In the golden age mysteries, the victim doesn't necessarily die right away, but I have heard that the convention today is to kill your first victim off within the first 30 pages. Is this a hard and fast rule? Are there successful examples of mysteries that don't lead off with a murder immediately? Look forward to your thoughts.

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My book takes place in the tango community, so I'd prefer to lead up slowly to the murder, as one would lead up slowly to a seduction. Thanks for your perspective, and hope your new release is going well.
Hi Lisa,
I think you should have the murder occur in chapter 1 (especially if this is your first mystery manuscript that you're trying to get published), then flashback to the seduction that led up to it. That's exactly what I had to do to get a publishing contract for my cozy, A Real Basket Case. When I moved chapter 3 (with the murder) forward to be chapter 1, then flashed back to the setup in chapters 2 & 3 (the old chapters 1 & 2), I immediately started to get more attention from agents & editors and soon sold it.
That's really interesting. I actually tried that first, but thought it read too much like a thriller. Not that that's bad!
Don't know if it helps Lisa, but I killed the first victim in my book, Justice is Coming, on the first page. Naturally, there are others later, but that was my inital "hook" for the reader to get things started with a bang if you will :o)
Naturally! Love that. We're so bloodthirsty.


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