Sep 15, 2010


Dear xxx,

Corwin James, a Scotland Yard officer investigating a series of murders, knows he's in over his head when the newspapers report him as dead.

Following instructions in a mysterious letter from his boss, Corwin and his teenage ward, Emil, take advantage of his current alibi to investigate the case. The only clues they have as to who the murderer is are notes left at the sites of the murders, all quoting Alice in Wonderland. Though both of them are desperate to catch the man who killed their loved ones, they soon discover that the murderer is not only as intelligent as both of the combined, but twice as devious. To get to the bottom of the case, Emil must face the demons of his horrific past and the two must go on a literal rabbit chase for answers. If they find the murderer, they’ll never be free of the nightmare.

If they fail to capture him, he lays his hands on his final intended victims: the royal family.

MAD AS A HATTER is a 50,000 word mystery with a supernatural twist set in Victorian London. Thank you for your time and consideration.



Suzan Harden said...

I love Victorian mysteries, and I really, really want to love this one. But your query leaves me a little confused.

You start off talking about Corwin, but then switch to Emil and his demons. Who's the main protagonist? That's the person you need to focus on through the whole query.

Detective + teenage ward + Mad Hatter? Was the Batman reference on purpose? If so, great! I love a good pop culture joke, but you'll to be careful about who's on your submission list. If not, you might want to rethink how this reads.

"If they find the murderer, they'll never be free of the nightmare." Possible typo?

What's the supernatural twist? Demon rabbits? If so, it needs to be clearer in the second paragraph.

I just finished the first three books in Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, and I'd love to find something similar! Your story could be it.

Best wishes on your submissions.

Zee Lemke said...

First sentence: Satisfactory.

Everything after that is confusing. Wasn't Corwin already investigating when he turned up dead? WHY IS HE LETTING A TEENAGER HELP? "Current alibi" is awkward and since he's obviously NOT dead, it's actually a lousy alibi. Good excuse for not showing up to work. Bad alibi if you get caught committing a crime.

P2S2 is hopelessly twisted up grammatically. "Clues" is the subject, "are" is the main verb. I get what you're saying, but you don't have to put it all in one sentence. Same goes for S3. Corwin and Emil had some loved ones? Oh. That was sudden. Pick just one of them, have him lose his loved ones up in the first sentence, the part about Corwin being dead might not even need to be here unless he really is dead.

Typo in S4.

Literal rabbit chase? So, um, the murderers are rabbits? What?

And what does the royal family have to do with anything?

Okay. You have a great story, and then you're choking up because you're trying to get too much into your query. You don't need the whole thing, but you have to pull out a part that all connects with itself. Your beginning should have Corwin losing some loved ones. Then he has to stop a cryptic Carroll-themed crazy from killing Queen Victoria. You don't have to tell us when it's set if you name the intended victims. Many of us can even recognize the names of Victoria's family members.

The premise is kind of awesome if you pull it off well, and I am perhaps a little too sleep-deprived right now to be allowed out in public. Anything that sounds curt or sarcastic in this query was typed through blurred eyes; I like both the story idea and the sense of it that I get from how you write. Just needs shaking out and putting back in order.

Tally said...

Thanks! I'll work on it more.