HOW DO GREEN BOTTLE FLIES FIND A DEAD BODY?
Miriam tells us in THE DEADLIEST HATE that she as well as her colleagues in the Alchemical League would face certain death if the authorities ever discovered their work:
As a Roman citizen, I could at least appeal to Claudius for the right to defend myself in a proper trial. After that, the worst I could face would be a presumably painless death by beheading. The others, being non-citizens, would be summarily crucified. Like the vilest of criminals, they’d be left to hang outside the city gates to suffer the most extreme punishment, after which there could be no burial, no lamentations, no peace, only their wandering souls, the buzz of green bottle flies, and a jackal’s marks on their scattered bones to serve as an appalling warning to others.
Many insects flock to a decomposing body, but green bottle flies arrive first, within a few hours. In fact, it’s vital to their survival as a species since the reproductively mature female can lay her eggs only in a decomposing corpse. Scientists have found that the antennae of these females detect very low concentrations of dimethyl trisulfide [DMTS], as low as one part per trillion. And so, this volatile liquid, a product of bacterial action on a corpse, has been used as bait to capture them.
Makes sense, right? But DMTS has many other uses, among them as an additive to enhance the flavor of savory dishes. Shocking? But this is no more shocking than what Miriam encounters in THE DEADLIEST HATE. When she travels to Caesarea to try to prevent the authorities from finding an alchemical document that has surfaced there, an assassin is waiting and watching her every move. Check it out with this one click.