Guy’s sister makes an astonishing discovery. There is something not quite right with the dumpling that Bea took away with her from the restaurant where the man at the next table died….
‘Here we have the probable cause: batrachotoxin.’ Ah. Bea did not understand a word. She saw nothing in the test glass filled with a liquid that Lis was holding up to her. ‘It’s derived from the skin of the South American poison dart frog. It’s a bit like the better-known curare, only quite a bit more deadly. If you even ingest the tiniest amount, say the size of two salt kernels, that’s it, you’re toast. You get muscle cramps, ventricular fibrillation, and finally heart failure. The only thing that can help you is the poison of the similarly deadly Japanese puffer fish Fugu, ironic, what? Unfortunately, the latter was not in the dish your dead friend ordered with his Kniddelen. I found traces of batrachotoxin in the dumpling you brought along. If the man had already eaten most of his portion – and we assume that the piece you brought me was not the only bit that had been spiked – well, it should have been quite sufficient to kill the big guy.’ Bea had to concede that empathy and compassion were not the strengths of Guy’s sister. ‘So what do we do with this knowledge?’
‘I have a good friend in the detective police department, Christiane Scholtes. I suggest calling her tomorrow morning and we can set up a meeting with her. I can imagine she will be very interested in what we have to say. And now,’ with that Liz closed the meeting in her lab, ‘a toast to our investigative flair.’
When Bea came home it was pretty late and she was quite tipsy, and Guy had already gone to bed. He had not replied to her text telling him that she would be home late. He was probably annoyed. She could understand that. But it had been too tempting to forgo the disgusting Feierstengszalot.Anyway, it could not hurt for her to have a good relationship with Guy’s sister. After all, Guy and her were pretty serious now. Sometimes she asked herself if it would not be a good idea to make it official. Until now Guy had not made any attempts to rectify the matter, however. Judging by his mood nothing would change in that regard, for now at least. ‘Feierstengszalot is in the fridge,’ she read on a note on the kitchen table. No sign of ‘kiss,’ darling,’ or even ‘good night’. Oh dear, breakfast will be fun.
But she need not have worried. When she entered the kitchen the next morning slightly hung over, Guy had already left. The container with the Luxembourgish speciality had gone from the fridge. Guy must have taken it to the office with him. Thank goodness! She was just thinking about ways to change his bad mood when she received a whatsapp from Lis to meet her in two hours in the Chocolate House, where Christiane Scholtes would join them.
Bea immediately liked the policewoman. The latter was, however, not delighted with Bea and Lis’ news. ‘Oh dear, the body is basically ready to be released. Everybody has assumed death by natural causes. After all, the doctor already diagnosed heart failure in the restaurant. Happens more often than you think, especially with him being overweight. Later too, when the body was examined more carefully, nothing unusual was discovered. Especially since his widow told us earnestly hat her husband had been suffering from heart problems for a while now. But now, from what you’ve told me, I guess we have a case.’
Lis looked like she was thinking hard. ‘I think I might be able to help,’ she said. ‘You see, murder through poison is normally carried out via an injection. You said that the examination of the body did not result in anything suspicious. Which means that there were no needle marks. That means…’ Lis raised her voice and held up a finger triumphantly (and a little bit condescendingly as Bea found), ‘that the murderer knew the victim.’ Christiane and Bea looked at her uncomprehending. ‘For,’ Liz continued, ‘taking Batrachotoxin orally is not dangerous for people who are healthy. Only for someone who suffers from gastro-intestinal diseases can it be deadly. So, the killer must have known that the man was ill,’ she said. ‘That’s not something every kitchen help would have known, but only someone who really knew the big guy. Alright, and now let’s order some Mendiants, they are delicious here!’
Cold beef salad