TITLE: The Case of the Cat Crazy Lady: A Rainbow Gardens Pet Mystery
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
NOTE: COZIES ARE KNOWN FOR "PUN" TITLES. I KEEP READING THE TITLE AS "CRAZY CAT LADY." I SUGGEST CHANGING THE TITLE TO THE STANDARD PHRASE.
Pitch: After Buttercup Bend's "Cat Crazy Lady," (SAME HERE: "CRAZY CAT LADY") Maggie Broom, is smothered to death in her home, Cathy Carter is stunned to learn that the animal shelter and pet cemetery she co-owns with her brother Doug is the recipient of the bulk of Maggie's estate. Sheriff Miller is convinced Maggie's estranged brother and sister are guilty of murder, but Cathy and her reporter friend, Nancy, set out to prove him wrong.
NOTE: THE PITCH IS RATHER CONVOLUTED. YOU HAVE A LOT OF NAMES IN THIS SHORT SPACE. WHEN YOU'RE READY TO QUERY THIS, FOCUS ON THE MC AND USE "THE SHERIFF" AND SUCH DESIGNATIONS FOR OTHER CHARACTERS.
Cathy stood before the tiny tombstone, a bouquet of spring flowers clutched in her hands. She bent down, tears in her eyes. Reading the inscription proved difficult. "Here lies Floppy, be-loved cat of Catherine Carter. Until we meet again on Rainbow Bridge. 2003-2015."
NOTE: THIS IS WORDY. YOU ACHIEVE SYMPATHY FOR THE MC WITH HER DEAD CAT, BUT YOUR FIRST PARAGRAPH IS VALUABLE TERRITORY. DON'T CLOG IT WITH THE LONG TOMBSTONE INSCRIPTION.
Placing the flowers in front of the stone, she wiped her eyes with a tissue she fetched from the pocket of her blue cardigan. Growing up with cats and dogs and now being part owner of a pet cemetery, Cathy was familiar with the deep pain of losing a special animal friend. (I'D DELETE THIS SENTENCE AND WORK IT IN A LITTLE LATER. KEEP THE FIRST PAGE MOV-ING.) The handsome gray and white cat she'd had since the age of twelve left special pawprints on her heart. She would never forget Floppy. (THE "PAWPRINTS" LINE IS SUFFICIENT. THE LAST SENTENCE IS REDUNDANT)
Hearing a low rustle. (THIS NEEDS A COMMA AND "SHE" SHOULDN'T BE CAPPED.) She glanced behind to see Oliver, the elderly Siamese she adopted two years ago after his ninety-year old owner passed away. (THIS INFO CAN BE MOVED TO SMOOTH THINGS OUT; SEE NEXT LINE.)
Oliver(, HER ELDERLY SIAMESE FOSTER,) approached on his cocoa paws meowing a loud call for attention. It echoed through the quiet cemetery. Cathy patted his head as he rubbed against her calf feeling his touch through the legs of her jeans.
"What are you doing out here, Oliver?" She was sure she'd closed the door behind her of the small house she shared with her grandmother. Cathy's question was answered by Gran whom she hadn't noticed standing on the patio with a watering can in her hands.
(NEW PARAGRAPH) "Catherine," the old woman called (COMMA) waving. She still wore her long nightgown but had put on gardening shoes. (WHY IS GRAN WEARING A NIGHTGOWN AND BOOTS IN PUBLIC? IS SHE A TOUCH SENILE? IF SHE IS, TELL US AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.) "I let out Oliver for some fresh air. I wanted to water the flowers. I hope we didn't startle you."
OVERALL THOUGHTS: THIS ESTABLISHES A SYMPATHETIC MC AND HITS THE FLUFFY PET POINT THAT IS BIG IN COZIES. HOWEVER, THE WRITING COULD USE TIGHTENING UP. A COZY DOESN'T REQUIRE A LOT OF ACTION AT THE BE-GINNING, BUT I SUGGEST SOMETHING ELSE TO ENGAGE THE READER. PERHAPS THE CAT COULD RUN THROUGH THE FLOWERS AND MAKE GRAN SHRIEK? OR A DOG COULD SNAP ITS LEASH AND CHASE THE CAT, AND THE MC COULD RE-MEMBER WHY SHE PREFERS CATS TO DOGS AS SHE'S DEALING WITH MINOR CHAOS AND THE DOG'S OWNER. WHATEVER IS BEST FOR THE CHARACTER.
THIS HAS POTENTIAL. GOOD LUCK WITH IT.