Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March Secret Agent #22

TITLE: Opelika Ladies Murder Society
GENRE: Cozy Mystery

Annelle grunted as she pushed Myrtle’s wheelchair off the cart path and into the rough near the last hole of the Robert Trent Jones Grand National golf course. Ned Pinckney’s casket lay open in the hot Alabama sun, the flag of the 18th hole directly at the foot of the coffin. Years ago, that rich SOB had somehow convinced the golf course owners to allow his funeral service to be held on the pristine green when the Lord finally called him home. He probably paid a pretty penny for this spectacle and Annelle hoped he was at least enjoying it from wherever he now resided.

She suspected that perverse curiosity alone drew Myrtle and hundreds of other Opelika residents to the funeral. As much as the town despised Ned, they couldn’t take their eyes off him, especially as a murdered corpse.

“Outrageous,” Myrtle murmured loud enough to let a few people hear her without disrupting the entire funeral.

Annelle didn’t want to engage but knew if she didn’t, Myrtle would only persist. “Okay, I give up. What’s outrageous?” A number of things about this funeral would be considered such but Annelle had no idea what Myrtle found most egregious.

“Look at that rouge! He looks like a Kewpie doll. And the man is dressed in green and pink plaid pants and white golf shoes instead of a proper suit.” Myrtle had always taken great offense at attire not suited to the occasion.


  1. Hooked! Fun, and I love the voice. I'd cut "Okay, I give up" and reword the description of the dead man's outfit because it didn't sound like natural dialogue to me. Otherwise, I loved it!

  2. Agree with Betsy...

    I'd probably cut the first paragraph into two, and the first sentence seemed length, but that one I'm not sure how you'd cut it.

    The voice seems strong, and I'd like to know how our corpse was murdered.

  3. I enjoy this genre. You've written a beginning that makes me want more, so I guess I'm hooked.

    I found some of the sentences clumsy to read, if you read them out loud you'll hear what I mean. One example: "He probably paid a pretty penny..."

    Good work, and good luck!

  4. Fun! I enjoyed this. I agree with the others that a few things could be polished up to feel more natural, and I did think your first sentence was too long.

    Good luck!

  5. I really like this. I think you did a great job of setting, plot, and voice. I didn't think the dialogue was off. I immediately have an image of the MC.

    The only nit pick I have is after Annelle indulges the lady in the wheel by asking the question. You've already painted a picture and the reader knows it's outrageous. Trust your reader! Then proceed to the answer.

    I'd read on!

  6. I love the mixture of humor and mystery so this is a treat for me. I think the voice is promising and the initial set-up just whacky enough to keep going. I think you need to resist the urge to comment on a character's comments - i.e. just let them say what they have to say and let the reader enjoy the banter. I think the ending of the excerpt could have been made more fun if there was a difference of opinion as to the suitable attire. That is, perhaps being on a golf course this IS appropriate clothing. I would find that fun :)

  7. I'm a sucker for a cosy and this one doesn't disappoint! You've got the tantalizing title, the busybod- I mean, old ladies - and a murdered rich SOB in Alabama. What's not to like? Please tell me what happens next!

  8. Hooked! This is a fun opening. Your writing is tight, and you have a great voice.

  9. I was charmed by the MC and the unorthodox funeral situation, as well as Myrtle being scandalized by the attire. I thought the writing flowed well for the most part. There were a few bumps though, and I pretty much agree with what's been said.

    I'll add that I thought there was a little too much explanation in the fourth paragraph. Pure banter would have been more engaging. Also, the wording of Myrtle's complaint *sounds* like you're using dialog to describe something. It would sound less like commentary if you said something like "And who dresses a man in..." or "Who sends a man to his maker in..."

  10. I'd continue reading, though I'd want to see in the very near future if the golf course is the setting of the mystery. (That would be pretty cool, because I haven't seen a golf course mystery series.) Is Annelle the protagonist? As this one progresses, I'd want to see if it hits the hallmarks of a cozy and how the voice develops.