So there's a point in my novel where all of Elias's (my MC) actions and inactions culminate to begin a slip and slide where he loses control of life as he knows it and, with some finality, enters a new one. The secret/ambiguous antagonist murders/sets up the murder of a member of the cult he leads, and Elias ends up getting tangled up in it with no clear way out. Option number 1 is that Elias commits the murder from self-defense, panics, and then Frans comes to the rescue, helping him hide/dispose of the body and clean up and avoid police involvement. That's just easier to see than Frans convincing him to murder the guy ahead of time. But then I'm stumped: how can you set up a violent altercation between two people that guarantees that one of them dies and that the one that dies is the one you want to die? In a way that doesn't break the reader's suspension of disbelief and cross the line into being ridiculous? Option number 2: Frans establishes the impression within Elias that the target is violent, dangerous, and volatile. Some time later he and Elias are set to meet somewhere private. He schedules an earlier meeting with the cult member, murders him, and allows Elias to stumble upon the scene. Frans only needs Elias's fear, shock, and sympathy to cause him to help Frans clean up and/or get rid of the body. If that happens, then Elias reporting the crime would be out of the question since he's now an accomplice to it. My reservation with this option is that I don't see it being so foolproof. Elias could easily come to his senses and/or discover the truth, report the crime, then claim he was under duress/manipulated and probably get an easier sentence. Frans has much more to lose by taking the risk and less power than if Elias had been the one to do the deed. I've been trying and failing to work this out for a while so I figured it was time for some outside perspectives. Which is more believable/effective, are there ideas or holes that haven't occurred to me, how in the hell could anyone pull off option 1, that sort of thing.