#PitchMadness R-3: A SERPENT IN THE GARDEN

Genre: YA Historical Mystery
Word Count: 60,000

Pitch: Amid the grit and pageantry of medieval Germany, an impetuous teenage noblewoman investigates a brutal murder. When she suspects the friend of her betrothed, she must risk her heart and life to catch the killer.

Excerpt:
No one prayed for my mother’s soul. No one spoke of her. My uncle Baldric forbade it. But I refused to forget her. She died fifteen years ago when I was only a babe, but every morning, before the rest of the castle woke, I went to the chapel to plead for her.

Darkness filled the room, intensifying the smell of incense and the aching in my legs as I knelt on the stone floor. I recited the De Profundis, the Misere, and the Requiem Aeternam, prayers suitable for a soul suffering in Purgatory. I considered praying that my uncle Arnulf might finally drink himself to death, but I decided against it. I stood and walked out to the chapel garden.

On my right loomed the bergfried, a defensive tower and, in troubled times, a holding place for prisoners. On my left, the crenellated battlements of the south wall snapped at the sapphire sky. I shuddered, feeling like a mouse trapped in the jaws of a lion. Father Gregory would have reproached me for such ingratitude. Most ladies would count themselves lucky to have a guardian as wise and temperate as Baron Baldric, but I knew he kept me out of duty rather than love. And most ladies do not have to contend with an uncle as reckless and cruel as his brother, Baron Arnulf.

I walked toward the stone archway that led to the main courtyard. A ghostly voice cried out. “Judge thou, O Lord, them that wrong me.

MURDER MOST FOUL

Mr. Boddy is found on the dining room floor, a chair toppled on top of him, his lips stained red. There’s a manuscript page stuck to the leg of the chair. A desert plate with crumbs is beside him, and a small note in his fingers reads, “Pie for my benevolent benefactor.” 

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