Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Face-Lift 248

Guess the Plot

The Melody of Midnight

1. Bong..bong..bong..bong..bong..bong..bong..bong..bong..bong..bong..bong.

2. Jim Smith and his yodeling dog, Ted, sing midnight duets for Bianca Lopez -- until her screaming mother throws cold water on them. Will Ted recover from this shock? Or will Jim have to go solo?

3. Awakened every night by the sound of the Twentieth Century Limited roaring past his house, Norton Pooqle decides to drive his Crown Victoria onto the tracks to see if the train will stop. The sound of tearing metal is mixed with the Beach Boys on the oldies station as Norton tries to escape.

4. A blue-eyed, thin-lipped, dour, pasty-faced droning bachelor uncle who favors retro-goggles embarks on a songwriting career. He quickly discovers that any tunes he composes at the witching hour rocket to the top of the charts.

5. In a different take on the classic fairy tale, the clock is still sounding as the prince runs after Cinderella’s coach. At the twelfth strike the coach transforms into a calliope, and the prince is left with the Melody of Midnight shrilling in his heart. Also, a bumbling stepfamily.

6. As she waits for her fiancé to return from Ghana for their wedding, Julienne finds herself accused of money laundering. And the only person willing to help is the man she allegedly stole from. Will Juli claim innocence, or will she sing when the feds put on the heat?

Original Version

Framed for larceny and money laundering? Until the Chief of Police came knocking, Julienne Béhar’s only concern was whether or not her fiancé would return from his medical volunteer work in Ghana before their wedding. [Advice to all prospective brides: before setting the date, get a firm commitment from the groom on when he'll be leaving Ghana.] Now she faces arrest warrants, FBI interviews, and a fake African charity. [I don't mind arrests and interrogations, but if those fake African charities don't quit emailing me, I'm gonna go nuts.]

Enter Solomon Wirth – solitary, wealthy, and disliked by pretty much everyone in Julienne’s small town. Solomon was the intended recipient of the funds Julienne is accused of stealing and should have been the first person pointing a finger her direction. Instead he forestalls her arrest, hires a PI to trace the missing funds, and takes on the FBI. [Nero Wolfe took on the FBI in The Doorbell Rang. But that was Nero Wolfe. I don't see some small-town big shot taking them on with any hope of success.]

Julienne is grateful, sort of, and warily accepts his help to discover who has framed her and why. [I wouldn't mind discovering that myself. Here in the query.] Their search takes them deep into the Béhar family history and unearths choices of the past that no one, including Julienne, wants faced today. Then her fiancé returns with his own tale of criminal accusations and FBI interrogations, and suddenly the intrigue is larger than one woman and one small town. [Suddenly it's one woman, one man, and one small town.]

The Melody of Midnight is an 110,000 word romantic mystery/suspense novel set in Lewis County, New York.


It might be worth mentioning who the villain is, and why the villain is out to get Julienne.

Here's my guess: the fiancé is the bad guy, he gets killed by a Ghanaian sleeper cell based in Utica, and Julie ends up marrying Solomon.

Isn't Julianne the name, and Julienne the method of cutting vegetables?

Drop the first sentence. Change the last sentence of that paragraph to Now she's been charged with larceny and money laundering, and faces an FBI interrogation.

Things I learned researching my critique: One of the larger cities of Ghana is the unfortunately named Ho, where the main language spoken is Ewe. I knew Babe learned to speak Ewe, but it never occurred to me that an entire region of people would take to speaking it.

Katie Couric: What language do you speak, and where are you from?
Diplomat: Ewe, Ho.
Katie: Okay, end of interview.


Anonymous said...

"Nero Wolfe took on the FBI in The Doorbell Rang."

Huh, I don't recall the FBI in The Doorbell Rang.

Bernita said...

Huh, then you'd better re-read "The Doorbell Rang."

Anonymous said...

Looks familiar. Wasn't this an entry in the crapometer as well?

Anonymous said...

The name Julienne bothered me, too. I kept thinking of carrots.

pacatrue said...

Just for the record, ewe is pronounced in this case "ehweh" or "ehway". Commenters can find some very basic info about it here and here.

I mostly know of the language because it has some tonal phenomena (use of pitch to distinguish words) that are discussed in all intro to phonology (intro to the sound structures of languages) textbooks. From the links, it looks like ewe does have a couple unusual** sounds in it. Two of them are like "f" and "v" except, where you use one lip and teeth for "f" and "v", you only use two lips (no teeth) for the ewe version. It's a cool tickly feel.

And for the other record, I did laugh at "ewe, ho". But we linguistics people have to share language info. It can't be helped.

**Unusual here only means less common in languages around the world. English has a couple really unusual sounds in it - the two versions of "th" as found in "thin" and "then". Not many languages use those sounds, which is why they get messed up by so many second language learners of English. For instance, the French accent: zis and zat.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I saw this on the crapometer today, and (no surprise) Miss Snark makes the same comment about the lack of an antagonist. The consensus seems to be that you need an antag to go with your protag, if you hope to hook a bookwag.

Bookwag? I don't know, but it rhymes and sounds like a good handle for an editor.

Rei said...

3rd para was boring and vague. Not that the rest was overly captivating, but they were better. Except for that "fake charity" bit. As though the concept of someone having to face a "fake charity" is threatening.

Anonymous said...

"The consensus seems to be that you need an antag to go with your protag, if you hope to hook a bookwag."

Funny, I was thinking the exact same thing.

Seriously, this just doesn't sound like something I would read. But, that may mean you're on the right track. Good luck with it. -JTC

Anonymous said...

Guess the Plot #1 is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Is the character in GTP number four supposed to be somebody we know? Surely not EE himself!

Anonymous said...

I loved GTP #1.

I think GTP #4 has possibilities.

I immediately knew the correct plot was GTP #6 because it has nothing to do with the title.

The story, as I understand it, is that Julienne (please change) is falsele accused of stealing money and laundering it to a (fake) African charity. Solomon Wirth tries to help her prove her innocence and find out who framed her. The investigation makes them look at her fiance's family and uncover secrets. Then her fiance, a medical volunteer in Ghana, returns and claims to have been wrongly accused also.

So I'm guessing that Solomon Wirth isn't so nice after all.

I think I'd be bored with this story. Maybe not.

Good luck.