Mar 8, 2011

Query- Helen Incriminates Herself

Title: Helen Incriminates Herself
Genre: cozy mystery

Most amateur sleuths get started by trying to clear themselves, or a loved one, of murder charges. Not Helen Binney. When her visiting nurse is murdered, Helen tries to prove she could have done it.

Helen is fed up with people thinking that her lupus, which recently forced her into retirement, makes her too frail and helpless to do anything. The police take one look at Helen, leaning on her cane, and write her off as a suspect, despite damning circumstances. The victim is a woman Helen had argued with on a daily basis. There were plenty of witnesses to Helen's saying she wanted to get rid of the nurse. And if that's not enough to make Helen a prime suspect, the victim was killed outside Helen's cottage, and Helen is the one who found the body.

In the course of trying to prove her own potential guilt, Helen finds evidence to suggest a friend was the killer. She can't believe he's guilty, but by then, it's obvious that she herself is the only other viable suspect.

Now Helen feels as helpless as everyone assumes she is. When the real killer threatens her, Helen has to prove just how strong she really is.

HELEN INCRIMINATES HERSELF is an eighty-thousand-word cozy mystery.

4 comments:

Anonymous Author said...

Interesting premise. I'd lose the first line: it stops the reader, while s/he tries to decide whether or not s/he agrees with your assertion. You don't want anything to stop the reader.

I like the idea of the protag being offended at the idea that she can't have committed the murder, esp. since she didn't like the decedent. It's over-the-top. But because it's over-the-top, you really have to work to convince us that Helen would really do this. After all, the consequences to her could be disastrous.

On the rewrite, try a little harder to convince us that this would really happen. Maybe a little more voice would do it.

Suzi McGowen said...

I loved it. I did think there was a typo in the third line, but then I read on.

I'd read it.

GLJ said...

I really like this. It is well-written and gives me a great picture of the conflict. And it makes me root for Helen. Come on, Helen, you can frame yourself if only you try hard enough!

My only negative is the first paragraph. It is essentially a summary, repeating info that is conveyed better in the rest of the query. You can take the only new info and add it to the second paragraph, deleting the first paragraph (see below).


Helen is fed up with people thinking that her lupus, which recently forced her into retirement, makes her too frail and helpless to do anything. SO WHEN HER VISITING NURSE IS MURDERED, HELEN TRIES TO PROVE SHE COULD HAVE DONE IT. The police take one look at Helen, leaning on her cane, and write her off as a suspect, despite damning circumstances. The victim is a woman Helen had argued with on a daily basis. There were plenty of witnesses to Helen's saying she wanted to get rid of the nurse. And if that's not enough to make Helen a prime suspect, the victim was killed outside Helen's cottage, and Helen is the one who found the body.

gin said...

I'm the author, and just wanted to thank everyone for their great suggestions. You hit on things I knew were "off," but couldn't quite resolve on my own.