Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tools of #Murder in THE DEVIL OF LIGHT - What the Heck is a Hay Dolly? #amreading

All three novels are on sale for 99cents over Memorial Day - 
start your beach reading off with murder!

One of the questions I'm asked fairly regularly about my first book is, "What's a hay dolly and how would you kill somebody with it?"

Lenny Scarborough is a nasty chap and one of the first to die in THE DEVIL OF LIGHT (the bodies tend to pile up in my novels). He meets his end in the barnyard while giving antibiotic shots to his herd of Black Angus cattle, when he's impaled with the business end of a hay dolly that lifts him off the ground. The hay dolly spears end up embedded in the side of the barn, and Lenny's left dangling with his work boots reaching for solid ground.

This is the hay dolly I used to kill Lenny:

Manually operated hay dolly that killed Lenny Scarborough.
It's a simple contraption. You attach the dolly to a bumper hitch on the pickup, reverse the truck to slide the spears under the hay bale, use good old elbow grease to crank the winch and raise the bale off the ground, then tow everything out to the pasture. Once you've got the hay bale where you want it, you lower it to the ground by unwinding the winch (yes, using that elbow grease again), and drive forward to pull the spears from beneath the hay bale. Easy peasy.

They're a little blunt, but these spears do the job.

Do you see how simple it would be to spear an unsuspecting victim in your crime novel with one of these things? Yes, your killer is driving in reverse because the hay dolly is attached to the truck's rear bumper, but it's totally doable. The hardest part is angling the spears so they pierce the victim in the right spot.

For years, we've attached this hay dolly to the truck in winter to put hay out for the cows (with no injury to the cows or either of us other than sore elbows and shoulders from working the winch). It's a simple contraption that you don't see much any more. In fact, this past winter we upgraded to a hay spear that fits on our tractor and slides into the bale, making the process of putting hay out much easier (significantly less elbow grease required).

New hay spear - nice sharp points!
I kind of like the new spear, but I'm not sure how much use it'll be when it comes to killing characters. Tractors aren't quite as nimble as trucks. But who knows? The only way to find out is to try it. Watch for upcoming murders involving the new hay dolly...

Now it's your turn. What are some of the more unusual ways you've seen characters killed?

Happy husband putting hay out the easy way.