The detective ate a slice of bread, seemingly made of wheat. The criminal showed up as the detective began to choke. The detective's last words were:

"<choke> Y-y-you put... rice <gasp> in... in this b-bread!"

Indeed, this was true, but does it make sense? The detective had no intolerance for rice, yet his last words perfectly summed up the reason for his death.

Please explain logically, without the use of "He was going delusional!", or "He had a heart attack!", etc., as the answer must be able to be derived from only the detective's last words.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is any information from the first paragraph (the text before the blockquote) useful for solving the puzzle, or could someone conceivably come up with the answer given just the detective's last words? $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Feb 15 at 21:07
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    $\begingroup$ @bobble The latter :) $\endgroup$ Feb 16 at 14:56

The fact of the matter is that whether or not the criminal put rice in the bread is completely unimportant... What actually matters is that:

they put ricin in the bread. Ricin is a very powerful toxin produced in the seeds of the castor oil plant, and just a few grains are enough to kill a person. In modern history there have been several high-profile assassination attempts revolving around the use of ricin to commit murder in this way.

So the detective's stuttering last words were actually:

You put ricin in this bread!

  • $\begingroup$ Wikipedia says "Because the symptoms are caused by failure to make protein, they may take anywhere from hours to days to appear, depending on the route of exposure and the dose. When ingested, gastrointestinal symptoms can manifest within six hours; these symptoms do not always become apparent." so how does the detective link the symptom to "this bread" he ate? $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Feb 16 at 2:29
  • $\begingroup$ @justhalf Because he ate it? $\endgroup$ Feb 16 at 4:36
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    $\begingroup$ @justhalf I mean, if you're going to take the story into account rather than just the quote, the criminal came and showed him the container of poison for an iconic villain moment of glory (why would he come otherwise?). $\endgroup$ Feb 16 at 4:44
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    $\begingroup$ Wow, that actually fixed it. So the villain came when they knew that the detective would have shown symptoms. Sounds good =D $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Feb 16 at 5:03
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    $\begingroup$ @justhalf Alternatively, the bread is from a loaf that the detective has been eating all day. He first had some toast for breakfast at 7am, then at 1pm on his lunch break he tucked into his home-made sandwich... and that was when his symptoms began appearing. $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Feb 16 at 9:09

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