Thursday, May 03, 2007

Some Notes on Suicide Notes

There seems to be a new cliche in mysteries: the unsigned, typed suicide note, often not even printed out, just left on a computer screen. I've seen it before, but the only ones I can point to are the one that popped up in a Veronica Mars episode a few months ago, and another in the (so far mediocre) book I'm reading, Deadly Advice by Roberta Isleib.

I'm no expert, and I haven't been able to find any relevant info to back me up in my exhaustive 10-minute search of the net, but surely such a note must raise at least a few suspicions regarding its authenticity. Yet in these stories no law enforcement personnel ever seem to entertain the slightest doubt, leaving only our plucky protagonist to prove that the supposed suicide is *gasp* murder.

Please. Unless somebody can show me statistical proof that a large number of suicides do leave these kind of notes, I am done with this storyline.

I do understand the idea of typing your suicide note. After all, if your handwriting is as bad as mine, you do want your loved ones to understand your last communication. But I promise you that if I ever did kill myself,* I would print out the note, sign it, stick it in an envelope with someone's name on it, and leave it in a prominent spot.

Also, while we're on the subject, if anybody ever tries to say that I killed myself in any way other than a peaceful, painless overdose, call the cops.

*What? Oh, like you've never thought about this.

Edited May 6 to add: OK, I was slightly unfair to Deadly Advice. No, it never got any better, and yes, I correctly predicted that the villain was the heroine's neighbor and that she and the crusty detective would fall for each other. But in fact, the police did suspect the unsigned suicide note and were trying to lull the killer into a false sense of security. So I partly take back my rant.


Sally said...

Did you see this? Who knew? Actually pretty interesting--

Muse of Ire said...

Yes, interesting, but doesn't address my point: do people really leave typed, unsigned, even unprinted notes? I don't think they do -- it would seem to conflict with their desire to have their reasons known and recognized.