Guess the Plot
A Serpent in the Garden
1. The Dikdas, lilliputian folk who inhabit vegetable gardens, must fight for their survival after an article in Organic Gardening suggests gardeners get rid of slugs by attracting toads. Toads, of course, attract predatory snakes. Snakes prefer toads, but Dikdas will do.
2. Aphids on the roses, snails on the geraniums, frogs on the grass? Learn how to handle all these common garden pests and more the natural way with House and Yard's newest self-help book!
3. Matt, a born-again Mormon, has a tattoo that frames his manhood as a serpent in a garden. Tanya accepts his proposal, but he knows she won't accept his body art. Will he become a stripper to earn fast money to remove it, or leave the lights off on their wedding night?
4. Jill hates snakes and loves gardening. One morning while trimming the rose bush, she sees a king snake. It’s after its breakfast. While Jill is bashing the king snake with a shovel, its meal, a Mojave Green rattlesnake, nails her good. She spends five weeks in the hospital and when she gets out, she still hates snakes.
5. When a woman is murdered in an abbey, the suspects include (spoiler alert) the devout monks who live and worship there and a German guy named von Starkebrücken. Can Eva solve her first case and embark on a successful mystery series? Also, venom and a guy whose name is an anagram of gardener.
6. It's Judgment Day and Eve attempts to rectify 10,000 years of bad press, confessing to God that she lied--Adam plucked the fruit. It's eternal damnation for one of them, but can Eve condemn the man from whose rib she sprang?
Eva von Hirschburg is the orphaned child of a secret marriage. Raised by the uncle who disowned her mother, she longs to find someone who can see her instead of the shadows cast by her parent's sins. [That's parents' if you mean both parents. If you mean one parent, say father's or mother's.] [What are her parents' sins? Getting married secretly and dying?]
She may have found him in Brother Conrad, a young monk she helps escape her family castle, [You toss that out with no explanation, as if it's perfectly normal for monks to be imprisoned in the family castle.] but their growing friendship is threatened when a woman is murdered at Conrad's abbey, leaving behind a newborn son.
Moved by the resemblance between the victim and her mother, Eva vows to find the killer, [In fact, she will hunt down the killer of anyone who resembles any of her relatives.] but can she count on Conrad to help her when his fellow monk may face the gallows? [No. The code of conduct monks were expected to abide by in medieval times involved chastity, poverty and obedience, but nothing about ratting out fellow monks who've murdered women.]
Then Mallory von Starkebrücken arrives at the castle. Eva cannot deny her attraction to the passionate young lord, [Mallory's a guy?] but fears he is only looking for an indiscretion. [only seeking temporary storage for his lance.] [Actually, that works better if he's a knight than a lord. Make him a knight.] Worse still, he wants her to give up what he believes is a dangerous obsession with the murdered woman.
Is Mallory trying to protect Eva, or is he trying to protect his knight, Ragenard, who torments the serving girls and was visiting the abbey when the woman was attacked? [The code of chivalry knights were expected to abide by in medieval times didn't leave much wiggle room when it came to treatment of the fair sex. In fact, two of the 17 requirements of knighthood were:
- When a guest in someone else's castle, refrain from tormenting the staff.
- Comport yourself at all times in a manner such that, if a woman is murdered in an abbey, you don't leap to your lord's mind as the chief suspect.]
Eva cannot capture the killer alone, but whom she chooses to trust [trusting the wrong person] could have fatal consequences.
A SERPENT IN THE GARDEN (70,739 words) is a historical mystery for young adults set in medieval Germany. It will appeal to fans of “Venom” by Fiona Paul and “The Falconer's Knot” by Mary Hoffman.
I am a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and the North Carolina Writers' Network. As a developmental psychologist, I have published numerous academic articles. I am also coauthor of an adult nonfiction book published by the MIT Press (under my maiden name - Knickmeyer).
Thank you for your time and consideration.
I wasn't thinking YA until you called it YA. If you mention Eva's age when you introduce her it'll help.
If the mystery is whodunnit, you might mention some people who had a motive.
I don't see how Eva can do much of anything. Does she interview suspects? Does she have permission from the monks to hang out in the abbey looking for evidence? Aren't there any adults with the authority to investigate the murder?