The 3 Most Perfect Crimes (and How to Commit Them)

Like a lot of people, I'm constantly licking the edge of a knife, thinking of ways to show them, show everyone.

Magomed Magomedagaev/iStock/Getty Images
"They'll regret the day th- owwwwwwwww."

I have of course yet to act on these urges because of my high regard for our system of morals and laws and how often people like me are caught. Sure, I could try to simply not get caught, and ... actually, yeah. Why don't I just not get caught?

Magomed Magomedagaev/iStock/Getty Images
"Tastes like a good idea to me."

I'm not the only one to consider this; the so-called perfect crime has fascinated thriller writers for a long time, and they've managed to come up with a number of creative ideas, ranging all the way from stabbing people with icicles to stabbing people ... with ... hmmm. Surely they came up with some other options.

Fuse/Getty Images
Forensics reports that the entry wound was grapey.

But even in the real world, there have been attempts, including successful ones, at committing the Perfect Crime. And, after conducting some research (and all the taping of thousands of magazine articles onto the walls of my creepy little room that entailed), I'm happy to report to you that there seem to be three broad types of Perfect Crime. I present these to you below, along with some historical examples of their usage, and trust you to use this information responsibly, or at the very least, hilariously.

#3. The Undetected Crime

If there are degrees of perfection, this is the perfectiest of the crimes I'm going to discuss here, a crime so perfect that no one even knows it's a crime. The classic example is a murder that's passed off as a suicide, or perhaps death by natural causes.

Anne-Louise Quarfoth/iStock/Getty Images
"He threw up into his own mouth, so I guess it's suicide by natural causes? Can we check two boxes on this form, or does that mess something up?"

The perfectitude of this type of crime should be obvious. You won't have to deal with any magic CSI-type wizards if the magic CSI-type wizards never even hear about the crime in the first place.

decisiveimages/iStock/Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"Ahhh. Yes. A Muggle-wozzler. We're dealing with one sick fuck."

Real-Life Examples:

Well, if any of these actually occurred, we wouldn't know about them, right? I mean, when your Perfect Crime ends up in the newspaper, it loses a couple ticks of perfectness, right?

AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images

Still, there must be a few undetected crimes out there, and we can certainly see hints of them by looking at failed examples. Consider Yvonne Gladys Fletcher, an Australian woman convicted in the 1950s of poisoning not one, but two of her husbands with thallium. Thallium is an odorless, tasteless chemical, and when absorbed by the body, it evidently results in symptoms that look a bit like dying from natural causes, making it a popular choice for poisoners (bizarrely so in Australia, which had a brief fad of thallium poisoning in the 1950s).

And more recently, there's the story of Stacey Castor, who murdered her husband (this is a common trend in poisoning cases) while attempting to make it look like a suicide. In this case she did it by feeding him antifreeze with a turkey baster, which you might think is way, way down there on the list of plausible suicide methods, but it turns out that it's even lower than that.

AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images

A Hypothetical Example:

So let's say, hypothetically of course, that a man, a good man, pushed too far, happened to have a massive quantity of (2E)-2-[(5-Methoxy-1H-indol-3-yl)methylene]-N-pentylhydrazinecarboximidamide, otherwise known as a banned drug called tegaserod, which a shady character he found behind the old van factory assured him would cause adverse cardiac effects. And let's say that, hypothetically still, this honest man is tired of all the bullshit that his neighbor, Hypothetical Frank, gives him for spending his time writing comedy on the Internet, instead of, say, being a productive member of society.

Stockbyte/Getty Images
Hypothetically, what a dick.

And if Frank, that dick, with his actual job working in or on banks or something, with all the stress and heart problems that such a career entails, happened to have his heart leap out of his chest one day, well then, there'd be no reason at all for the authorities to look too closely into that, would there?

Hemera Technologies/
Hypothetically, heh, heh, heh.

#2. The Unsolvable Crime

Taking a step down in perfectishness, we have the crime that, although detected, is committed in such a manner that there won't be enough evidence for the authorities to conclusively solve it. This can also include leaving behind misleading or contradictory evidence, or evidence that is quickly wiped out or covered up. DNA evidence, for example, although a useful thing to gather from a private residence, is often pointless to gather from, say, a bus station.

Amanda Rohde/iStock/Getty Images
"Is ... is the floor here washed in blood?"

Real-Life Examples:

A lot of the most famous crimes ever committed qualify as these. The Zodiac killings come immediately to mind, although they're hardly a prototypical example, due to the amount of evidence that was deliberately left behind. A better example might be the product-tampering crimes, like the famous Tylenol-tampering spree in the 1980s, or Japan's vending machine murders from a few years later. In those cases, where the murderers and their victims were never in the same place at the same time and all the evidence was sitting out in a public place for whoever knows how long, there was very little that detectives could do to conclusively solve them.

decisiveimages/iStock/Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"Why are you still carrying around that bullet from the last case, detective? What does that have to do with this Tylenol case?"
"I just really like it is all."

A Hypothetical Example:

OK, so let's say, hypothetically again obviously, that our Internet comedy writer goes over to Frank's house with a plate of brownies pumped full of poison, and it turns out that Frank is having a party. And then Frank introduces him to his cardiologist, who is not, as it turns out, caring for Frank's weak heart, but is instead studying Frank's improbably strong and healthy heart. "We hope to learn its secrets, and if possible, end some small measure of human suffering," the doctor happily reports.

"So you're saying that if it suddenly failed, you'd be surprised and, like, do an autopsy of it?"

CREATISTA/iStock/Getty Images
"Oh my yes. What a queer thing to say."

So, knowing that the Undetectable Crime scenario was right out and that someone would surely detect the poison in Frank's body and then test the food he'd recently eaten, I, I mean, the hypothetical Internet comedy writer, decided he'd have to plant the poison in something other than my, our, his brownies. Instead, by poisoning a foodstuff that many people had access to, and just assuming that Frank had invited many enemies to his party, our hypothetical protagonist knew there would be too many suspects for the police to work out who did it. A perfect Unsolvable Crime.

Hemera Technologies/
Hypothetically, this is probably going to end well.

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Chris Bucholz

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