Monday, September 17, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch Contest #20 - Death on the Cliffs

Death on the Cliffs
Adult cozy mystery


Emily Driscoll, minister’s daughter and frustrated artist, faces another dull summer on the coast of Maine. Until the pivotal day she meets traveling artist Charles Bartlett and finds the prominent Captain Coatsworth shot dead on top of a cliff overlook. Strangely, Caroline Coatsworth, the wife believed to have died at daughter Abigail’s birth, is found at the scene. Emily is drawn into solving the murder, with complications of a greedy business partner, danger to best friend Abigail and the burning question: is that lovely and seductive woman really Caroline Coatsworth? Meanwhile, love and a new career blossom for Emily. 

First 150 Words:

Camden, Maine 1894
     The day my best friend’s father was murdered began like any other June Sunday in Camden, Maine. That is to say, ordered like clockwork and dull beyond belief.
     Church at ten. An enormous Sunday dinner at one. Self-improvement at two.    
     With a sigh, I settled down on the porch swing and opened the book of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays to “Self Reliance,” the piece I had been digesting in five-minute installments over the past month. To be frank, my attempt at these dense, scholarly essays was my friend Eugene Palmer’s idea. In his opinion, I needed to elevate my reading material, not to mention my mind, above the level of delectable dime novels like Lady Something or Other’s Secret.
      I felt like tossing the book into the lilac bushes, but since Eugene was presently playing the piano in our music room, I was trapped.


  1. I enjoyed your first 150 but your query gives no indication this is a historical setting - so when I started reading it surprised me. Good luck with GutGAA!

  2. I agreed with Jaye. You're query didn't do your first 150 justice. It's your first impression, and its job is to sell your book. Thankfully, your first 150 words sell themselves.

    I love your narrator's voice. With this small sample, I am invested in this character. You've given us a snippet of her personality, and I like her. I want more.

    I vote yes.

  3. I agree with Apple, your writing in your 150 is wonderful but your query isn't written with the same voice and pizzaz. Best of luck :)

  4. Lumpy Space PrincessSeptember 18, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    As others have said, I think your query could use some work. I'd like to know more about how Emily gets drawn into the investigation and what, exactly, is at stake for her. But your first 150 are stellar and very well-written.

  5. I'm a sucker for mysteries and stories set in Maine, but agree that your query needs a lot of work. Lead with your hook - that a dude is dead and his widow has come back to life (and I'm assuming she's also a suspect but even if she's not, IMO, hint at that in your Q).

    But your 150 earned my vote.

  6. You've got my vote!


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