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I had a stack of recent, trad published cozies sitting by my desk so I thought I'd check for you.

1. Body appears in Chapter One, on page 14 of 288 (but this one was odd, because the body was briefly discovered, then disappeared, the police didn't believe it ever existed, and it didn't reappear until page 70).

2. Body first mentioned in Chapter Four, on page 38 of 293.

3. Death first mentioned in Chapter Five, on page 38 of 318.

4. Body in Chapter Four, page 18 of 279.

5. Body on page 64 of 312 (book uses dates instead of traditional chapters, so it's nine days in but some entries are shorter than typical chapters).

In these examples, the murder is first discovered or mentioned anywhere between 5% and 20% of the way through the book, with an average of about 11%. It's a small sample size, but the pattern is consistent with my first inclination, which was to say "the discovery of the body in a murder mystery is usually the inciting event, which takes place around the 1/8 mark."
 

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MooreFiction said:
Fascinating ... thanks for taking the time. Yes I was sure I had read some Christie mysteries in the past were the inciting incident took place some way into the story.

Based on the other feedback above though it did get me thinking and I have come up with a cunning plan (over lunch) to introduce a second victim right on page one
You're welcome! For Christie, if memory serves, it varied, depending on whether Poirot happened to be on the scene when a murder just happened to occur (in which case, it happened a bit into the story) or whether the story would start with Inspector Japp showing up and asking for help--but that's a bit different since he's a professional detective, when most cozies now have amateur solvers. (Plus it's not a very good gauge of what sells now, as opposed to in the 1930s...)

I also noticed that, in the book I mentioned above in which the murder happened the latest of the five, the woman who eventually becomes the victim is introduced at exactly the 12.5% mark, so the inciting event in that case is her appearance--and that book won an Agatha for best first novel...
 
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