Monday, June 26, 2006
Guess the Plot
Murder at the Mall
1. Emily was distressed when the detective at the door informed her that her husband had been murdered at the mall--until she remembered that she'd just left him in the living room.
2. When Josie grabbed the last pair of rhinestone-studded, stiletto-heeled slingbacks in the shop window, she didn't know Veronica would eat her heart out. Literally.
3. When two centenarians duke it out over a handicapped parking space at the Outlet Mall of Augusta, they initiate the great Kennebec County Retirement Community Jello War of 2002.
4. When a loitering high school dropout is found dead in the food court, it's up to teen sleuth Amber True to solve the case - and exonerate her best friend.
5. When Eddie Bauer is murdered while visiting a banana republic, detectives Abercrombie and Fitch can find only one witness: Vickie Sbarro. And she's not talking. What is Victoria's secret?
6. Changing room clerk Ida Charles loves reading murder mysteries. But when she discovers body parts left in the pockets of the clothes she's to rerack, she becomes party to a gruesome real-life mystery.
Dear Evil Editor;
The query: Short and to the point, like the novel:
Title: Murder at the Mall
Genre: Humorous mystery
Word count: 53,000
Blurb: Someone's been shot at the mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. [Someone from Queen of Siam, New Mexico.] After retrieving the victim's license, bumbling Upper Merion Township detective Roger Dodger [Roger Dodger? That's the name of a movie. A pretty good movie, actually. That's like naming your character Jerry Maguire or Nurse Betty or Lawrence of Arabia.] [Besides, it rhymes, sounds silly, and no kid would survive childhood with that name.] [Change it to Bry'nhth Sirocco.] must go inform Emily Anderson that she has just become a widow, only to find her husband Wayne Anderson, the shooting victim, alive and well at their home. Identity theft? Perhaps. But whose? [Wayne's, of course. Someone had his license. And, apparently, his face.] And why?
Author: I am a recreational shopper living in King of Prussia. [Evil Editor can hardly call that an irrelevant credit for this book, now can he?] For the last twenty-five years I have watched the mall evolve from a collection of connected outdoor shops to the magnificent retail temple it is today. [Join me for weekly worship services outside Godiva Chocolatier.] In my spare time I practice medicine, am raising a family, and read voraciously. [But trust me, all that goes onto the back burner whenever there's a sale at Frederick's of Hollywood.] I also write from time to time.
Enclosures: First five pages; SASE.
Personalized closing: Bearing in mind the volume of queries viewed daily by the typical agent or editor, I believe this format will be a welcome change. [Thank you. Those full-page queries are so tedious. I swear, if someone would send me a one-sentence query, I'd buy the book sight- unseen.] I look forward to your public evisceration (of the query; not the finale of Braveheart starring Evil Editor.)
The fact that the dead guy is now alive, and presumably not as a zombie, piques the interest, but I think we want more information about the book, and less about the author. We don't even know if the Andersons remain key characters, or if they have nothing to do with anything. Were there witnesses to this shooting in a mall? Are there suspects?