What Pegman Saw : A cold case

‘There are several slash like tattoos on the body, mainly at the joints and the lumber region.’ Doctor Balsano pulled a tissue from her sleeve, dabbed at her dripping nose. ‘I expect to find more once he’s out of the ice.’

The wind cut along the glacier, nipping at Koffler’s fingertips, even through his gloves. ‘Any obvious wounds?’ He stamped his feet, shaking the scree loose, sending it tinkling down the slope.

‘Quite a list actually. A head wound, an incision in the left shoulder, possibly an entry wound. Defensive cuts to the palms of his hands, a broken nose -‘

‘Sounds more like a boxer than a farmer.’ Koffler stared down the valley to the huddle of hikers below, their brightly coloured jackets and hats shimmering against the shale and grubby ice. He grinned. ‘Gave them a shock, huh?’

Balsano shrugged. ‘Murder’s murder, no matter how cold the case.’


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we visit Mount Everest, Nepal.

The story was inspired by the discovery of Ötzi ‘The Iceman’ by hikers in the Tyrolean Mountains in 1991. At first, the body was assumed to have been an unfortunate mountaineer, until it was realised how very old he was … over 5,300 years old.

Ötzi has 61 tattoos – thought to be attempts at remedying joint pain – and in recent years scientists have learned that he was, indeed, a murder victim.

He has become one of the most studied human beings on the planet.

Take a look here to learn more.

18 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw : A cold case

      1. Ah, a prequel would be fun. Otzi’s story changes as more study is done, of course. I remember when he was first found, they thought he’d been caught in a snow storm on the mountain. Now, they’ve found an arrow head in his shoulder, defensive wounds a few days old, a blow to the head. Seems he was chased for a few days before being caught. His story is fascinating, but horrific too. But that’s what draws us in , of course. Thank you for the kind comment

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh, I remember Otzi–I always found that fascinating. You bring the discovery to life beautifully, with so many wonderful sensory details.

    Poor Otzi. I wonder what happened.


    1. Thank you Karen. Definitely murder, it seems. He had wounds from a few days earlier, so had been in a fight, them possibly chased down by the same people. As to why, we’ll never know I’m sure. Could make a good story though … 🙂


  2. Super story, Lynn! You draw the scene and the characters deftly. You nicely capture the difference between the pair who are professionals in death and the hikers who found the corpse. And you round it off with a lovely wry joke. Impeccably written!


    1. Things never change, eh? The thing I found interesting was that he had arsenic in him from metal smelting, so we were already poisoning ourselves (and presumably our environment) 5 thousand years ago!


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