Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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And then the murders began.

You’re familiar with this recent meme, right?

Give the first sentence of a book and then let the second sentence be “And then the murders begin.” It works surprisingly often! (Though definitely not for The White Road of the Moon; so it’s not universally a great second sentence.)

Anyway, here is a post at Book Riot about re-imagining three classic novels as murder mysteries. Not by using the “murders began” line, but just generally recasting the stories as murder mysteries.

Here’s the first:

1. Sense and Sensibility

Exiled from their lavish Sussex home to a small seaside cottage, the Dashwood women are just adapting to their new, simpler life when their good-humored friend and neighbor, Sir John Middleton, is found dead in the woods near Barton Park. It looks like he tripped and hit his head on a rock but a faint set of footprints, quite different from Sir John’s, are found at the site.

After a charming stranger rescues her during a calamitous walk in the rain (taken to avoid the attentions of her would-be suitor, Colonel Brandon), Marianne falls instantly in love. But is John Willoughby everything he claims to be? And what is his connection to Brandon’s ward, whose mysterious disappearance five years ago remains unsolved?

Eleanor, Marianne’s keenly observant elder sister, and the reclusive Colonel Brandon must solve the case and uncover the truth before Marianne becomes the next victim of a cold-blooded killer.

I must say, that is a wonderful set up for a murder mystery. I would totally read that! Click through to see the other re-imagined classics at Book Riot’s post. They also sound thoroughly intriguing.

Northanger Abbey would be (much) too easy. So would Jane Eyre. But how about The Great Gatsby? I bet that one would have been far more interesting to me in high school if it had been a murder mystery. I bet some of Dickens’ work would also make brilliant murder mysteries.

Nothing could have made Madame Bovary readable. Except blowing up the world and turning it into a post-apocalyptic adventure story; that would do it. Drive Madame Bovary right out of her passivity by introducing zombies. I could get behind that.

That’s a whole different topic, I suppose: re-imagining classic novels as post-apocalyptic stories. Picking one that’s already dystopia is cheating. But you know who would shine as the protagonist of a post-apocalyptic novel? The Count of Monte Cristo.

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1 Comment And then the murders began.

  1. Mary

    Hmm. Looked at my own works. There are some in which “And then the murders begin” would not be incoherent, but I’m not sure if any of them would really work.

    Then, when I was looking at The Lion and the Library, I thought — but this one does immediately delve into a murder-to-be-committed. (By a king, who gets away with such things.)

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