A Spanish crime fiction blog, El blog de Novela Negra y Criminal, publish in a post today that in his opinion Ruth Rendell has the best opening line in the history of crime fiction: “Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write” (A Judgement In Stone, 1977).
Since I was sure that there were some other great opening lines I search in the Internet and I came across an old post at Detectives Beyond Borders: Great first lines in crime fiction. And, curious enough, I’m actually reading Raymond Chandler’s Trouble is my Business, a collection of short stories, for reasons that I will discover in due time.
One of these short stories, Red Wind, has the opening line mentioned on Peter’s blog: “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.”
Which crime fiction opening lines do you like most?
I’m a bit behind my standard pace of reading. One reason being that I have been hiking in La Pedriza. The following information was taken from Wikipedia, the pictures are mine:
La Pedriza is a geological feature of great scenic and leisure interest. It is located on the southern slopes of the Guadarrama mountain range. Access is from Manzanares el Real, a municipality northwest of the Community of Madrid (Spain). It is one of the largest granitic ranges of Europe and holds numerous peaks, rocky cliffs, streams and meadows.
Geological forces have created a remarkable boulder field of strangely eroded granitic outcrops. Nearly a thousand rock climbing routes of all difficulties are available to rock climbers. Hiking is also popular in La Pedriza, especially on weekends.
The 32 square kilometres occupied by La Pedriza lie within the Regional Park of the High River basin of Manzanares, the largest park of the Community of Madrid. In this zone, vegetation is sparse, but there are Mediterranean shrubs like the rockrose, and alpine varieties like fabaceaes. The fauna is rich in birds of prey; the breeding colony of over 100 pairs of Griffon Vultures is the largest in the Madrid area.