Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Secret Agent #27

TITLE: Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls
GENRE: MG Mystery

Imogene Walters leaned against the parlor door jamb, listening. Dottie, the maid, had told her this was a good way to find out things. All morning Mama was in tears over her missing pearls, until Papa sent a post. Now a famous man and his friend sat in the parlor, asking questions. 

The two men were a tall, skinny detective named Sherlock Holmes, and his partner, Dr. Watson. Papa, a junior partner in a small bank, said Mr. Holmes was famous for his calm brilliance in solving mysteries.
Imogene had watched for Mr. Holmes's arrival from the upstairs window of the school room. When the hansom cab drew up in front of the house, her governess, Miss Mullin, said, “All this excitement is bringing on a headache,” and went to lie down in her room.

Imogene immediately raced downstairs to the small entry hall just as Dottie opened the door. Then Imogene’s parents appeared in the hall.

Papa raised his eyebrows. “Don’t you have lessons, Imogene?”

“Miss Mullin isn’t feeling well.”

Frowning distractedly, he waved a hand.  “Run along and play, then.  Your mother and I have something to discuss with Mr. Holmes.”

“And with Dr. Watson,” Mr. Holmes had said.  “You may tell him anything you would tell me.”

Now, as Dottie fetched tea, Imogene tried to catch every word.  Absentmindedly she fingered the silver locket her parents had given to her when she turned ten last month.

“It must be an inside job.” That was Papa’s voice.


  1. I'm not hooked yet. There's alot of telling and too little showing. The first two paragraphs are the problem, also, we'd probably figure out quickly who the detectives were once she starts listening to them.

    With a little work this could be a great start.

  2. If we start by watching Imogene listening, then she is passive and we won't be as involved in her story. Maybe put the flashback events in the present? Consider starting in the schoolroom, let us get to know Imogene in her normal setting,then go with her (and feel her nervousness?)as she eavesdrops.

    I love a mystery and I do want to read more.

  3. I love MG mysteries. I agree with Plumbago about the passive beginning. It's like a recap and I would rather be in the middle of the action. I want to be surprised to hear who the two men are from the conversation than be told in advance.
    I think it's a cute book idea.

  4. Watch out for the word had and ly words. Dottie, the maid, told her instead of had told her. Also Imogene raced instead of immediately raced. How does one frown distractedly? I can see a hint of a really cute voice trying to break free. Keep at it and you'll get there!

  5. While I love the premise, the majority of these opening lines are a flashback since Imogene is recalling how she came to be standing outside the parlor door rather than keeping us in the present. I think the other details could be woven in later (such as her father asking about her lessons after the conversation). I think that last line would be an excellent starting line for the novel.

    Hope this helps!

  6. I'm going to agree with the other comments.

    I love the concept and I think this story could be a lot of fun.

    But I also think you've started in the wrong place which is why you imediately have a flashback. This could be avoided by starting when she sees Holmes from the window.

  7. I agree with the previous comments, but I am intrigued and would read on.

  8. I agree with everyone else. You start right in the middle of things. She's standing in the doorway eavesdropping on Dad and Sherlock, and then instead of listening to the conversation, you take us into backstory, which doesn't really take us all that far back, and which doesn't tell us anything new or important. Perhaps just stay within the moment.

  9. I agree with the other comments about this being too passive. But putting some spark into this with active verbs will definitely up the energy. This has potential to be a fun story - good luck!

  10. I would delete the flashback and just start the story with the eavesdropping. That way, we can learn most of the events from the flashback naturally.

  11. I admit, this one lost me at the name “Sherlock Holmes.” I do love Holmes stories, and I love plucky young girls solving crimes, but I’m tired of the two being put together. I was also wary at having such an immediate flashback, however brief, since it didn’t feel necessary.