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

Manuscript status: FINISHED

Mentor: E.B. Wheeler
Mentee: Dianne Freeman
Category/Genre: Adult Historical Mystery
Word Count: 81,000


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.


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.

Author: Heather Cashman

With a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, the lab reports always lacked the fantastical element Heather's imagination demands. Hypotheses turned into taglines and novels, so she's going back to college for a Creative Writing degree. Her novels range from Epic Fantasy to Contemporary Speculative Fiction, she dabbles in picture books, and is currently seeking representation. ~Member SCBWI

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  1. I’d love to have a look. Send the manuscript along when you have a chance. A Word doc is most preferable if possible.

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  2. I’d love to see this! Please send query + 10 pages pasted in body of the email + attach the full ms, with subject line: PITCH WARS + title. So excited! 🙂

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  3. I’m intrigued! Please send the full manuscript as a word attachment to, place “Pitch Wars”- Title of story and genre in the subject line. Include your query in the body of the email. Looking forward to reading your story.

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  4. I’d love to take a look! Can you send along the query (pasted into the body of the email) and the first 50 pages (attached as a .doc) when you have a moment to querylisa [at] awfulagent [dot] com? Also, please include Pitch Wars and the title in the subject line. Thanks!

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  5. I’m interested in taking a look at the first 50 pages of this manuscript. Please send to jmileo (@) janklow (.) com with Pitch Wars Query in the subject line and the first 50 pages attached as a word document.
    Thank you!
    Jessica Mileo
    Janklow & Nesbit

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  6. This sounds like the kind of historical mystery I could get totally immersed in! I’d love to read the first 100 pages of this if you would please send as a Word attachment. You can email me directly at carrie(at)prospectagency(dot)com. If you would put PITCH WARS in the subject and the query in the body of the email that would be great. Excited to read more!!

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  7. Hi Dianne,

    How delightful! I’d love to see more. Can you please send the full manuscript, as either a word document or PDF to with “Query” and “Pitchwars” both included somewhere in the subject line?

    Thank you so much!


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  8. Love the voice in this excerpt. Could you please send the query in the body of the email and the first 50 pages attached as a Word doc to queryjennifer[at]lizadawson[dot]com? Thanks!

    – Jennifer Johnson-Blalock, Liza Dawson Associates

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  9. This sounds fun! Please send query and a 1-2 page synopsis in the body of an email, and attach the full manuscript as a Word document to: margaret(at)inklingsliterary(dot)com. Be sure to include PITCH WARS in the subject line.

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  10. I’d love to read this. Please send the full via email (word doc attachment strongly preferred) to query [at] handspunlit [dot] com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. Thanks!

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  11. Hi Dianne–This sounds like a fantastic book! Please send the manuscript and a synopsis as Word doc attachments to Can’t wait to read!

    Roseanne Wells
    The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

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  12. Love the concept. Please send the first fifty pages (as a word attachment) and the query (in body of email) to Please put Pitch Wars Reques in body of email. Thank you.

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  13. Yesss! Please send me the full query (pasted in the email) and attach the 1st 3 chapters. Send to with the subject line “Pitch Wars: A Lady’s Guide…” Thank you!

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