Title: Death and the Informant
Genre: Adult MysteryDear [AGENT]:
Word Count: 90,000Dear [AGENT]:
DEATH AND THE INFORMANT asks this question: What would you do if offered the chance to get even with the man who destroyed your career?
Seven years ago, Abbie Adams’s academic mentor, Frank Wexler, crucified her dissertation and obliterated her dream of becoming a Ph.D. Now a war widow with teenagers, she’s a struggling freelancer with two problematic assignments. The Hunts Landing Times hires her to investigate the 1969 murder of Rosalie DuFrayne, a black college student killed in Deep-South Hunts Landing, whose death was connected to the very prominent, and very white, Wexler family. Joss Freeman, the host of America’s Stories, is in a panic–he needs a dazzling script for a new show or risks losing his contract, and he needs Abbie for research. Abbie can’t turn either assignment down, but she can barely hear the name Wexler without wanting to vomit. And the only historical event she can deliver to Joss in time is her failed dissertation, the story of a secret informer from 1763.
Still, cash trumps nausea, and she dives into both projects, interviewing witnesses to the 1969 murder while feeding Joss accounts from 1763. She quickly discovers evidence of shoddy police work and a link from Rosalie Dufrayne to a multi-million-dollar corruption scandal. Rosalie’s murder begins to consume her. But when one of her witnesses turns up dead and a mysterious SUV stalks her house, Abbie has a new deadline–find Rosalie’s killer before he strikes again.
[BIO excepted]. The first 250 words of the manuscript are below.
———- First 250 ————–
July 25, 1969, 12:41 A.M.
The acrid sulfur from the fireworks faded with the night’s first breeze. Dr. Theodore Wexler held up his glass–red flashes from the Quad pulsed chestnut in the amber liquid. Pulse. Pulse. The cadence matched his heartbeat, steadier now, settled after this day of disrupted jubilee.
Only twenty hours since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldren and Michael Collins splashed down into the tranquil Pacific waters. Yesterday, after the astronauts emerged onto the deck of the USS Hornet, the town erupted in celebration. Engineers from Hunts Landing College were instrumental in getting those men home safe. Their success ensured prestige and rewards, and Theodore, college president, spent the day dreaming of accolades and endowments.
Now, however, his thoughts simmered.
Wexler House sat elevated above the Quad, and from the French doors of his study he was able to inspect every corner of the common. He sipped from his glass of twenty-six-year-old Pappy Van Winkle. The bourbon had been a reward, purchased three years ago when the college won the coveted NASA contract. Saved for today and stored in a particular nook in the cellar, intended for tonight’s party.
Instead, only after the guests left did he send Cyrus to fetch the Pappy. Only when the silence of the house enabled him to brood. The bottle sat half empty.
Earlier, there’d been some fracas, on the southern end of the Quad. His mind far from the flashing lights, he witnessed the arrival of squad cars with disinterest.