The Corpse Danced at Midnight was Jessica Fletcher's first murder-mystery novel, written after the death of her husband as a way of coping with the grief. Her nephew Grady Fletcher found the manuscript, and submitted it to Coventry House Publishing, and its success marked the start of "J.B. Fletcher's" murder mystery career. ("The Murder of Sherlock Holmes")
The novel was published in late 1984, and included her first press junket - doing radio and television interviews with a number of curious characters. Some saw it as a drab appeasement to the masses, and others complimented the unintentional "feminist thrust" weaved into the story line.
To celebrate Mrs. Fletcher was invited to a party held by the publisher in April where a murder occurred. Because she had written a murder mystery, the party looked to her to solve the crime - the start of her independent sleuthing experiences. ("The Murder of Sherlock Holmes")
The novel included the character of Johnny the 10-year old son of a Presbyterian minister, who, as Mrs. Fletcher put it, "didn't take his shirt off in 200 pages." ("Hooray for Homicide")
During a television interview, one interviewer admired the choice to have the pregnant ballerina be the murderer. ("The Murder of Sherlock Holmes")
The murder weapon was poison, as told by Jessica to Dr. Victor March. ("Reflections of the Mind ")
A few months after the initial publication in 1984, Jerry Lydecker bought the film rights to the book "for the title," and had the story completely rewritten to include more gore and even nudity. But when Lydecker's murder interrupted the production, the film was mothballed in place of another "gore and sex-filled" film. ("Hooray for Homicide")