Everyone says to begin at the beginning – but don’t forget – begin with action. You must grab an editor or agent within the first two sentences of your manuscript, then within the first one thousand words.
Make the ‘reader’ care immediately about your character(s) giving them challenges, personality, temperament, a defect or two, and of course assets.
Present your character’s challenge and conflict(s) in the story. Set the tone; is there danger, suspense, drama, heartbreak, treachery, or betrayal? Give the reader a taste of what’s to come . . . so they’ll want to continue reading.
Don’t make it easy for the reader to guess the ending – give foreshadowing at the beginning, middle and end that might implicate several possible killers or accomplices. I so want to be surprised, don’t you?