I don't write much about mysteries or detective fiction because I don't read as much of them as I do other types of fiction -- perhaps every third of fourth book. But I like a well-written, well-plotted one as much as the next guy. Peter Rozovsky, in his blog, Detectives Beyond Borders: A Forum for International Crime Fiction, posts about great opening lines in crime fiction. He includes one of his own favorites, from Raymond Chandler's "Red Wind:"
"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot, dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge."Then there's the round of quotes that readers provided in their comments, such as:
"Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write."-- Ruth Rendell, A Judgement in Stone; and
"The night of my mother's funeral, Linda Dawson cried on my shoulder, put her tongue in my mouth and asked me to find her husband."-- Declan Hughes, The Wrong Kind of Blood
Thanks to Book/Daddy for the lead. He notes " how rarely such masters as Dashiell Hammett, Elmore Leonard or Ross Macdonald open with anything more than a clean, simple statement. Yet those declarations draw in expectations, get things rolling, especially when the author keeps the snap for the end." He offers these examples:
"Jackie Brown at twenty-six, with no expression on his face, said that he could get some guns."
-- The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins, and
"I sat in my brand-new office with the odor of paint in my nostrils and waited for something to happen."-- "Find the Woman," from Name is Archer by Ross Macdonald
Makes me want to take a look at all of these, starting with the Rendell.