Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mysteries For Danielle Svetcov #21

TITLE: Opelika Ladies Murder Society
GENRE: Cozy Mystery

When the Alabama Azaleas Book Club decides to read only Agatha Christie novels for a year, townspeople start showing up dead, murdered the same nights as book club and in the exact same manner featured in the month’s selection. The women must work together to find the killer before the next murder takes place — even if that means implicating one of their own.

Annelle grunted as she pushed Myrtle’s wheelchair off the cart path and into the rough near the last hole of the 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. Annelle heard he paid a pretty penny for this spectacle. She hoped he was at least enjoying it from wherever he now resided.

Myrtle and hundreds of other Opelika residents flocked to the funeral, most out of perverse curiosity, Annelle suspected. 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 refused to engage.

“Look at that rouge! And who dresses a man in plaid pants and golf shoes to meet his maker?” Myrtle had always taken great offense at attire not suited to the occasion. Ironically, she’d resorted to favoring primarily polyester mu-mus in large Hawaiian prints after moving to Northridge Assistive Living last fall to recuperate from hip surgery.

“It’s his funeral,” Annelle said. “And anyway, his attire is probably appropriate given that we’re on a damn golf course.”


  1. It's an intriguing concept (the Agatha Christie novels) and the characters seem hilarious. I really liked your opening, and would definitely read on. The only phrase that stopped me was "Look at that rouge!" At first I thought it was supposed to be "Look at that rogue!" and then realized it was the make-up from the funeral home. It's actually the word the older generation would use (not blush), but maybe something like "Look at that rouge on his cheeks!" would clarify?

    This will be a fun read, I can tell!

  2. I like this! The logline and the pages work well together - one isn't better or worse than the other.

    I'd read on:)

  3. Logline: I like this. It could use some clearer obstacles to meeting the goal but overall, it's good.

  4. I always hate novels that start with a funeral.

    Until now! I love these snarky old women! And the setting, and everything! Great start; this is right up my reading alley!

    My only critique would be to agree with Christine about the rouge. Having spent 15 years with a cosmetic manufacturer, it's true that "rouge" is an older person's term. So while it would be correct for Myrtle to say "rouge" instead of "blush", I liked the idea of expanding it for the younger generations.

    Great logline and great concept overall. I'm green with envy!:)

  5. I love the framing mechanism of the Agatha Christie novels. The opening is clever and snappy. I love the bizarre image of the casket on the green. The asides between the two ladies sound spot-on and believable. I would sign up for this one. (read it I mean) :)

  6. Everything works for me. If I had this book in front of me, I would go to bed reading it. I love the SOB line because it shows me there might be humor in this. I don't know how to solve it, but the "murdered corpse" description doesn't work. Something about it doesn't sound right. But, of all the entries, I think this is the best.

  7. Very good entry. Logline enviably precise. Reader is launched right into the atmosphere of the novel in this great opening funeral scene. Perspective of narrator immediately clear. We see and hear the scene with Annelle's eyes and ears, and if we enjoy that (and I do), we will read on with her. Agatha Christie novel-reading a great idea for the plot. This is surely a winner.

  8. I agree with others in that this is a very strong entry. The logline sets it up very well. I am conflicted over the comments on rouge. Considering the age of the speaker, I think the word is appropriate and helps distinguish the character's voice.
    The framing device is delightful. I love the perverse curiosity that draws the town to the funeral. I can hear the gossip... and want to be in on the tale!

  9. I really like this one.

    I thought the logline was great. The only thing I stumbled over a tiny bit was that the structure makes it sound a little like the murders start happening because they started a book club... and maybe they did, I don't know. But it's still nice and strong.

    Loved the narrative. What I really like about the irreverant setup is how Anne perceives the murder victim--we're not supposed to like him, so we feel fine about poking fun at his funeral.

    As for the rouge thing... Torn. I also (and I'm ashamed of it) read it as rogue the first time. It might be because with all the negative descriptions of Ned, he seems like he'd be a rogue. I don't want to see "blush" though and I don't want to see "on his cheeks" because where else would it be?

    Try... "Look at all that rouge!"

    I love how scandalized Myrtle is. She sounds like my MiMi.

  10. I grew up reading Agatha Christie, so I love this concept, and the writing in the excerpt is snappy. The title is catchy but rather derivative. (But titles can always be changed.)

    Good luck!

  11. I'm intrigued. I like books with some "quirky" and this fits. I swear I have heard those two ladies commenting at events I've intended so I feel comfortable and amused at the same time. I'd read this.

  12. Love this. Succinct, engaging logline. Love the gossipy old lady. Funerals can be a bit oversone, but I like the twist you've given to this one putting on the golf course.

    As for the rouge. I read it rogue too. Perhaps because of how the were disparaging the dead man. Maybe she could say, "Look at that shade of rouge!"

    I'd definitely read on!

  13. Hahaha, I loved this from log line to finish. I had no trouble at all with 'rouge' it's an old term but not completely out of use. I think the kids would get what she was saying. Well done. I'd read on for sure. Good luck!

  14. Loved it and would read it. Had no problem with rouge. It's age appropriate. Good stuff!

  15. This has so much promise but it's squandered in the execution, so far. Too much narrative summary where scene should convey the salient details. Keep at it, though; this is a great plot and the ensemble of characters in this small town could -- with a lot of work and time -- really get you somewhere.

  16. This is my kind of mystery--Very nicely done.

  17. I don't have anything constructive to say. I read your logline and wished I could check the book out from my library. Kinda reminded me of the Jane Austen Book Club movie.:) Kinda. Good job and good luck!

  18. Love the premise! To me, the excerpt was a little difficult to get through, but I like them on a golf course for a funeral and the dead guy dressed for the part. Maybe have Myrtle adjusting her mu-mu in the last paragraph. I think your audience will get the irony without it spelled out. Keeping working on it...this is a great idea.

  19. Fun premise and cast. Not sure about the south, but up north even an open casket is not open to the toes. An no funeral home will let a body sit in direct sunlight. Maybe shielded by a farmer's market tent and have a white patent leather golf belt and the pants be teh end of the view?

    Has the hallmarks of a good cozy. Keep at it.

  20. I enjoyed this - right away I get what type of story this is and I like the set up for a quirky cast. I agree on the rouge comments; I misread it as "rogue" at first. I see the agent's point about showing more of this through the scene, but you have the framework set which is key. Good luck!