On the evening of the day that my father and I both died, he swept into the house jubilant and loud. Horrocks met him at the door, mumbling his usual polite welcomes and queries about his master’s day while he took my father’s coat and hat.
“Francis!” my father roared at me, spinning me about the drawing room until I was dizzy. “What have you learned today, my son and heir? To bow from the waist, to read a theater bill in French?”
“Polynomial equations,” I said, “industrial management and the history of the Knights Templar.”
* * *
I like to start — a section, a chapter, a book — on a hook, i.e., something that grabs the reader and makes him or her continue reading. The above are the first three paragraphs of chapter one of The Case of the Devil’s Interval. The hook is the bit preceding the first comma.