Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Secret Agent #42

TITLE: Murder on Music Row
GENRE: Cozy mystery

Nan Macomb clutched the razor-sharp shears to her side as she made her way along the darkened hallway. She grimaced at the sight of Loralee Anderson sitting, back to her, like she was a complete innocent. When Nan moved into the adjoining room, sunlight glinted off the stainless steel blades and she edged them out of sight.

Loralee caught her eye in the over-sized mirror and swiveled the red stylist chair around to face Nan. "What the hell are you doin'? Looks like you want to stab me."

"The thought crossed my mind," Nan said as she slammed the newly sharpened shears on a nearby table. "One of these days I'm gonna stop fixing the messes you get yourself in when you go out of town and get a wild hair . . . literally." She studied the damage as she pulled her fingers through Loralee's auburn hair, her long curls tipped in rainbow hues.

"Nah, you've been playing with my hair since seventh grade. You won't ever stop. And I didn't let them do nothing but the tips. I saved my roots for you."

Okay, okay. We'll do your highlights before we cut out your folly. Now sit still."

Emma, the third member of their cadre, was hanging out in a corner chair, reading until they finished their shenanigans. She glanced up from her Kindle and winked at Nan.

By the time Nan put Loralee under the dryer, her head looked like a just-cooked pan of Jiffy-Pop popcorn.


  1. Mystery's not really my bag, but I loved the tone here. At first, I really did think Nan might stab Loralee (I loved all the names btw:)), but the change to lighthearted was effortless and funny at the same time. I do think the dialogue could be tightened up a bit, particularly Nan's, so it can pop more like Loralee's. The word "folly" kinda held me up for a second, but everything else was great. The visual I got from Jiffy-Pop popcorn in particular :)
    Ninja Girl

  2. I loved the switcheroo! I totally thought someone was about to get murdered. The humor is great. I'd definitely keep reading!

  3. Mystery is my thing. I liked this. The idea she was sneaking up to stab her pulled me in, but I agree the switch to humor was good. "Folly" seemed out of place to me, also. "Shenanigans" also felt a little forced. But I would keep reading.

  4. Thanks for the comments, ladies. I'm glad you liked it.

    I've tightened Nan's dialogue, changed "your folly" to "this silliness" and the word "shenanigans" to "spat." All good suggestions. :-)

    I've not done a "Secret Agent" before so I'm not sure of the protocol as to whether or not the author should respond to comments, but I wanted to thank for your responses. If you are interested, most Fridays one of these three characters "guest blogs" at Again, thanks.


  5. I love the dialogue (and the changes you made!) as well as the switch you pull on the readers. It makes me want to read on further since I feel like I'm in capable hands. I dig the title as well! Good luck!

  6. I thought the opening was fun, but what does it accomplish? No murder or mystery is introduced, and we don't even get to meet all three characters. Emma is mentioned but doesn't get any lines. And all the converation is about hair, instead of perhaps an itereting bit of gossip that hints/leads to the mystery/murder.

    I think you could perhaps inject some of that to lead us toward whatever the story will be about because without it, you have three woman chatting in a salon.

  7. Sorry about the typos. My s is sticking.

  8. shoot, i personally LOVED the words shenanigans and cadre! i would not take those out! nice voice here!

  9. Thanks everyone for your comments. Heather, "cadre" stays in :-)