The thing is, it's kind of fun killing people on paper. There's nothing like a dead body to get a plot moving. And once you trip over a corpse, you have to ask Who killed him/her? And why? And who's going to miss him? Who's affected by his/her death?
In romances, the main focus is on the guy and the girl and a supporting cast. In mysteries, you get to play with the detective (amateur or pro), the victim/s, usually a love interest (for a subplot), suspects, and witnesses. A wide cast awaits you. You have more wiggle room. So, here's an excerpt from the mystery I'm working on. If my editor hates it, it might change. But here's what I have now & if you have any opinions, I'd love to hear them!
They climbed the stairs to the three bedrooms and two baths on the second-floor and then climbed a small, narrow set of steps to the third-floor attic. She breathed in stale air. Jazzi pulled on a string dangling from the overhead lightbulb. The room proved to be decent-sized with a low-pitched ceiling. No insulation, so they’d have to install some, but it provided needed storage.
Old paintings and mirrors leaned against the side walls. Wrought iron furniture for the patio was shoved to the back. An armoire was smashed against a matching chest of drawers in the highest part of the room. Old trunks sat under rafters. A long, deep cedar chest caught Jerod’s eye.
“Franny would love that.” Jerod’s wife refinished old furniture and ran a business out of a shed on their property. Tallish and shapeless with carrot-orange hair and a face covered with freckles, Franny would never have attracted Jerod if a friend hadn’t set them up on a blind date, but once he spent an evening with her, he couldn’t stop talking about her. She exuded warmth. To meet Franny was to love her. Down-to-earth and practical, she wouldn’t put up with any of Jerod’s B.S., but loved him with every fiber of her being.
The cedar chest was scratched and scarred. Its bottom half was discolored, but it was long and deep. Even the floor under it was stained. Jazzi looked at the ceiling. Had there been a leak at one time? The boards overhead looked fine.
“If you want the chest, it’s yours.”
Jerod smiled and started to drag it toward the door. Something jostled and rattled inside. Jerod flipped open the lid to see what, then jumped back and stared. “Holy shit!”
A skeleton was lying inside, its head cradled on a pillow, its knees pulled up. A hand and wrist bone had fallen off and formed a small heap of bones on the bottom of the trunk from when Jerod jostled them. Thick, blonde hair—dry with a reddish cast—fanned to its shoulders. From old pictures, Jazzi recognized what was left of the cotton, spring dress it wore and there was no mistaking the oval, silver locket dangling around the neck bones.
Jazzi shivered and rubbed her arms. Her mom’s sister had disappeared twenty-six years ago, the year after Jazzi was born. Lynda had left for New York and never returned, never wrote, never called. Jazzi’s mother insisted she wouldn’t do that. According to everyone else, she would.
Mom swore if Lynda didn’t want to marry Cal Juniper, she’d have called off the wedding. Others remembered Lynda disappearing to New York when she got cold feet with Maury, her first serious contender. No matter. It had taken years for her mother to give up hopes of finding her. And now, it looked as though Mom had been right. Lynda had never left Cal’s house.
Jerod let out a long sigh. “It’s who I think it is, right?”