collecting clues and forensic team was already doing their job by the time Maya reached the site. Maya asked forensic team to send the photograph to her office and all Maria's things to forensic lab for further test. Maya started to take the statement of daughter Christina and Husband Daniel.

Dr. Richard performed the autopsy attempting to identify the cause of death. But the initial part revealed that no anatomic cause of death, that means there wasn't a definite pathologic finding that could explain Maria's death. But Dr. Richard assistant in the autopsy room noticed a tiny wasn't anything she could see it, it was something he thought he smelled. When Samson opened Maris's chest cavity, he noticed the faint smell of bitter almonds, it was a clue that cyanide was present and a clue under different circumstances might have gone undetected.

***For reader’s information**:
(*Its just a Distinct odour its like when you are driving down the road and you smell decomposing dog, that very distinct odour, you say oh a dog was near hear, something happened. That smell leaves an impression in your brain that you won't forget*)

Now with the suspicion cyanide poisoning, Maria's blood samples sent for special test one not usually performed in a routine autopsy. An acid solution separated blood from any possible cyanide molecules after mixing the test tube was sealed with the special reactive paper and then heated. The paper on the vial turns blue, proof that Maria was poisoned with cyanide. Cyanide is one of the deadliest poison because it kills the enzymes that transport oxygen throughout the body, death caused in minutes of injection, literally starving the body of oxygen.

Maya went to hospital and collected the autopsy report and she was shocked by looking the report. The report says that Maria was poisoned to death by cyanide. She immediately gathered her team and started briefing the case. Maya has collected the photograph of crime scene, family members, statements, blood reports, and autopsy report. Now she has to build the case and find the reason and put the person responsible for the death behind the bars.

But this is a high-profile case and Maya didn't have much time, she need to move fast, she need to think fast and she need to act fast. She has got the best team in department and she handed over the responsibilities to each team member and asked them to get the answers. The big question which Maya had was, how did Maria inject cyanide? It was her twin sister Sarah who made the initial discovery.

Sarah called Maya one day and told, on the day of Maria's funeral, Sarah look for headache medicine in her sister kitchen and found something suspicious. As per Sarah information, when she was looking for some headache tablets, she found some Excedrin capsules instead of tablets. Maria never took capsules and this made Sarah to call Maya.

Immediately Maya sent those Excedrin capsules found of Maria's kitchen to lab. Lab tests confirmed Sarah's worst fears. Cyanide was found in 9 Excedrin capsules in Maria's kitchen. Sarah came within inches of ingesting the tainted capsules herself. The family suspected Maria's new husband Daniel put the cyanide in Excedrin.

By hearing the family claims, Maya brought Daniel to station for questioning. In the interrogation, Maya came to know that Daniel was married three times before he married Maria.And he told Maya the he is a long-haul trucker and he don't have anything to do with the murder. His background check revealed that he was not financially successful, and shortly before their marriage Maria discovered that Daniel was still darting Anna (Daniel's old girlfriend). Daniel accepted this and told that Maria know about this and they had fight sometimes on this issue, and Daniel promised to Maria that he will never see Anna.

He told that it was his idea to switch headache tablets to capsules as it was good one, but he had nothing to to with the tampering the capsules. Now Maya had prepared the initial report and submitted to her boss, and she also asked the court order to the manufacturer of Excedrin capsules.

The manufacturer of Excedrin capsules wasn't taking any chances, they issued an immediate recall of extra strength Excedrin from all store shelves all over Hyderabad. Health officials feared that the death of Maria was not an isolated incident.

The recall of Excedrin capsules made a headline in all television News channels. News papers are filled with the news of Excedrin capsules and Maya diverted her mind in solving the case as soon as possible. When the news broadcasted all over the country, millions of people watched it, but one person Suzan took more than a passing interest on the news.

Maya was busy in connecting the missing dots in the case and she got a call from reception by saying that some one came to meet her and its very important. Maya asked her to send the visitor inside and continued her work. 45-year-old Suzan entered Maya's office with some papers in her hand and Maya observed her. She had salt and pepper hair, black eyes, and little wrinkle on her forehead, her finger nail neatly manicured and she look decent and cool.

Maya asked her the purpose of visit and she started to explain to Maya something she was looking for. She told Maya that she came to meet her after looking at the news broadcasted two days back and she also told that her husband Mark, a retired cop took some Excedrin capsules shortly before he died and asked her look in to it and begged for her help. For a min, Maya didn't believe what she is telling, she took the papers suzan brought and asked her to wait for two days.

After two days, Maya went to Suzan's home to pickup the bottles of Excedrin capsules mark have been using. Suzan asked Maya to sit in the family room and went inside to get the capsule bottle. Maya looked around the house and it was neatly maintained and will cleaned, everything at right place along with a huge aquarium. Maya asked the forensics to test the bottles whether the cyanide is present in the capsule or not. While giving the bottle to Maya, Suzan showed sympathy for Maria and said its very sad for what happened to Maria, and she also wanted the Maya to reopen her husband case.

As per the suzan request Maya took permission to reopen Mark' case to test blood samples for cyanide, a test which hasn't performed during mark's autopsy. When Mark's blood was analysed, the restive paper on the vial turned blue. Mark was died due to cyanide poisoning and cyanide laced Excedrin capsule were discovered in the two bottles found in his home. Now Maya has got a new case and new headache, now she has to solve one more case within the given time. But Maya and team continued to investigate her first suspect Daniel, the reason behind that he was aggressive and he remarried soon after Maria's death.

Daniel wanted to get off this allegation, he offered a lie detector test to prove his innocence. Along with the court order, Daniel appeared to lie detector test, to the surprise of almost everyone he passed. Now Maya hit a dead end. With Daniel cleared from the list, Maya and her team believed that there is a random killer out their, some sort of Pharmaceutical terrorist.

All the Excedrin capsules removed from the store shelves were examined from a x-ray machine, since cyanide is more dense than pain reliever, tainted capsules show up as dark areas inside the bottle. Two more bottle of cyanide laced pain reliever found on store shelves. News papers and television stations throughout the country reported the discovery of the tainted capsules in Hyderabad and Maya and team thought that this case go unsolved.

All of the tainted Excedrin capsules were sent to lab for further analysis. Each tainted capsule contained 700mg of cyanide, four time more than a lethal dose. But the lab technician found something else inside the capsule which turned the case from dead to alive. Maya rushed to lab to find out the new discovery in the capsules. Some mysterious green crystals mixed with the cyanide. The green crystals were analysed using a mass spectrometer, a device which can identify the exact chemical component of an unknown sample. After the crystals were liquified, a beam of high energy electrons collided with the molecules breaking them down into their smallest possible units. This produces a finger print of every identifiable substance in the crystal.

The green crystals were makeup of four common chemicals, atrazine, dichlone, methabenzthiazuron, and simazine. Two of these chemicals are used to kill algae in fish aquariums.

When Maya came to know this new finding in the cyanide, she was confused and her team was clue less. Now she need to make sure that the algae killing medicine whether contain same chemicals or not. She asked one of her team member to visit the fish aquarium shops and collect the commercially produced algaecide with the same four compound.

The detective roamed allover the city, to find the algaecide with the same compound and found nothing. But Maya insisted him to search for more shops and don't stop until he find the exact algaecide. After looking through hundreds of products one algaecide in particular caught his eye, the product was called "Algae destroyer" and was sold in green speckled tablets the product had the same four compound in the exact same amount as the green crystals found in the cyanide.

But the interesting point is not the algaecide found but the area where it found. The algaecide found in nearby shop of Suzan's home.

Maya had no idea why a fish algaecide would be in the cyanide and reported this discovery to her boss and the lab. Maya was going through all her memories and investigation papers, she was missing something and she wanted to remember at any cost. She refreshes her memory while drinking a glass of whiskey. Maya started to refresh her memory and she recalled some interesting which she forgot.

When Maya visited Suzan's home to collect the capsules bottles used by her husband, she remembered seeing an big aquarium prominently displayed in her living room. Was it possible that Suzan played some role in the death of her husband and in the death of Maria?

Maya's team visited 60 different pet stores near suzan's home armed with the photo montage which included Suzan's photo. One of the shop owner recognises Suzan and recalled selling her the same algae destroyer product. Maya asked him how to use the algae destroyer and he explained that you need to crush the tablets in order to work in effective way and Maya started to reconstruct the case from beginning. Before that she ordered a background check on Suzan which she ignored before.

Now Maya started to believe that Suzan is somehow responsible for death of her husband and Maria, but how? When she checked her email and phone recored she never dialled Maria number and for her entire life she never met Maria. Maya has to find the missing link and now she is waiting for background check form of suzan.

Maya got the background check report for both Suzan and Mark. She didn't find anything initially as everything was normal, when she was reading the background check report of Mark, she found something interesting. Mark's background check revealed that his wife would receive 50Lakhs extra if the death of Mark is accidental, the total insurance value was more than 50Lakhs and Suzan was the sole nominee. Now Maya found that suzan had the motive to kill Mark, that is for money. In fact, Mark and Suzan were in some serious financial trouble and recently received a final delinquency notice on their home mortgage and on some other loans.

One more crucial evidence found by maya's team that, Suzan wrote series of letter to her all creditors before a week mark died, and she mentioned in the letter that she would clear the loan money in a month and she will clear all the pending loans alongwith the interest.

Maya sent the letters and insurance documents to handwriting experts to analyse. When the handwriting expert studied the insurance copy and letters, they noticed something suspicious. Mark signature on the life insurance differed from his known signature samples. The M and K were different in his normal signature, but it was consistent with the way Suzan signed her name. The handwriting expert believed that Suzan forged her husband signature on the insurance form. But the money wasn't the only possible motive, Suzan and Mark were a regular social couple with regular visiting bar's and hotels with friends. That all went changed when Mark entered and alcoholism prevent program and stopped drinking altogether.

While Maya was interrogating suzan, at the same time her team searched suzan house and found some library address in her notepad, Suzan visited the research library several times to study the subject of poison. The record at the library revealed that Suzan signed out a book entitled "Deadly Harvest" which lists various sources and methods of poisoning. Suzan's fingerprints were found all over the section, dealing cyanide.

Maya now had enough circumstantial evidence to charge Suzan with the murder of her husband and Maya discovered why Suzan murdered Maria, a woman she didn't know.

Now Maya reconstructed the crime in her own way.

  " Suzan had grown tired of her money problems what she considered to be boring existence with her husband Mark, she hatched a plan to murder her husband and collect on his life insurance policies, which would pay 50Lakhs extra if his death was accidental. Her library research led her to choose cyanide, a highly toxic salt but suzan was careless. She grounded the cyanide in the same bowl she used earlier to grind the algaecide tablets for aquarium but she neglected to wash the bowl before grinding the cyanide. She never suspected that the tiny green algaecide crystals would mix with the cyanide and lead to her capture. After putting the cyanide in to the headache tablets, she placed the bottle among her husband's other medication. Mark suffered from chronic headache and took pain relievers almost everyday. After Mark's death, the autopsy mistakenly ruled the death was due to natural cause, a mistake which deprived Suzan an additional 50L of life insurance money. Suzan needed some excuse, some reason to have her husband autopsy tissues re-examined, so she decided to poison someone else. To create the impression that a cyanide murderer is on the loose, she placed three more bottles of cyanide placed excedrin bottles on the shelves of two stores near her home. Some one in the Maria household purchased one of those bottles. Maria took two capsules from that one bottle in the morning before work and died a short time later. When the cyanide discovered during the Maria's autopsy and traced to the excedrin capsules in her home, Suzan had the excuse she needed to ask that her husband case to be reopened"

She got away with murder once and tried to get away with it for the second time, when the forensic identified the tiny green crystals in the cyanide as algae destroyer and located a fish store near suzan's home which sold her the product. The library books and forged insurance application polices, sealed the case against her.

Suzan learned one thing from this " There is no perfect crime " in this world.


  1. Macha, As usual you nailed the entire story. It was pretty good. All the information about the investigation was so realistic as in something is really happened and investigation is going on that kind of feel you created. Over all 5/5. Mainly terms used in this story was pretty good. You rock macha. Looking forward for more stories. All best macha


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