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PW #119: Adult Historical Mystery: A LADY’S GUIDE TO ETIQUETTE AND MURDER

Wednesday, 2 November 2016  |  Posted by Heather Cashman

Manuscript status: FINISHED

Mentor: E.B. Wheeler
Mentee: Dianne Freeman
Title: A LADY’S GUIDE TO ETIQUETTE AND MURDER
Category/Genre: Adult Historical Mystery
Word Count: 81,000

Pitch:

A high society burglar. A marriage-mad sister. A murdered footman. When the London Season turns deadly, Victorian widow Frances Wynn fears one of her sister’s suitors may be the killer. She must use her wit, social artistry, and a circle of gossiping friends and enemies to find the culprit before she becomes his next victim.

Excerpt:

Black—no. Black—no. Black crepe? Oh, heavens no! I bundled the offending gowns and dropped them on a bench for my maid to dispose of, then glanced around my dressing room. One word described it—mourning. In my wildest imaginings, I never would have dreamed I’d find myself a widow at the age of twenty-seven. Though for me, the difference from marriage was barely discernible.

While I’ll confess to a foolish infatuation, Reggie and I hadn’t married for love. My mother instigated the match when she brought me from New York to London. I suppose love had something to do with it. Reggie loved my money, and my mother adored his title. When we married, my family gained the consequence of that title. The Wynn family gained me, Frances Price, commoner. Oh, and a little over a million U.S. dollars.

True aristocrats that they were, to this day they acted as though they’d been swindled.

I’d endured a whole year of mourning with them. Miserable, yes, but at first I had no desire to show my face in public. While only two people besides myself knew the circumstances of my husband’s death, I’m sure many more had their suspicions. You see, my husband died just over a year ago—in his lover’s bed.

At a house party.

At our home.

Delightful man.

I eyed the gown I’d be wearing tonight, a rich royal blue. Ah, color in my life again. Mourning period over.

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