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People Are Adding “And Then The Murders Began” To Famous Book Openings, And It’s Impossible Not To Laugh

1 April 2017

From Bored Panda:

The opening line of a book is extremely important, as it has to be intriguing and powerful enough to capture the reader’s imagination. Then, the second line has to intensify the intrigue. Coming up with these lines can be pretty difficult, yet one writer came up with a second line that would almost always heighten the intrigue to its peak, and the Internet is going crazy.

“And then the murders began” – that’s the clever line Marc Laidlaw came up with. Add it to almost any opening line and you’ve got yourself a hell of an intriguing book opening.

. . . .

There was an old lady who lived in a shoe. She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do. And then the murders began. (Nursery Rhymes, Dorling Kindersley)

. . . .

One sunny Sunday, the caterpillar was hatched out of a tiny egg. He was very hungry. And then the murders began. (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle)

. . . .

“I wonder what Piglet is doing,” thought Pooh. And then the murders began. (Winnie The Pooh , A.A. Milne)

Link to the rest at Bored Panda

PG will add his own:

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. And then the murders began. (James Joyce, Ulysses)

Books in General

47 Comments to “People Are Adding “And Then The Murders Began” To Famous Book Openings, And It’s Impossible Not To Laugh”

  1. Howard Roark laughed. And then the murders began.

    (The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand)

  2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. And then the murders began. (Jane Austen, P&P)

  3. I always get the shakes before a drop. And then the murders began. —Starship Troopers

  4. In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. And then the murders began. (The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien)

    When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton. And then the murders began. (The Lord of The Rings, JRR Tolkien)

  5. Midway upon the journey of our life
    I found myself within a forest dark,
    For the straightforward pathway had been lost.
    And then the murders began.

    (Dante’s latest thriller, The Inferno Killer)

  6. Andrew Claymore

    Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. — And then the murders began.
    (One Hundred Years of Solitude)

  7. Andrew Claymore

    Call me Ishmael.
    And then the murders began.

  8. It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. And then the murders began. (A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle)

  9. Come, Spot. And then the murders began. (Dick and Jane. Go, go, go.)

  10. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. And then the murders began. (A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens)

  11. So I had to try it with the first line in my series.

    “Cats and dogs, living together,” said the tall, gangling man. And then the murders began.

    (Actually, they start two paragraphs later.)

    Let’s go to my favorite author:

    Morgon of Hed met the High One’s harpist one autumn day when the trade-ships docked at Tol for the season’s exchange of goods. And then the murders began.

    • Oh! I need to re-read The Riddle-Master of Hed. It’s been decades since my last time.

      I’m going to copy you in trying the murder line with one of my own books though. I’m curious about the result. 😉

      Livli re-rolled the scroll carefully, returned it to its pigeonhole, and sighed. And then the murders began.

      (Hmmm. I had to search through several books before I found one that worked. Most of my books seem to start with anger, fear, or even a dead body. So putting murder in the next line seems rather too expected. I was surprised, since I tend to think of my fiction as thoughtful, rather than violent, even though there is a certain amount of violence present. Interesting.)

      • Oh, I love Riddle-Master of Hed too! I first read it in high school, when it was first published, lo these many decades ago. And yes, coming time for a re-read.

    • First line didn’t work for mine, so first paragraph instead:

      Screams pierced the air, but I’d grown used to hearing them over the past year and change. The smell of cotton candy, popcorn, and other, standard carnival fare wafted by on a warm breeze. Music played from each ride, rising over the noise of the crowd as we paused to watch inept teens try to toss rings onto bottles. I licked a bit of spun sugar from the corner of my mouth, savoring the taste of having a normal day out. And then the murders began.

    • The Riddle-Master of Hed! Yay! I love the older Patricia McKillip books. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is one of my all-time favorites.

  12. The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. And then the murders began. –Stephen King, The Gunslinger

  13. In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power — Green Lantern’s light! And then the murders began.

  14. Let’s see:

    The wind howled. Lightning stabbed at the earth erratically, like an inefficient assassin. Thunder rolled back and forth across the dark, rain-lashed hills.

    The night was as black as the inside of a cat. It was the kind of night, you might believe, in which gods moved men as though they were pawns on the chessboard of fate. In the middle of this elemental storm a fire gleamed among the dripping furze bushes like the madness in a weasel’s eye. It illuminated three hunched figures. As the cauldron bubbled an eldritch voice shrieked,

    “When shall we three meet again?”

    There was a pause.

    Finally another voice said in far more ordinary tones: “Well, I can do next Tuesday.”

    And then the murders began.

    Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett.

    The thing is, I start books, chapters, scenes, exactly like this! I delete the sentence seconds after; it just helps clear the cobwebs when I’m trying to get started 🙂

  15. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And then the murders began.

  16. All happy families are alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. And then the murders begin.

  17. I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as “Claudius the Idiot,” or “That Claudius,” or “Claudius the Stammerer,” or “Clau-Clau-Claudius” or at best as “Poor Uncle Claudius,” am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the “golden predicament” from which I have never since become disentangled. And then the murders began. —Robert Graves, I, Claudius

    There, shortened that book for you.

  18. I don’t claim any famous lines at all, but Meryl’s idea of using her own lines gave me to opportunity to see mine in a whole other light.

    Laugh all you can, you’ll feel better for it. Enjoy.

    In the dark, the slight young woman ran quickly from the small stage to her tiny dressing room. And then the murders began.

    “Good morning,” Ian Jamse said, making every attempt to keep brusqueness out. And then the murders began.

    Nureddin Al-Shazar twitched once as his phone vibrated. And then the murders began.

    Light from the mid-May sun lit the room in the Hermosillo, Mexico, hotel in subdued salmon pinks and bronzy golds. And then the murders began.

    Clive Burton took the lead, striding ahead of Belinda Blanchet, his fellow student, his inamorata and soon, he hoped, his fiancée. And then the murders began.

    “Masturbation is perfectly normal,” Mom said, doing her best to maintain her composure. And then the murders began.

    Tanial flung her red hair over her shoulder. “I won’t, Pa! He’s older than you! And what about⁠—” And then the murders began,

    Tanial stood, almost in shock as Miri⁠—Can’t see her feet in that gown, but I swear she’s skipping!⁠—left them. And then the murders began.

  19. Felix J. Torres

    “THIS WAS A GOLDEN AGE, a time of high adventure, rich living, and hard dying… but nobody thought so. This was a future of fortune and theft, pillage and rapine, culture and vice… but nobody admitted it. This was an age of extremes, a fascinating century of freaks… but nobody loved it. And then the murders began.” Alfred Bester — THE STARS MY DESTINATION.

    Accurate, too.

    • Felix J. Torres

      “Explosion! Concussion! The vault doors burst open. And deep inside, the money is racked ready for pillage, rapine, loot. Who’s that? Who’s inside the vault? Oh God! The Man With No Face! Looking. Looming. Silent. Horrible. Run… Run…

      And then the murders begin.” Alfred Bester — The demolished man.

      I’ve got Bester on the brain today, apparently.
      Thinking of openings will do that.

      I’m still surprised nobody has made a movie out of any of his novels.

  20. Brother Francis Gerard of Utah might never have discovered the blessed documents, had it not been for the pilgrim with girded loins who appeared during that young novice’s Lenten fast in the desert. And then the murders began. (A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M Miller Jr)

  21. Just for the weekend, I uploaded new versions of ALL 20 short stories in my SciFi series “The Cities of Luna” to include “And then the murders began.”

    Strangely, most of them work. I may have to rewrite the series with a homicidal subplot…

    (Oh, I only changed the files on Smashwords. The ones on Amazon are still “normal.”)

  22. Al the Great and Powerful

    I had a friend we used to call Helen Keller, the kind of guy who just couldn’t see what was going on right in front of him. His first wife called him her Scenic Overlook. He wasn’t stupid; it was more that he always had a lot going on inside his head. He was a big guy so we got him into our local re-enactor group where he fit right in, developing a strong sword-swinging style that turned out useful later. Great guy in a fight, but socially awkward in real life. We kept him socially active and he kept us intellectually active. And then the murders began.

  23. As awesome as this is, Richard Stark was too quick for it with his opening line in “Firebreak.”

    “When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man.”

    Where do you go from there? That’s pretty much all in! It works better for “Lonesome Dove,” though.

    “When Augustus came out on the porch the blue pigs were eating a rattlesnake – not a very big one. And then the murders started.”

  24. In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the army. And then the murders began.

    A Study in Scarlet.

  25. It works with non-fiction too!

    “In the spring of 2005 my doctor diagnosed me with a form of mental illness. And then the murders began.”

    How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams

  26. It is a tale which they narrate in Poictesme, saying: In the ‘old days lived a pawnbroker named Jurgen; but what his wife called him was very often much worse than that. And then the murders began.Jurgen- James Branch Cabell

  27. Know, Oh prince,
    that between the days when the oceans drank Atlantis,
    and her gleaming cities,
    and the rise of the sons of Aryas,
    there was an age undreamed of…and then the murders began.

  28. Here’s one from my April 21 release, SEASONS OF RECKONING:

    “Blow, northern wind, fend off from my sweeting.”
    Marcus threw a wave and a grin at the minstrel group. And then the murders began.

  29. “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.” And then the murders began.

    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

  30. Patricia Sierra

    ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
    Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
    The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
    In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
    The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
    While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
    And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
    Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
    When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
    I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
    And then the murders began.

  31. Except it’d be…

    There was an old lady who lived in a shoe. And then the murders began. (Nursery Rhymes, Dorling Kindersley)

  32. “Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do… And then the murders began.”

    – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

  33. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Then the murders began. 🙂

    It was a dark and stormy night. Then the murders began. 🙂

  34. “‘You’ll have to go to school Elizabeth!’ said Mrs Allen. ‘I think your governess is quite right. You are spoilt and naughty, and although Daddy and I were going to leave you here with Mrs Scott while we went away, I think it would be better for you to go to school.'” And then the murders began.
    (The Naughtiest Girl in the School by Enid Blyton)

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