Game: "And then the murders began."

Marc Laidlaw, science-fiction writer, proposed that any work of fiction can be improved with the second sentence: “And then the murders began.”

Game: first line of famous book followed by “And then the murders began.”

“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 Austin, Pride and Prejudice


I’m at my kitchen table, so the cookbook shelf was the closest. Thus we get …

“Good cooking equipment is an absolute must for me … and then the murders began.” - Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet.

Oddly enough, even the acknowledgement page is improved via this method.

“There is no banquet table in the world large enough to seat all the persons whom I must thank for their help in connection with the television shows and this book … and then the murders began.”


Don’t limit yourself to books where the first line is famous! It works for others, too.

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, Inferno

There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made. And then the murders began.

  • J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion (Note: this summarizes most of the book.)

When on board HMS Beagle, as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. And then the murders began.

  • Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species

Oh goodness yes!

One of my sweeties provides these. I sent her the link and she started grabbing books from the shelves in our office:

"Suppose you wanted to build the perfect dog from scratch … and then the murders began."
Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut, How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog)

"GURPS Warehouse 23 is a book of secrets: Weird Science, Magic and Lies … and then the murders began."
S. John Ross, GURPS Warehouse 23

"The root beer barn where Connie Frances LaPlante (called Jenny) worked that summer had been open for more than ten years under different managements … and then the murders began."
April Bernard, Pirate Jenny

I think we’ve created a monster. I’m going to stop transcribing these now before she gets to my O’Reily books.

ETA: OK, after she can down for lunch, she continued to pick up random books in the kitchen. This one just needed to be shared …

"In my first book, I took a look at the waffle iron and elevated it from single-purpose appliance to everyday multitasker … and then the murders began."
Daniel Shumski, Will It Skillet?


and it is told how once the earth swayed in deep quiet,
swayed in deep silence, rested in stillness,
softly rocking, and lay there, lonely and void.
and then the murders began.


I went to the pub this afternoon with my family to watch football, and then the murders began.

I don’t think I like this game


In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God. And the Word was God. And then the murders began.


’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe…

And then the murders began.


One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. And then the murders began.


“Oh, the wonderful sounds Mr. Brown can do. And then the murders began.”

Maybe Dr. Seuss ain’t the guy for this game.

““Look after the baby, Carl. I’ll be back shortly.” And then the murders began.”

That’s more like it.


Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits,
and their names were—
and Peter.
And then the murders began.


If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. And then the murders began.


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure. Et puis les meurtres ont commencé.


1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And then the murders began.


Chapter one I am born, and then the murders began.


And then the murders began, with few exceptions. You monster.


(Schoenberg’s Harmonielehre)

Dieses Buch habe ich von meinen Schülern gelernt… und dann begannen die Morde.


I don’t do it for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form.

And then the murders began…


Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her. And then the murders began.


Can I do it with political party manifestos?

Over the last five years, we have put our country back on the right track. Five years ago, Britain was on the brink. And then the murders began.

David Cameron - Foreword to the Conservative Party manifesto 2015 (because the 2017 one isn’t out yet)