Hi there! I'm tagging you from the Gryffindor Common Room for Review Tag! And welcome, by the way!
This story caught my interest because firstly, it's a mystery and I love those, and secondly, I've been snooping around the challenges threads lately to see what other writers are up to these days.
So firstly, I am intrigued by your character here. Tobias Hughes already sounds like an interesting fellow, upstanding member of the Wizengamot with heavy thoughts surrounding him. He's eighty years old, looks older than he thinks he should, and likes to take walks. It sounds like he's had a hard life so far, and that his profession hasn't been an easy one.
You definitely gave us a realistic view of the murder. The way you described the brutal way in which poor Tobias is cut down, I gather that whoever is doing the deed is angry with him. It almost feels personal, the way he causes the older man so much pain, handling him roughly about the neck. You've very clearly set the stage for a dark, gruesome story that shows us all the ugly.
From the first section, I get a clear understanding of the case coming up and why it's important to a lot of people, but it felt very narrative-heavy, and was a little cumbersome to read. I think you could have made this first section a lot more personable by giving us more of a glimpse into Tobias' mind, how he felt about the upcoming vote, whether he was still making up his mind, and if he felt like he was in any pressing danger. This is the only part of the story where we'd get a chance to know this guy (since he's dead at the end of the chapter), and frankly, if you hadn't mentioned it in the summary, I wouldn't have known that he was the one with the final vote. I wouldn't have been able to piece together why this man was murdered.
From the time period you chose, I think it will be very interesting to see how you bring the canon characters into the story and wrap them up in the mystery surrounding this death. I'm already wondering who the murderer is, and how difficult it will be to catch him/her/them. And I'm dying (not literally :P) to know if the clock has a great significance in your plot.
Happy writing, and good luck with the challenge!
Author's Response: Howdy and thanks for the welcome and the detailed and thoughtful review!
I'm glad you thought the murder was realistic! I wanted to take a no-holds-barred (within the ToS) approach to the crime itself, so I tried to take a great deal of care to make it believable in feel and description, so it's good to hear you thought that showed.
I also really appreciate the CC about it being cumbersome at the start. I struggled a bit with laying out enough of Hughes and enough of the policy stuff and then decided to play a bit of kick the can with the details of Hughes's back-story and role in the policy battle described in the summary by leaving that to get fleshed out in the investigation. So hopefully that works out.
A number of the canon characters will appear in the next chapter and I'm interested to see what people think. I rarely write them outside of an AU and certainly not in this type of story, but I'm trying to keep their core traits true while still showing some growth that will hopefully not take them OOC. I'm kind of sweating this, but we'll see how it goes.
Thanks again your deep and thoughtful review!