Novel Update: I’ve moved the plot ahead to a place where I explicitly reveal suspects for the mysterious disappearances. The next few chapters will focus on the characters who have motive and opportunity. I have plans for those chapters’ conclusions that will lead the readers to reasonably suspect each one of them. The middle chapters also provide room to reveal more about the characters’ back stories.
Then, the next development is the “crime.” Then the search for clues. A few red herrings are also planned. Eventually, the main character, Stuart, who’s been searching for clues and analyzing the evidence will confront each of the possible perpetrators. And even though he’ll solve the mystery, he’s in for a surprise himself.
I’m still toying with archetypical scene where all the suspects are gathered and each one is confronted with the evidence that links them to the crime, a la The Thin Man dinner party.
More about that development to come.