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Chapter 8 - April 2, 2003 - Episode 7

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Mark calls Louise Lazard.

“Ms. Lazard, this is Detective Cohen. I’m sorry to bother you again so soon.”

“I was just going to dial you, detective.”

“You saw the story in The Post Online?”

“I heard about it. This is just one more way to cover up murder. Obviously, he didn’t die from the mushrooms. This is wrong. This is—”

“I’m not jumping to any conclusions, Ms. Lazard; it is a bizarre coincidence. In fact, I wouldn’t have contacted you in this way but it’s a question of safety.”


“The deceased — I mean, Larry — was a mushroom collector, right?”

“Yes. That wasn’t in The Post story but lots of people know that. But why—”

“Is it also true that he put the mushrooms he collected on pizza?”

“He didn’t try to poison himself with mushrooms. He wouldn’t do that; he wouldn’t kill himself.”

“That’s not my immediate concern. I am concerned about your safety.”

“Safety?  That’s the second time you said that…  Oh, I understand. You were wondering whether I have any of the same mushrooms and don’t want me to eat them.”

“That’s right, Ms. Lazard, I…”

“Well, I don’t know for sure but I think I have some. Larry last went collecting on a trip to South Carolina. Weird time to go but it had been warm and wet and he got a good batch of mushrooms. He did what he always does: he split them up and left some here and took some to the office. I haven’t eaten any of them if that’s what you were wondering. And it’s nice of you to worry, but I hate mushrooms — no danger. I guess I should throw them out, though.”

“No. No, don’t do that. They’re evidence. I would like to send someone to pick them up from you if that’s okay, Ms. Lazard.”

“Call me Louise, will you please? Yeah, that’s fine. I don’t want them. Did he eat all the mushrooms in his office?”

“I’m sorry. You’ve been very helpful, but I can’t discuss evidence. I broke the rules some to call you, but didn’t want you to eat any if you had them.”

“I appreciate that. When will your ‘someone’ come by to pick up the mushrooms? I’m planning to go out in about an hour.”

“Depends on traffic, but we’ll make sure to get there within the hour. Can you tell me whether the deceased ...  I mean Larry … was an experienced mushroom collector? Was he likely to make a mistake and pick a poison mushroom?”

“He was experienced, but he took risks. He did that on purpose.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know much about it, but Larry specialized in collecting mushrooms that look like other mushrooms that are poisonous. He said that these were the best to eat. I think he just liked to show off that he could pick the right mushroom… He could’ve made a mistake, I guess. Pretty big coincidence on the night he was shot but I guess it could’ve happened.”

After thanking her, hanging up and arranging for the pickup of the remaining mushrooms at the Lazard’s home, Mark follows the links in Larry’s blog:




U.S. Food & Drug Administration
Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition
Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms
and Natural Toxins Handbook



Table 3. Poisonous Mushrooms and their Edible Look-Alikes.


Mushrooms Containing Amatoxins

Poisonous species


Mistaken for

Amanita tenuifolia (Slender Death Angel)

pure white

Leucoagaricus naucina (Smoothcap Parasol)

Amanita bisporigera (Death Angel)

pure white

Amanita vaginata (Grisette), Leucoagaricus naucina (Smoothcap Parasol), white Agaricus spp. (field mushrooms), Tricholoma resplendens (Shiny Cavalier)

Amanita verna (Fool's Mushroom)

pure white

A. vaginata, L. naucina, white Agaricus spp., T. resplendens

Bad Bug Book

Foods Home   |   FDA Home   |   Search/Subject Index   |   Disclaimers & Privacy Policy
Hypertext last updated by las/ear 2001-MAY-21



Mark gets a few more entries when he Googles “Amanita Vaginata”:

www.mushroomexpert.com says: “Although there are some edible mushrooms in the genus, no Amanita should be eaten. The genus contains lethal mushrooms that are quite similar to the ‘edible’ ones.”

www.mykoweb.com says: “As is always the case with Amanita species, only the most experienced collectors should consider them for the table.”

And a personal website on Geocities says: “Edibility: Edible and very good. Used without preliminary boiling, in soup, fried, salted, marinaded.”


The Chat Board

Larry Poisoned Himself
by: thewatcher02 (38/M/New Rochelle, NY)                                                                                                                                                                             04/02/03 2:00 pm

Msg: 99001 of 99016
Larry Lazard poisoned himself with mushrooms before he shot himself!  Its all in  the Post Online.


Re: Larry Poisoned Himself
by: ChorusLine (25/F/Paramus, NJ)
Long-Term Sentiment: Buy                                                            04/02/03 2:01 pm
Msg: 90002 of 90016
Posted as a reply to: Msg 90001 by thewatcher02
The market’s not going to care about that.  He’s history. The stocks up to 1.52.


Re: Larry Poisoned Himself
by: pooper
Long-Term Sentiment: Sell                                                            04/02/03 2:02 pm

Msg: 90003 of 90016
Posted as a reply to: Msg 90002 by ChorusLine
This is bad for the company.  The investing public doesn’t like confusion or complication.  It’s a complication.


Re: Larry Poisoned Himself
by: Jumbo10 (46/M/New York, NY)
Long-Term Sentiment: Buy                                                            04/02/03 2:03 pm
Msg: 90004 of 90016
Posted as a reply to: Msg 90003 by Pooper
Lazard is a well-known amateur mycologist (that means mushroom hunter to those who don’t know their sciences).  He belongs to a mushroom club in New Jersey and he even has a mushroom blog at www.shroomhunter.com. Take a look at it you’ll see where he probably got the poison mushrooms, although he says he wasn’t collecting posion mushrooms and is very specific about what he was collecting.
This news strengthens the suicide theory, since it looks as if he also tried to poison himself. In the short term, that should be a negative for the company, because investors are going to worry what it is he knew that they don’t know.  Even thieving CEOs don’t shoot themselves over good news.
If it turns out that there was some personal problem not related to the company, then probably this is not a long-term negative. In that case, the suicide story is better for the stock than a murder story, because if it’s murder, then we have to worry about who did that and how it relates to the company. Was the company into something it shouldn’t have been?
But if the murder turns out to be about something personal, then that doesn’t matter much to the stock either. Then the stock trades on whether the Street thinks Donna will be a better CEO than Larry and whether they think she might sell for a good price when it was pretty clear that Larry wouldn’t.


Re: Larry Poisoned Himself
by: scooper
Long-Term Sentiment: Buy                                                            04/02/03  2:04 pm
Msg: 90005 of 90016
Posted as a reply to: Msg 90003 by pooper
pooper, you’re still an asshole. This is not a complication. He’s already dead. The stock is up .10 since the story broke.


Larry did pick the mushrooms
by: thewatcher02 (38/M/New Rochelle, NY)
                                                                                                            04/02/03  2:06 pm
Msg: 90006 of 90016
Larry’s blog is all about mushroom picking. He was picking some kind of mushroom that looks like some other kind of mushroom that’s poison.  But it looks like he got the wrong one and then he ate it.


Re: Larry did pick the mushrooms
by: Alaska60-60
Long-Term Sentiment: Strong Sell                                               04/02/03  2:07 pm
Msg: 90007 of 90016
Posted as a reply to: Msg 90006 by thewatcher02
The lizard meant to eat the cunt mushroom and he ate the death angel instead. Some guys shouldn’t hunt cunt or mushrooms or be a ceo and the lizard is one of those and now he won’t be hunting and wont be cunting and wont be ceo but that wont help all you poor slobs who have jerkoff stock.  your dead; you ate the mushroom.
Re: Larry did pick the mushrooms
by: scooper
Long-Term Sentiment: Buy                                                            04/02/03  2:09 pm
Msg: 90008 of 90016
Posted as a reply to: Msg 90007 by Alaska60-60
Alaska, you asshole, why don’t you get your foul mouth off this board and stay on the antihack board where you belong.  We’ve heard enough of your bullshit and the c-word has no place on a finance board.


Re: Larry did pick the mushrooms
by: Alaska60-60
Long-Term Sentiment: Strong Sell                                               04/02/03  2:12 pm
Msg: 90009 of 90016
Posted as a reply to: Msg 90008 by scooper
scooper, you mean the cword ceo?  Thats what sucks at jerkoff, the ceo.  Of course the new one might suck too but that’s different.
But I got it figured out.  The lizard ate the wrong mushroom and it made him nutty so then he shot himself. That makes more sense than most shit hes done.


Back down!
by: thewatcher02 (38/M/New Rochelle, NY)
                                                                                                            04/02/03  2:18 pm
Msg: 90010 of 90016
HOFC’s back down to 1.45 but not much volume.


Re: Larry did pick the mushrooms
by: Jumbo10 (46/M/New York, NY)
Long-Term Sentiment: Hold                                                          04/02/03  2:22 pm
Msg: 90011 of 15
Posted as a reply to: Msg 90009 by Alaska60-60
For once, I had the same first thought as Alaska but I got on wikipedia before shooting my mouth off. The poison from the mushroom that looks like the mushroom Larry was collecting is not hallucinogenic – that means it doesnt make you high. So that theory doesnt work.
But the poison makes you very sick for a week and is painful, so it’s very hard to see why someone who knew about mushrooms would take it to kill himself. And it shows up on  an autopsy just like it just did, so it isn’t a good way to make suicide look like something else so that the insurance company has to pay.
Again, why would he start to kill himself with mushrooms and then change his mind and use a gun before the mushroom even had time to work?  Unless he chickened out once he got a tummy ache.
Questions aren’t good.  Now I’m a hold.


Re: Larry did pick the mushrooms
by: PacPhil (25/M/New York, NY)
Long-Term Sentiment: Buy                                                            04/02/03  2:24 pm
Msg: 90012 of 90016
Posted as a reply to: Msg 90011 by jumbo10
Good questions, Jumbo.  You’re probably right. Its good that you do reasearch that alaska doesn’t.


Anybody know why?
by: CLess
                                                                                                            04/02/03  2:26 pm
Msg: 90013 of 90016
Anybody no why Larry shot himself???  What’s the stock at?


Larry had balls
by: TestTost (35/M/San Francisco, CA)
Long-Term Sentiment: Strong Buy                                               04/02/03  2:30 pm
Msg: 90014 of 90016
Larry liked cunt and he liked mushrooms and he liked living dangerously.  And now he’s dead but that happens.
He died a man.


Re: Larry did pick the mushrooms
by: ChorusLine (25/F/Paramus, NJ)
Long-Term Sentiment: Buy                                                            04/02/03  2:35 pm
Msg: 90015 of 90015
Posted as a reply to: Msg 90011 by Jumbo10
Larry killed himself twice. What will the market think?


Stock Down
by: thewatcher02 (38/M/New Rochelle, NY)                                                                                                                                                                             04/02/03  2:40 pam
Msg: 90016 of 90016
HOFC still at 1.42  No volume!



Detective Cohen takes a call from the lab. “Got results on the ‘shrooms,” says the technician.
“The ones in the office are full of alpha-amanatin, you know what that is?”
“Yeah, that’s what we expected; that’s what was in the deceased’s stomach. The other ones the same?”
“No, were they supposed to be?  I thought they were the control.”
“What do you mean?” Mark raises his voice. “They’re no control. They’re supposed to be from the same batch.”
“Well I don’t know what they are but they don’t have any alpha-amanatin in them, I know that.”

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