Medical examiner trial spawns mystery game that's fun for all ages.


It's fun! It's educational! It's Parker Brothers' new mystery game, "O.C. SMitH, MeDiCAl EXaMIner." Winners get a sample of barbed wire and a subpoena.

A skilled mystery writer would have this story end with a) Smith's conviction, b) Smith's acquittal, or c) nothing: the plot is too far-fetched.

The attacker was a) a 25-ish fleshy man weighing about 170 pounds, b) a 40-ish man weighing about 200 pounds, or c) Colonel Mustard in the library with a lead pipe.

In the fight for his life in the stairwell, Smith was a) tougher than a combat-experienced Navy Seal, b) easier to subdue than your great-aunt Eunice, or c) throwing desperate haymakers at himself.

The overwrought piety and self-important tone of the mysterious letters suggest the author was a) a Catholic anti-abortion zealot, b) a fundamentalist death-penalty zealot, or c) Andy Wise or Wendi Thomas.

The misspellings and curious use of capital letters in the letters suggests the author is a) deranged, b) an e-mail spammer, or c) a Memphis high school graduate.

The pictures of Smith post-attack look like a) a commercial for Clearasil, b) a man splashed with lye, or c) a typical 1963 high school graduation picture.

The large number of female witnesses in the trial shows a) forensics is an equal opportunity field, b) women really can do math and science, or c) Smith was getting more than Frank Sinatra in his prime.

The phrase "rendered safe" means that a) a bomb has been fixed so it won't blow up, b) your teenaged daughter is home with the flu, or c) Willie Herenton has had a vasectomy.

The barbed-wire headgear worn by Smith resembles a) Hannibal Lecter's mask, b) a crown of thorns, or c) a birthday present for John Ford.

The scars on O. C. Smith's chest came from a) machine gun fire, b) a knife attack in hand-to-hand combat, or c) a breast reduction.

The involvement of the Mike Fleming radio program in the case is evidence of a) the importance of talk radio, b) a red herring, or c) great news for Mike Fleming.

Two weeks after the attack, Smith and a female French anthropologist went to Lyon to a) study 19th century manuscripts, b) unwind and craft an alibi, or c) drink wine and make whoopee.

The phrase "frog-march" describes a) Smith's attacker forcing him to the stairwell, b) Navy Seal hazing, or () a drum-and-bugle team in Lyon.

Smith's description of his attacker is what you would expect from a) a veteran forensic pathologist with keen powers of observation, b) a man punched and doused with lye, or c) a cross-eyed drunk with an Etch-A-Sketch.

Smith rappelled down a bridge to get to a dead body because he was a) showboating, b) didn't want to get his pants wet, or c) wanted to try out his new rope.

The cost of protecting Smith and his wife 24/7 for months with TACT officers was a) $1 million, b) $10 million, or c) a big waste of money.

A barbed-wire bit like the one on Smith would look good on a) a terrorist, b) a cranky horse, or c) some members of the Memphis City Council.

The presence of Super Glue on the back of the bomb on Smith's chest indicates a) the attacker was serious, b) the stuff doesn't work well, or c) product placement.

"Pull it, twist it, shake it" is a) a way to trigger a motion-sensitive bomb, b) a child's toy, or c) a male impotence remedy.

"Factitious victimization" is a) a mental disorder, b) psychobabble, or c) a great way for an expert witness to make a few thousand bucks.

Smith's conviction will show that a) justice is blind, b) the defense theory was ridiculous, c) a jury will believe anything.

Smith's acquittal will show that a) our judicial system works, b) the prosecution's theory was ridiculous, or c) a jury will believe anything.



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