Join 3,516 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Umbrella Killer
September 22, 2008 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Scotland Yard thinks it knows who killed Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov with a ricin-tipped umbrella on the streets of London 30 years ago this month. Police are hoping to press charges against the man known as Agent Picadilly, who received a secret medal for his services. Interest in the case was sparked by "Kill the Wanderer", a book by journalist Hristo Hristov, who gained access to the archives of the former Bulgarian security service. Bulgaria has extended its own investigation, just as the statute of limitations on the Markov murder was set to expire.
posted by up in the old hotel (13 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Related: unusual ways to kill an hour.
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:59 PM on September 22, 2008


This is a fascinating story. I assume that no one has commented so far because there is little to add to the links. In any event, thanks for posting this.
posted by ferdydurke at 5:00 PM on September 22, 2008


BTW, as charming as the umbrella/ricin story is apparently it's not quite accurate. At least, The Economist's recent article says "Markov was murdered with a ricin-coated pellet, fired from an adapted pen; an umbrella was dropped nearby to distract him".
posted by Nelson at 5:01 PM on September 22, 2008


This was one of the first "real" spy assassins I had read about growing up. Umbrella gun, little poison ball, a casual brush on a rail road platform, and then a painful horrible death.

Also, i have a Boot volume that just dies when you say "tacos con juevos" especially if you make this the switch off point for solving the equation. It disproves your faith. Actually, since you can enable ftp or smb access, so you really didn't care that you would have gotten more elegant).?
posted by mrzarquon at 5:04 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or it could have just been random.


sorry, wrong markov
posted by b1tr0t at 6:12 PM on September 22, 2008


another possibly unsolved murder that may involve an umbrella
posted by ornate insect at 6:45 PM on September 22, 2008


He was identified three years ago as Francesco Gullino, a Dane of Italian origin who used to travel around Europe in a caravan pretending to be an antiques salesman.

omg, It sounds like a character out of Gravity's Rainbow. Surreal.

But in a book being published on September 6th, Hristo Hristov, a Bulgarian investigative journalist

What a name.

Oh man, those Bulgarian spy labyrinths!

Paclitaxel, a type of chemo is also made of castor beans, like ricin. Not fun. It's turning up in odd places this year, Las Vegas, London.

Seems like all the newspapers are repeating the misinformation about the umbrella being the injector of the ricin.

"Ricin is the third most toxic substance known after plutonium and botulism." whoa.

Wasn't there another person poisoned similarly, with photographs of him in misery in the hospital?

Another fascinating post up in the old hotel. Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 6:47 PM on September 22, 2008


"Ricin is the third most toxic substance known after plutonium and botulism." whoa.

Finally, a safer alternative to Botox!
posted by Sys Rq at 7:06 PM on September 22, 2008


Wasn't there another person poisoned similarly, with photographs of him in misery in the hospital?

Recently? That would be Polonium Dude. (See also Dioxin Guy.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:11 PM on September 22, 2008


Sys Rq, I love you man. Thanks for putting me out of my misery trying to remember the name of Alexander Litvinenko. That's the guy I was trying to think of. Another amazing story.

Incredible that Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko survived dioxin poisoning. Dang, those are some chloracne pockmarks.

huh, Just as I thought this spy poisoning thing was more Eastern I read this.
posted by nickyskye at 9:05 PM on September 22, 2008


Seems like all the newspapers are repeating the misinformation about the umbrella being the injector of the ricin.

It was the presumed mechanism when the story was first being investigated. I remember the 1979 60 Minutes piece had the segment's host demonstrate a jab with a sharp umbrella. That image would be hard to shake.
posted by dhartung at 10:41 PM on September 22, 2008


This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy certain standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it.

Wikipedia wants you to die an unusual death. For the sake of completeness.
posted by srboisvert at 3:56 AM on September 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like how they're now talking about pressing charges against a man who was blackmailed into working for the Bulgarian secret service after he was caught smuggling drugs, whereas in the article Scotland Yard mentions interviewing, amongst others, "General Vladimir Todorov, former head of the communist-era secret service." It seems like prosecuting the field agent in this sort of case makes about as much sense as prosecuting the umbrella. Surely General Todorov is equally culpable?
posted by cmyr at 9:15 AM on September 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


« Older Last month, a wonderful documentary entitled simpl...  |  Have you ever wondered what th... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments