Friday, October 8, 2010

Synopsis 7: Murder on Music Row

UPDATE: A revised synopsis is now in the comments. And a revised query is in the comments there. Please check them out and offer your opinions!

When thirty-five-year-old Nashville hair stylist and puzzle connoisseur Nan Macomb hears a rumor her married lover’s wife is pregnant, she goes berserk. She ends the relationship, clears her calendar for two weeks and disappears with an assortment of how-to books: how to survive a break-up, how to rediscover one’s true self, how to have a spiritual awakening…

MURDER ON MUSIC ROW begins when Nan returns home from her self-imposed exile—optimistic, rejuvenated and ready to move on with her life. When she makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to drop by Hart and Soleman, the well-known music publishing house co-owned by her ex-lover, Randy Soleman, she finds him on the brink of death having been bludgeoned with one of his own Grammy Awards. When he dies, she becomes a murder suspect.

Nan comes across an e-mail Randy sent just before he was murdered telling her about some important documentation in his home safe and she enlists the aid of two longtime friends to help prove her innocence and find the real killer. Loralee, a flamboyant, happy-go-lucky country music singer wannabe, and Kat, an intelligent but depressed stay-at-home mom, are eager to assist.

Nan and her friends conspire to break into the safe to look for clues. When the security alarm is tripped they snatch the contents and go straight to Nan’s attorney’s office. From there they call the assistant district attorney who grabs the handsome lead detective on the case and joins the others to open the massive envelope of evidence. The suspect list grows as several employees are implicated in an elaborate embezzlement scheme at Hart and Soleman.

Nan and her entourage aren’t convinced the police have Nan’s best interests at heart so they start a secret investigation of their own. They divide to conquer the tasks of interviewing H&S employees, befriending Randy’s widow, Amy, and combing for clues throughout the Music City.

They find Randy’s business partner, Buddy, overly accommodating in his answers to their questions and Randy’s administrative assistant, Dixie, attaches herself to Nan’s hip, a bit too eager to help. They discover Randy’s brother, Matt, is excessively fond of both his brother’s wife and anything containing alcohol. The latter contributed to his discharge from the Navy, even though he was a shining star in the coding and decoding division.

Addictions abound as the trio of amateur sleuths discover both Buddy and Randy to be recovering sex addicts who previously hired their prey to work at H&S as a way to end their affairs by citing company policy prohibiting employee fraternization. The women don’t mind because they’re way over-paid and consider their former affairs job security.

As the investigation progresses tempers flare and Kat finds herself torn between her loyalties to her best friends and to the lonely, frightened widow who has turned to her for solace. Amy admits she faked her pregnancy, laments her lack of female friends and confesses to Kat she also had extramarital affairs, including one with her brother-in-law, Matt.

Nan is relieved when she learns Amy’s pregnancy was a ruse and Randy’s intentions did include a divorce. The morning of the memorial service, Nan makes another spur-of-the-moment decision and goes to the funeral home to have a long talk with Randy. He, of course, has nothing to say, but she feels empowered now that she’s had the last word.

At the funeral Nan is abducted by bungling kidnappers who seek the contents of the safe which they fear ties them to the embezzlement. They go to her house and tie her up with her best designer scarves as they rip her home to shreds looking for evidence that she’s already given to the police. Nan turns the tables on them when she finesses the minute details of how they pulled off their scheme. Bedlam ensues when Loralee drops by, sees the chaos through the window and alerts Nan’s parents and the police, in that order.

Later Nan jogs by H&S as Matt’s almost lifeless body is being removed from the building. The police are ready to close the book on Randy’s murder because Matt confesses to the crime in a suicide note. But when Nan sees the note, she recognizes Matt has used his coding skills to implant a secret message. She uses her flair for solving puzzles to untangle the code and reveal Buddy, who is almost bankrupt because of a gambling addiction, as the true murderer.

Comments

At 734 words, this is a nice length for a synopsis. Overall, I think the writing is clear and, for the most part, easy to follow, although I do think there are a few too many characters to keep track of. I've noted the other questions and comments I have below.

When thirty-five-year-old Nashville hair stylist and puzzle connoisseur Nan Macomb hears a rumor her married lover’s wife is pregnant, she goes berserk. She ends the relationship, clears her calendar for two weeks and disappears with an assortment of how-to books: how to survive a break-up, how to rediscover one’s true self, how to have a spiritual awakening…

Since this is backstory, I would put it in past tense. I would also assume this info is woven seamlessly into the first chapter, so I would be reading that first chapter very closely.

MURDER ON MUSIC ROW begins when Nan returns home from her self-imposed exile—optimistic, rejuvenated and ready to move on with her life. When she makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to drop by Hart and Soleman, the well-known music publishing house co-owned by her ex-lover, Randy Soleman, she finds him on the brink of death having been bludgeoned with one of his own Grammy Awards. When he dies, she becomes a murder suspect.

We've gotten a lot of character building for Nan up until now. A sentence that gives us some reaction on her part to these events would be nice. Also, since the query was so explicit as to her fingerprints being all over the Grammy, I think that detail should be here, too, so she's not only at the scene, but has a link to the murder weapon, too.

Nan comes across an e-mail Randy sent just before he was murdered telling her about some important documentation in his home safe and she enlists the aid of two longtime friends to help prove her innocence and find the real killer. Loralee, a flamboyant, happy-go-lucky country music singer wannabe, and Kat, an intelligent but depressed stay-at-home mom, are eager to assist.

I think the first part of this paragraph could be more proactive-sounding. Something like: An email from Randy sent less than an hour before his death clues Nan in on a possible motive. He needs someone to know about documents in his home safe and she's the only one he trusts. This also helps give the reader a look into how Randy feels about her, something we don't have now.

Nan and her friends conspire to break into the safe to look for clues.

This sentence is redundant. Nan's already enlisted their aid, so we can assume their conspiring. As they're looking for the documents, I wouldn't call that looking for clues.

When the security alarm is tripped they snatch the contents and go straight to Nan’s attorney’s office.

Yay! A smart move. We don't see this often enough in this type of book.

From there they call the assistant district attorney who grabs the handsome lead detective on the case and joins the others to open the massive envelope of evidence.

Now we're getting into too many details and too many people: attorney, asst DA, and handsome lead detective. None of these show back up, so you could just have Nan taking the sealed envelope to the asst DA to open.

The suspect list grows as several employees are implicated in an elaborate embezzlement scheme at Hart and Soleman.

Nan and her entourage aren’t convinced the police have Nan’s best interests at heart so they start a secret investigation of their own.

This seems a bit thin as a motive. What are Nan's best interests now that there's a host of evidence pointing away from her?

They divide to conquer the tasks of interviewing H&S employees, befriending Randy’s widow, Amy, and combing for clues throughout the Music City.

Here you say they divide up, but the next paragraph says "they" collectively, so seems a bit of a contradiction. I would delete as it seems redundant with the next bits anyway.

They find Randy’s business partner, Buddy, overly accommodating in his answers to their questions and Randy’s administrative assistant, Dixie, attaches herself to Nan’s hip, a bit too eager to help.

Is Dixie meant to be a red herring? She doesn't show up again, and the cast is getting large and confusing, so I would delete her.

They discover Randy’s brother, Matt, is excessively fond of both his brother’s wife and anything containing alcohol. The latter contributed to his discharge from the Navy, even though he was a shining star in the coding and decoding division.

Addictions abound as the trio of amateur sleuths discover both Buddy and Randy to be recovering sex addicts who previously hired their prey to work at H&S as a way to end their affairs by citing company policy prohibiting employee fraternization. The women don’t mind because they’re way over-paid and consider their former affairs job security.

This paragraph is an interesting bit, but is it relevant to the story or the investigation?

As the investigation progresses tempers flare and Kat finds herself torn between her loyalties to her best friends and to the lonely, frightened widow who has turned to her for solace. Amy admits she faked her pregnancy, laments her lack of female friends and confesses to Kat she also had extramarital affairs, including one with her brother-in-law, Matt.

Maybe turn this paragraph around so we see Kat becoming close to Amy first and then having her loyalties torn apart. Maybe that's what starts the tempers flaring? Because I see no motivation for flaring tempers here otherwise.

Nan is relieved when she learns Amy’s pregnancy was a ruse and Randy’s intentions did include a divorce. The morning of the memorial service, Nan makes another spur-of-the-moment decision and goes to She stops by the funeral home to have a long talk with Randy. He, of course, has nothing to say, but she feels empowered now that she’s had the last word.

At the funeral Nan is abducted by bungling kidnappers who seek the contents of the safe which they fear ties them to the embezzlement. They go to her house and tie her up with her best designer scarves as they rip her home to shreds looking for evidence that she’s already given to the police.

They kidnap and tie Nan up so I'm not seeing the 'bungling' connection. Also, it's presumed they fear the tie if they know about the contents of the safe. What is missing is how they know Nan took the evidence but not that she turned it over to the DA. Since the reader knows, "that's she's already given" can be deleted.

Nan turns the tables on them when she finesses the minute details of how they pulled off their scheme. Bedlam ensues when Loralee drops by, sees the chaos through the window and alerts Nan’s parents and the police, in that order.

I'm not sure "bedlam ensues" works. I also had to go back and look at who Loralee is since she was mentioned by name only once a few hundred words ago. I do like the "in that order" as that says a lot that can be inferred and very economically.

Later Nan jogs by H&S as Matt’s almost lifeless body is being removed from the building.

Why "almost lifeless"? Does it matter? Seems to add a level of complication that's not needed here.

The police are ready to close the book on Randy’s murder because Matt confesses to the crime in a suicide note. But when Nan sees the note, she recognizes Matt has used his coding skills to implant a secret message. She uses her flair for solving puzzles to untangle the code and reveal Buddy, who is almost bankrupt because of a gambling addiction, as the true murderer.

I think I would need a motive here for why Matt would encrypt a suicide note. He can't be concerned for his own life, so why wouldn't he want to publicly clear his name of murder? And why would he be suiciding now?

Anything else, anyone?

22 comments:

Matt said...

The first thing that jumps out at me is that the synopses lacks the flighty tone of the query. It shows at times, but not consistently, and that breaks the flow.

I understood from the query that Nan is in prison while her friends investigate, yet she appears to be an active participant here.

Too many characters, I agree. Some synopses' only refer to two characters by name.

Another disconnect is that characters are described as flamboyant, bungling, etc. yet they all make intelligent decisions.

Did Buddy force Matt to write the suicide note? That's what I inferred.

Overall not too bad, but a letdown compared to the query. I think once you streamline the characters and clear up the foggy areas it will be good.

Kay said...

Matt & Phoenix.

Thanks for your feedback on both the query and they synopsis. You were right on the money on both and I have revised them. I'm going to try to post and the revised query at that post.

Phoenix -- The revised synopsis is too large to post here so I'll send it to you via e-mail.

Matt -- No Nan was not in jail and yes, Buddy did force Matt to write the suicide note. I think I've cleared that up in the revisions.

From both of your comments I saw I left out a few key components that I took for granted the reader would know. (By osmosis, I guess).

Anyway, thanks to both of you for your help and I welcome your comments on the revisions.

Kay

Sarah Laurenson said...

I think I'll wait for the revision to comment...

Kay said...

REVISED SYNOPSIS - PART 1

When thirty-five-year-old Nashville hair stylist and puzzle connoisseur Nan Macomb heard a rumor her married lover’s wife was pregnant, she went berserk. She ended the relationship, cleared her calendar for two weeks and disappeared with an assortment of how-to books: how to survive a break-up, how to rediscover one’s true self, how to have a spiritual awakening…

MURDER ON MUSIC ROW begins when Nan returns home from her self-imposed exile—optimistic, rejuvenated and ready to move on with her life. When she makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to drop by Hart and Soleman, the well-known music publishing house co-owned by her ex-lover, Randy Soleman, she finds him on the brink of death having been bludgeoned with one of his own Grammy Awards. She moves the heavy statuette to try to save him but leaves her fingerprints behind before she frantically calls 911. When he dies, she becomes a murder suspect.

An e-mail from Randy sent an hour before his death clues Nan in on a possible motive. He needs someone to know about the documentation he put in his home safe and she is the only one he trusts. She enlists the aid of two longtime friends to help prove her innocence and find the real killer.

When the security alarm is tripped at Randy’s house they snatch the safe contents and go straight to the office of Nan’s attorney who summons the assistant DA before they open the massive envelope of evidence. The suspect list grows as several employees are implicated in an elaborate embezzlement scheme at Hart and Soleman. But Nan’s convinced there are too many missing links and fears she’s not off the hook yet. She and her entourage launch a secret investigation to expose the murderer.

Nan and her friends divide to conquer the tasks of interviewing H&S employees, befriending Randy’s widow, and combing for clues throughout the Music City.

Kay said...

PART 2

Nan thinks Randy’s business partner, is overly accommodating in his answers to her questions. Randy’s administrative assistant, attaches herself to Nan’s hip, a bit too eager to help but does reveal his brother, is excessively fond of both his Randy’s wife and anything containing alcohol. The latter contributed to his discharge from the Navy, even though he was a shining star in the coding and decoding division.

One of Nan’s convoy creates an opportunity to get to know Randy’s wife and finds herself torn between the lonely, frightened widow and her loyalties to her best friend. The young widow admits she faked her pregnancy, laments her lack of female friends and confesses she also had extramarital affairs, including one with her brother-in-law.

Tempers flare as patience wanes when the trio of amateur sleuths reassembles to compare notes.
Nan is relieved when she learns the pregnancy was a ruse and Randy’s intentions did include a divorce. Her friends continue to butt heads until Nan sends them home for a good night’s sleep.

Three H&S employees hack into Randy’s e-mail and learn of the evidence in his home safe. They burglarize it only to find its contents gone. Fearing the missing evidence will implicate them in a payroll scam they’re running, they begin their own investigation to find the missing paperwork.

Kay said...

PART 3

At the funeral Nan is abducted by bungling kidnappers who somehow manage to get her back to her own house and tie her up with her best designer scarves. She watches as they rip her home to shreds looking for evidence now possessed by the police. Nan turns the tables on them when she finesses the minute details of how they pulled off their embezzlement scheme. But once they started talking they wouldn’t shut up and told her more H&S secrets. She is appalled when they reveal both Randy and his business partner to be recovering sex addicts. They previously hired their prey to work at H&S as a way to end affairs with the women by citing company policy prohibiting employ fraternization. By the time most of the them figured out the meaning of fraternization, they were comfortable in their new jobs with their inflated salaries and generous benefits. Employment at H&S was actually more satisfying than the brief affairs.

Bedlam ensues when one of Nan’s friends drops by after the funeral, sees the chaos through the window and alerts Nan’s parents and the police, in that order. Soon there’s a house full of people, all talking at once. Nan kicks them all out except the detective who needs to question her.

Later Nan jogs by H&S as Randy’s brother is being carried from the building on a stretcher. The police are ready to close the case because they don’t realize their target was forced to write a suicide note by the real killer. But when Nan sees the note, she recognizes Randy’s brother has used his coding skills to implant a secret message. She applies her flair for solving puzzles to untangle the code and reveal Randy’s business partner, who is almost bankrupt because of a gambling addiction, as the true murderer.

Matt said...

I think we've taken a slight step back here, but that's good because I can see this synopsis moving two steps forward after a quick revision.

You mention Nan finds her ex-lover near death, since he doesn't give her any meaningful info before dying, I think just saying he's dead would be a stronger choice.

I'm curious, what exactly is the evidence she finds in the safe? They don't keep a paper trail for the sex scandals, do they?

The part about her ex-lover's wife sounds like a B plot (or I'm missing its relevance) Focus on the A plot (or tie it in. Does the wife possess key evidence?).

I can't speak for Phoenix, but when I spoke of there being too many characters I meant that you should write passed some of them altogether. I gather that the four most important characters are Nan, Randy, Buddy and Matt (and it's not a steadfast rule that you can only name two, I think you can get away with naming four considering their relevance) focus on them.

Even synopses for great stories read dry. Don't sweat it, because you seem to have a good plot and that's the most important thing.

Ah, so the burglars were involved in the company's scandal.

Matt said...

Looking at your query, which I like, I see that it answers a few of my questions.

Try this technique: Copy and paste your query onto your synopsis work sheet and expand using lines from your current synopsis. Mould it and maintain the voice.

Kay said...

Matt,
Using query to build synopsis -- great idea (and I'm not being sarcastic)-- I wouldn't have thought to do it that way. :-)
No evidence for sex scandals in safe--doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Documentation in safe is about embezzlement scheme but has gaps in it.
I can go ahead and kill Randy off. It'll make the query read cleaner for sure. I had some scenes between her finding him and her learning of his death, but can rework.
I see what you say about the characters and from a synopsis POV the ones you named are the most important. In the m/s Kat and Loralee and the relationship between the three of them is pretty important because that's what I'd use to more forward into a series...but can lose it for now. Got to sell first book before a series can exist.
I'm excited about reworking it now that I have some direction. Thank you so much for your feedback and for the time you've spent with this.
About to head out for a bike ride and some Hubby time. I WILL post a revision within the next day or two. PLEASE check back and keep commenting.
Thankfully, Kay

Sarah Laurenson said...

Your query voice is much snappier. I agree that's the place to start. But ehre are my suggestions for cutting things down just a bit and fixing a few tense issues.

Part I
When thirty-five-year-old Nashville hair stylist and puzzle connoisseur Nan Macomb heard her lover’s wife was pregnant, she ended the relationship, cleared her calendar for two weeks and disappeared with an assortment of how-to books: how to survive a break-up, how to rediscover one’s true self, how to have a spiritual awakening…

MURDER ON MUSIC ROW begins when Nan returns home from her self-imposed exile—rejuvenated and ready to move on with her life. When she makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to drop by Hart and Soleman, the well-known music publishing house co-owned by her ex-lover, Randy Soleman, she finds him bludgeoned with one of his own Grammy Awards. She moves the heavy statuette to try to help him before frantically calling 911. He dies, and her fingerprints are the only ones on the Grammy.

An hour before his death, Randy had sent an e-mail to Nan. He needed someone to know about the documentation he’d put in his home safe and she was the only one he trusted. She enlists the aid of two longtime friends to help her break into Randy’s home and snatch the evidence to prove her innocence.

They go straight to the office of Nan’s attorney who summons the assistant DA before opening the massive envelope. Several employees are implicated in an elaborate embezzlement scheme at Hart and Soleman. Nan’s convinced there are too many missing links and nothing solid enough to clear her name. She and her entourage launch a secret investigation to expose the murderer.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Part II

Nan and her friends divide up the tasks of interviewing H&S employees, befriending Randy’s widow, and combing for clues throughout the Music City.

Nan thinks Randy’s business partner is overly accommodating in answering her questions. Randy’s administrative assistant is a bit too eager to help but does reveal his brother is excessively fond of both Randy’s wife and anything containing alcohol. The latter contributed to his discharge from the Navy, even though he was a shining star in the coding and decoding division.

Nan’s best friend gets to know Randy’s wife and finds herself torn between the lonely, frightened widow and her loyalties to Nan. The young widow admits she faked her pregnancy, laments her lack of female friends and confesses she also had extramarital affairs, including one with her brother-in-law.

The trio of amateur sleuths reassembles to compare notes. Nan’s relieved to learn the pregnancy was a ruse and Randy’s intentions did include a divorce.

Three H&S employees hack into Randy’s e-mail and learn of the evidence in his home safe. They burglarize it only to find its contents gone. Fearing the missing evidence will implicate them in they’re payroll scam, they begin their own investigation to find the missing paperwork.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Part III

At the funeral, Nan is abducted by bungling kidnappers who get her back to her own house and tie her up with her best designer scarves. She watches as they rip her home to shreds looking for evidence now possessed by the police. Nan turns the tables on them when she finesses the minute details of how they pulled off their embezzlement scheme. But once they start talking they won’t shut up and tell her more H&S secrets. She is appalled when they reveal both Randy and his business partner to be recovering sex addicts. They previously hired their prey to work at H&S as a way to end affairs with the women by citing company policy prohibiting employ fraternization. By the time most of them figured out the meaning of fraternization, they were comfortable in their new jobs with their inflated salaries and generous benefits. Employment at H&S was actually more satisfying than the brief affairs.

One of Nan’s friends drops by after the funeral and sees the chaos through the window. Soon there’s a house full of people, all talking at once. Nan kicks them all out except the detective who needs to question her.

Later Nan jogs by H&S as Randy’s brother is being carried from the building on a stretcher. The police are ready to close the case, but when Nan sees the alleged confession in a suicide note, she recognizes Randy’s brother has used his coding skills to implant a secret message. She applies her flair for solving puzzles to untangle the code and reveal Randy’s business partner, who is almost bankrupt because of a gambling addiction, as the true murderer.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Basically, I cut out a few things that were too general and didn't seem to be moving the story forward. I also cut some sentences that had, IMO, a few too many words. The extra wordage didn't feel like it was adding to the voice or the flavor of the book.

Keep going. I'd love to see the new version from the query.

Kay said...

10/10/10 version. Part 1

Sarah, thanks for your input and for the time you put into your edit. Matt, I liked your idea of using the query as a basis to keep my more flighty voice consistent. And, Matt...quick revision? What's that? Regardless, I'm going cross-eyed, so here's today's version. I hope it is moving in the right direction. Many, many thanks to all.

Nan Macomb, a spunky thirty-five-year-old Nashville hair stylist and puzzle connoisseur, finds her gabby clients to be a better news source than CNN. While she works her cut-and-color magic in her one-chair home salon, they keep her up-to-date on the latest hair-raising gossip.

When she heard a rumor her lover’s wife was pregnant, she ended the relationship, cleared her calendar for two weeks and disappeared with an assortment of how-to books: how to survive a break-up, how to rediscover one’s true self, how to have a spiritual awakening…

MURDER ON MUSIC ROW begins when Nan returns home from her self-imposed exile—optimistic, rejuvenated and ready to move on with her life. When she makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to drop by Hart and Soleman, the well-known music publishing house co-owned by her ex-lover, Randy Soleman, she finds him bludgeoned to death with one of his own Grammy Awards. She moves the heavy statuette before frantically calling 911. Her fingerprints are the only ones on the Grammy so it’s no surprise her name heads the suspect list.

An hour before his death, Randy had sent an e-mail to Nan. He needed someone to know about the documentation he’d put in his home safe and she was the only one he trusted. With a little help from her friends, she breaks into Randy’s home and snatches the evidence which she takes straight to her attorney’s office. The assistant DA is summoned and the massive envelope is opened implicating several Hart and Soleman employees in an elaborate embezzlement scheme.

Kay said...

10/10 version part 2

The documentation in the safe confirms Randy trusted his business partner, Buddy, so Nan makes him her confidante. He tells her things she never knew about Randy—both good and bad—but, best of all he assures her Randy had planned to move heaven and earth to be with her and that his widow was never pregnant.

Three H&S employees hack into Randy’s e-mail and learn of the evidence in his home safe. They burglarize it only to find its contents gone. Fearing the missing data will implicate them in their payroll scam, they begin their own investigation to find the missing paperwork.

Nan’s convinced there are too many missing links and nothing solid enough to clear her name so she launches her own secret investigation. Her friends and clients rally to help her comb the Music City for clues to prove her innocence, preserve her reputation, and salvage her career.

Her two best friends—one a country music singer wannabe, the other a brilliant, but depressed homemaker—divvy up the tasks to keep the investigation moving. One befriends Randy’s widow and teases out her tawdry secrets. The other takes on the employees at Heart and Soleman to see just who knows what. They learn Matt, Randy’s younger brother, is excessively fond of both his sister-in-law and anything containing alcohol. The latter contributed to his discharge from the Navy, even though he was a shining star in the coding and decoding division. When the trio of amateur sleuths regroups to compare notes, tempers flare and the strength of their longtime friendships is tested, but survives.

At the funeral Nan is grabbed by kidnappers who get her back to her own house and tie her up with her best designer scarves. She watches as they rip her home to shreds looking for evidence now possessed by the police. Nan turns the tables on them when she finesses the minute details of how they pulled off their embezzlement scheme. But once they started talking they won’t shut up and tell her more Hart and Soleman secrets than she wants to know. She is appalled when they reveal both Randy and Buddy to be recovering sex addicts. The business partners previously hired their prey to work at Hart and Soleman as a way to end affairs with the women by citing company policy prohibiting employee fraternization. By the time most of them figured out the meaning of fraternization, they were comfortable in their new jobs with their inflated salaries and generous benefits. Employment at Hart and Soleman was actually more satisfying than the brief affairs.

One of Nan’s friends drops by after the funeral and sees the chaos through the window. She alerts Nan’s parents and the police, in that order, and soon there’s a house full of people, all talking at once. Short on sleep and patience, Nan kicks them all out except the detective who needs to question her.
Later Nan jogs by Hart and Soleman as Matt is being rolled from the Hart and Soleman building on a stretcher. The police are ready to close the case, but when Nan sees the alleged confession in a suicide note, she recognizes he’s used his Navy coding skills to implant a secret message. She applies her flair for solving puzzles to untangle the code and reveal Buddy, who is almost bankrupt because of a gambling addiction, as the true murderer.

Kay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

I love it. The voice is maintained throughout, The plot is easy to follow and it all ties together nicely.

There are a couple of things I can nitpick at, most of them inconsequential though. The only things I'll mention are...

1) The paragraph that begins "At the funeral Nan..." I think should be changed to "At Randy's funeral Nan..." A lot of events happen between Randy's death and the funeral and I think it reads cleaner that way.

2)I'm not suggesting you change this because it might create a tangent, but it's just something to watch out for. "Tempers flare, but the strength of their friendship survives." is general, and specificity is always more engaging then generalizations. However, the query works as a whole and I would be hesitant to make any big changes.


Good job!

Kay said...

Matt,

At the risk of creating a tangent :-), let's see if this works:

When the trio of amateur sleuths regroups to compare notes, tempers flare over what is—and isn’t—in Nan’s best interests and the strength of their longtime friendships is tested. When they reconcile, armed with life experiences they’d just as soon forget, they recognize adversity is the true test of their bonds of friendship.

Note from Kay: Their friendship is actually an important part of the book and I'm not sure I'd gotten that across.

Thanks again.

Kay

Matt said...

Works for me. I feel their friendship in the synopsis, especially with that little tweak you just added. Nice work indeed.

Phoenix said...

I'm good with the tweak to the friends' paragraph, but I'd also be good with just deleting that bit altogether.

In the wrap-up, I'd remind the reader who Matt and Buddy are: Randy's brother, Matt, and Randy's trusted partner, Buddy...

I agree with our Matt to stick in "Randy's funeral".

Otherwise, it's time for you to send query and synopsis out into the world and see what happens!

Kay said...

Thanks, Phoenix, for this wonderful website and for your insightful comments. Thanks to Matt and Sarah for hanging in there with me and continuing to comment.

I have this blog on my Google Reader so I read it daily. I look forward to "seeing" all three of you again.

I'll keep you posted how things go. Again, thanks for your help. Let the querying begin!

Kay
www.kayelam.com/blog
P.S. Big news--I'm guest blogging for Nathan Bransford on Sunday (10/17). Can you believe it?

Phoenix said...

Yay for nabbing the guest blog spot, Kay! I'll be looking for it.

Also, Sunday gives you plenty of time to spiff up your site and make it ready for visitors. The Bransford Bump should be pretty awesome :o)