Friday 22 July 2011

Household Weapon of Mass Destruction?- by Jo Cotterill

OK, so a series called ‘Sweet Hearts’ might not sound as though it has much to do with crime!

However, in Book 3: Forget Me Not the heroine (Kate) works at a garden centre over the summer (where she meets and falls for a Mysterious Boy…) and one night there’s an attack on the centre and most of the plant stock is destroyed.

I was inspired, I confess, by a scene in a Midsomer Murders episode, where someone’s prize orchid collection is destroyed by a rival orchid-grower (or was it his resentful wife? I can’t remember).

How very visual! How awful, to have rows and rows of brown, shrivelled plants where only the day before they had been green and healthy.

But how could it be done?

At first I thought of acid. But how does one actually get hold of acid, I wondered?   Not as easily as you might think (which is just as well).

So what else could you spray onto plants that would kill them? Something householdy – bleach? But that seemed a bit dull, and besides, you’d need tons of the stuff to kill shelves and shelves of plants. Caustic soda, suggested my dad. It’s easily available and eats through just about anything (eek, scary thought).

So that’s what my villain uses – an ordinary household item that’s usually used for unblocking drains – as a weapon of mass plant destruction. Kate, my heroine, comes into work to find a wasteland of dead and dying plants, including her very own flower display. All very upsetting, and also providing the perfect plot device for discovery of Evidence later on!

(and some time I might tell you about how I wrote the police scenes, with the help of a good friend who just happens to be a police inspector. Aren’t friends useful!)

To find out more about Jo Cotterill and the Sweetheart series go to

Jo also blogs at along with thirty other writers of girly fiction.



  1. Did you actually try out your toxin on some poor plants?

  2. Who needs toxin when there are Killersnails? Put them in your neighbours garden and they will do the job.

    Might result in all your neighbours killing you so maybee it isn´t such a good idea after all.