Book Jacket

 

rank  Editors Pick
word count 74772
date submitted 30.09.2011
date updated 06.03.2014
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Comedy, ...
classification: universal
complete

Mrs. Maginnes is Dead

Maeve Sleibhin

Stolen ancient Byzantine coins - a goat, a dead landlady, and maurading Englishwomen. What else can go wrong? In Edinburgh - plenty.

 

Mrs. Maginnes is murdered - thrown off a cliff near Edinburgh.
She leaves behind a million pounds' worth of hidden Byzantine gold, a rampaging goat, and a student tenant just arrived from Portugal.
Socorro, the bewildered tenant, finds refuge with the five, recently goat-bequeathed Aspenall sisters. They, and an overwhelmingly large number of their neighbours, set out to find the gold, encountering along the way a plethora of irate neigbours, a Valorous detective, Queen Nimnu Ninsikilla, Pouty, Cheeks, a false passport ring, communist militants, a gypsy fortune teller, Shakespeare (in reference), true love, and a purple and pink plaid couch.

 
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tags

crime, edinburgh, goats, humor, scotland

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HarperCollins Wrote

Soccorro, a Portuguese student, arrives in Edinburgh to find her landlady Mrs Maginnes dead. In her will, she leaves behind a million pounds’ worth of Byzantine gold, which will go to anyone who can find it; and a rampaging goat that is left to Prudence, one of the five Aspenall sisters. Cue a quirky and entertaining hunt for the gold, where the mismatched group encounter a Valorous detective, communist militants, a false passport ring, a gypsy fortune teller, Elvis and true love.

Mrs Maginnes is Dead is a fun and witty read, full of great descriptions and an endless supply of Monty Python-esque circumstances. The relationship and banter between the sisters is refreshingly realistic and hilariously funny; I especially enjoyed Grace’s breakdown with the faulty weighing scales.

The overly-educated debates and repartee could easily come across as forced, but the humour appears quite naturally here. The writer’s style is what carries this through so well. I absolutely loved Guerric’s brief Shakespearean infatuation with Frank, and especially with Mr McGuilligundy.
My favourite aspect of the book, however, must be the goat. When I was told that the goat was a major character prior to reading the book, I was extremely sceptical about how this would work in practice– yet it does. The goat’s thoughts are wonderfully written; scenarios that could come across as slapstick and clumsy have been carried through gracefully by the author’s writing style. I literally burst out laughing in public at the goat’s bid for freedom.

I believe Mrs Maginnes is Dead has great publishing potential – but there are some issues that need to be worked on. For example, we never actually find out who killed Mrs Maginnes. Her role in the story seems to be more of an introduction to the main story of the sisters, rather than an integral aspect of the plot and she is completely forgotten by the end of the book.

The story is full of vivacious people (and goat) that are ‘larger than life’, which works amazingly well for the main characters but are excessive for supporting roles. Although they are all exceptionally entertaining, I feel some characters are unnecessary and can become a bit ‘too much’. This is particularly true for Peter’s mother and sister, who could easily be cut out without detracting from the plot.
Some descriptions can also come across as excessive at points. This usually suits the writer’s style and compliments the characters, but can break the pace of the book. An example of this is; ‘Peter stared at Socorro as if he was the hero of a silent film…’, the passage is witty and a great example of the writer’s style but is much too long and instead of adding value to the scenario, interrupts the pace and the reader’s connection to the plot.

Sub-plots and characters should always strengthen and reinforce the narrative; although the debates and witticisms are what make the story unique, the number of them throughout the story can often detract from the plot. There were a few times I had completely forgotten about what was actually going on and became lost when the narrative did get back on track.

I’d advise the writer to focus on developing a stronger direction for the plot and to take out unnecessary passages and characters that would distract the reader from the story; as this will ultimately add much more to the finished book.

Stopper wrote 641 days ago

Love the way you get the Scottish dark magic that mixes past and present and grandeur and unfailing disappointment. At the start we could be back in the mists of time, mountains concealed by the fine Scottish mist but then you part it to reveal the bus shelter. I'm from Musselburgh myself, so I know Gilmerton, fine name, shame about the place.

Wonderful gymnastic phrases and lines that bounce against restrictions testing their elasticity and finding more as the grey arrival of the exotic finds itself hauled down by ever clamoring mud streaked hands to earth. Fantastic!

This is farce of a high order written in a confident breezy hand, and I love the quiet announcement of murder at the end of chapter 2, with chief suspect the goat of course, which goat began dancing on cars next. I'm not sure that's actually a possibility but by that time I didn't care, I was just enjoying the narrative ride.

It's particularly good the way the closeness to chaos of the language generates the actual chaos of the treasure hunt and the consequent loss of property law to free the imagined route to the treasure property, then there's the very Scottish matter of fact tone in the face of disaster.

Some nice touches too like the tabloids not appealing to artists followed by the shrewd comment that the FT isn't too popular either, the bathroom abounding in feminine wiles, God being 'not nice' as we all know.

It's what you could call a sitting room farce, quite brilliant in execution, with a wonderful energy that keeps the farcical ridiculousness completely afloat and unencumbered. I think it loses it a little bit when it moves out of the sitting room, no electric socket I guess, but it's still damned good, just not quite as good dynamically.

I've not quite finished it yet so I'll come back when I do but shit this is good.

I've always said that Calvinism shot itself in the foot when it taught the most argumentative people in the world to read. This is proof of that Maeve.

Daniel Rider wrote 705 days ago

I rarely give six stars, but wow, this is an exception. A fun, witty, hilarious, and remarkably polished and detailed work is what can be found in "Mrs. Maginnes is Dead." I absolutely ADORED it (and I can't, quite frankly, remember the last time I used the word "adore.")

The characters are well-drawn and interesting, particularly Socorro. In a less masterful work, she might have seemed like too much to handle. In Maeve Sleibhin's hands, however, she is thoroughly believable and her background even creates some comedy gold and helps set up some nice atmosphere and contrast that makes the Scottish setting even more drab and sad. Nice! The little section headings are funny and effective; once again, if the story and writing weren't up to par, they would have fallen flat, but here they are perfect. The tension is created solely around whether the neighbors will tell the lodger that her landlady is dead--and because this is a comedy of manners, this is a thoroughly engrossing tension.

The only minor nitpicks I have are A) there are too many characters introduced too fast when Grace, Hope, and Joy show up (although this is a comedy of manners and I think it works; I wouldn't mind seeing all these characters and the first chapter on the stage--they would be over-the-top awesome), and B) the last sentence of Section III throws me off somehow (wouldn't the wind be pushing the rain, not pulling? Is the comma after "rising" the right placement?) I get the idea, but it somehow doesn't work for me.

I will be reading on to see how everything develops, but for now, "Mrs. Maginnes" has a well-earned place in my backings.

Daniel Rider
"Indian Summer"

Tonia Marlowe wrote 727 days ago

I was longing to put this on my shelf and I finally had to have it. (Sorry Dave.) A modern old-fashioned comedy classic! If that sounds confused or contradictory - well it was meant to, but in the nicest possible way. This is simply superb and should shoot up the ladder of success. Thank you for the pleasure you have given me, Maeve.

Tonia

Helianthus wrote 740 days ago

This was one of the most charming things I've read in a long time.

nenno wrote 206 days ago

Och, I'm daunted. A lot of really good stuff on this site, and me with no spare time finding little nuggets like this. To hell with house-cleaning and ironing!

karelkoninkrijk wrote 309 days ago

What shall I say after a HarperCollins comment?

Jim Heter wrote 480 days ago

Maeve,
As I mentioned to you before, I began to read this story only after you published the Harper Collins review. Now that I have read it all , I feel compelled to say that your reviewer was insufficiently qualified to judge or critique your work. As am I. This is not a mystery story that hinges upon the plot. The charm of this story lies in the telling of it. The plot is loosely necessary only to provide a framework on which to hang your tapestry. I for one hope you are not unduly influenced by the reviewer's advice to cut out "unnecessary passages."
Jim

Abby Vandiver wrote 604 days ago

This story is so good. I love the dialogue and the descriptions. It is witty, funny and so enjoyable. I give it six stars. I know it's been to the Editor's Desk already, but this book should be praised again and again. Delightful.

Abby

Abby Vandiver wrote 604 days ago

This story is so good. I love the dialogue and the descriptions. It is witty, funny and so enjoyable. I give it six stars. I know it's been to the Editor's Desk already, but this book should be praised again and again. Delightful.

Abby

Stopper wrote 640 days ago

There is much Sterne here, as in Laurence, there's also a flavour of Alan Warner here, plus in an ever widening horizon of time and eye-views we find Homer and co in chorus and the chorus is delightful, especially when Shakespeare joins the fray and the goat heading for M & S is fabulously funny which brings me to a point. The names, Faith, Hope, and Grace, inevitably produce juxtapositions of humour and pathos but I feel you have controlled those juxtapositions for fear of it being too much for I think that control stunts the jokes and I think if you were to just let it flow,let the language surprise you with its wit then you would surely be surprised by just how good you were if you let yourself go but then you already know that for that is what you do everywhere else. Quite quite brilliant with an energy of ridiculousness on its side grinning balefully back daring you to let it drop, but sure as the next line back, it comes with a smile and a childlike sense of fun to be had in the oncoming paragraphs guaranteed.

Stopper wrote 641 days ago
Stopper wrote 641 days ago

Love the way you get the Scottish dark magic that mixes past and present and grandeur and unfailing disappointment. At the start we could be back in the mists of time, mountains concealed by the fine Scottish mist but then you part it to reveal the bus shelter. I'm from Musselburgh myself, so I know Gilmerton, fine name, shame about the place.

Wonderful gymnastic phrases and lines that bounce against restrictions testing their elasticity and finding more as the grey arrival of the exotic finds itself hauled down by ever clamoring mud streaked hands to earth. Fantastic!

This is farce of a high order written in a confident breezy hand, and I love the quiet announcement of murder at the end of chapter 2, with chief suspect the goat of course, which goat began dancing on cars next. I'm not sure that's actually a possibility but by that time I didn't care, I was just enjoying the narrative ride.

It's particularly good the way the closeness to chaos of the language generates the actual chaos of the treasure hunt and the consequent loss of property law to free the imagined route to the treasure property, then there's the very Scottish matter of fact tone in the face of disaster.

Some nice touches too like the tabloids not appealing to artists followed by the shrewd comment that the FT isn't too popular either, the bathroom abounding in feminine wiles, God being 'not nice' as we all know.

It's what you could call a sitting room farce, quite brilliant in execution, with a wonderful energy that keeps the farcical ridiculousness completely afloat and unencumbered. I think it loses it a little bit when it moves out of the sitting room, no electric socket I guess, but it's still damned good, just not quite as good dynamically.

I've not quite finished it yet so I'll come back when I do but shit this is good.

I've always said that Calvinism shot itself in the foot when it taught the most argumentative people in the world to read. This is proof of that Maeve.

patricia mc a wrote 661 days ago

Awesome. You have nailed your writer's voice which I know couldn't be easy. You made me 'suspend disbelief' immediately. I can't wait to read more. What a cast of characters.

Will read Ch's 2 thru 13 this week and let you know what I think. I know I am in for a good time.
Pat McA, San Diego

R.J. Blain wrote 678 days ago

Greetings!

Ah, how I wish that my time constraints had let me get to this book *before* it made the Editor’s desk. I would have backed it without hesitation after the first four scenes, which left me intrigued, giggling, and ready to continue reading. At times, I felt it was overwritten, but at the same time, it suited the odd sense of humor that is within each page I’ve read thus far.

I was able to get into the story right away, and while I thought the introduction was a little cliché, it worked for me. I liked how you got right into it, dropped us right into a conflict, and gave me a good reason to care about Socorro’s situation.

The headhopping, I admit, put me off a little, but not enough to make me stop reading. The humor and general absurdity of the situations more than made up for it, in my opinion. I really like the flippant way you tear through this, adding absurdity after absurdity and throwing in a good cast of characters in for good measure.

Overall, this read amused me, and I’d definitely consider buying this book, just on the basis of its humor and way the story both manages to take itself seriously while having that edge that made me chuckle a bit through the scenes.

The priest and the dog scene at the funeral somehow managed to remind me of the Spanish Inquisition (Monty Python) and the Princess Bride at the same time.

Very entertaining! :)

redwave wrote 688 days ago

Very polished, pacey and original. Shades of Tom Sharpe, but an individual authorial voice. Whacky charcters and a witty absurdity. I'd buy it.

C.A. Simonsen wrote 690 days ago

Maeve, yours is the first and only book on my shelf thus far. Mrs. Maginnes Is Dead is a fun read: I love the pace, the description and the cheekiness. Keep up the fine work.

Wussyboy wrote 691 days ago

Hope crowed victoriously
Prudence said plaintively.

One of these should go?

Wussyboy wrote 691 days ago

I only just got in, Maeve, so am reading against the clock to get this back to you before the Witching Hour.

First impressions: much tidier, much tighter too. Chapter 1 now reads like a dream, my eye only sticking in one place, the bit about Socorro 'thus she mused, in sum: etc'. I had to read that three times to get the sense of it. Oh, and in 'chapter II', the "who now" might work better as "Who now?" Also, might make more sense to say HIS neighbour's solicitations, rather than 'the', cos I woz looking around for another neighbour besides Faith.

I like that you physically describe Prudence (at last) though am still waiting for a clue as to Faith's appearance, or even age. That aside (Interestingly...etc) could usefully come out of brackets, and follow straight on from Prudence's 'Anything else?' (you could cut 'she asked')

You've done a great job of describing/introducing the five sisters (HC may take umbrage at having 7 characters introduced in your first chapter, but it works for me) - EXCEPT Faith, who just brushes a blond lock of hair over her forehead, and Guerric, of whom I know nothing except he has immaculate fingernails.

Hope this helps, Maeve, I'll push on with chapter two if I have time. (how many chaps ARE 10,000 words, btw?)

fictionguy wrote 692 days ago

I love comedy and you do this so well. It's funny, witty and clever at times, so much so I am giving it five stars. Let me know when this is published. I will spread the word.

Sue50 wrote 692 days ago

Very nicely done. Happy to place you on my shelf. Hope you have a chance to take a look at Dark Side by CC Brown.
Sue50

Amy Smith wrote 693 days ago

It took me a few parragraphs to become accustomed to your writing style, but after that i was completely pulled in and compelled to continue reading.
You have a very colourful cast of characters who really bring the narrative to life. However, there were times when the Aspinal sisters merged into one and it was difficult to define each one clearly from the next, with Prudence and Faith being the exceptions. I think this is largely due to the fact that we are introduced to Grace, Hope and Joy at the same time making it more difficult to distinguish these sisters apart. Socorro is a brilliant character and i love the contrast with her exotic personality set against the bleak backdrop of an Eddenborough autumn, although i was left wondering about her a lot and she does seem to fade into the background after the first few chapters (having said that, her background might be explored in more detail in the sequal which is mentioned towards the end of the book?).

The plot is intriguing and entertaining and i think the twists and turns as well as the colourful cast of characters contribute to this a lot. I was a little confused when, in the scene when the group went to watch Socorro's band perform when Frank was referred to as Billy.

In terms of commedy, i really can't fault this writing, the dialogue is crisp and witty and there were scenes which made me laugh out loud (in particular, the scenes where the group of friends dig up Mr Maginns' grave and the scene when the goat escapes and ends up in Marks & Spencer).

Overall, this an excellent novel and i can see why a lot of people love this.
I wish you the best of luck with getting this published.
Starred and backed,
Amy

a bird wrote 694 days ago

It's the language that got me, and the utter absurdity of the story. The glorious, florid, over-the-top verbosity had me in stitches. I groaned when I read the first paragraph, but then I realized that the deliciously clever overuse of descriptive language is what brings out the lols in this simple plot. I laughed, I like...

karen 19 wrote 694 days ago

When Socorro arrives in freezing cold, rainy Gilmerton, a gloomy suburb of Edinburgh, to find her landlady is dead, we are thrown into the setting of the book and its funny cast of characters. I enjoyed this immensely and my only small criticism is that the Scottish sometimes say things that are incomprehensible even to my ear, and I know a few Scots. I would suggest that you possibly asterisk these parts with a translation at the bottom of the page.

"Oy beet sheesh Airish, Mally" took me several reads to see that it meant , "I bet she's Irish" and for me, this spoilt the flow a little.

Very funny, I wish you all the best with this, its excellent. 6 stars

Karen 19
The Way Things Are

kokako wrote 695 days ago

And now for the grand finale!

Ch 11

1) ‘O so eloquently’
I’d be inclined to hyphenate this

2) ‘downward moving’
hyphen

3) ‘intelligencia’
should be ‘intelligentsia’

4) ‘high pitched’
hyphen

5) ‘proffer her apologies’
I thought the goat was a boy? (In Ch 9, Mr, McLusky says, ‘ ‘Tis tha’ only one his kind, tha’ Ah ken of.’ So should this actually be, ‘ ‘Tis tha’ only one of her kind, tha’ Ah ken of.’? Actually, having reread some of this, it should probably be, ‘ ‘Tis tha’ only one of its kind, tha’ Ah ken of.’)

6) ‘one her way down’
should be ‘on her way’

7) ‘mesmerized children, “gangway’
should be ‘mesmerized children. “Gangway’

8) ‘Hope departed’
new paragraph

9) ‘the distances and the two running figures’
not quite sure what you were meaning to say here? ‘the distance at the two running figures’?

10) ‘fed up of’
should be ‘fed up with’

11) ‘Faith screamed, “stop!’
should be ‘Faith screamed. “Stop!’

12) ‘of the cab, “where’d it’
should be ‘of the cab. “Where’d it’

13) ‘mass produced’
hyphen

14) ‘rather quickly too’
comma after ‘quickly’

15) ‘that once inside the chances’
commas after ‘that’ and ‘inside’

16) ‘black clad’
hyphen

17) ‘There was the sound’
new paragraph

18) ‘high speed’
hyphen

19) ‘Hope crawled over’
new paragraph

20) ‘They smiled at each’
new paragraph

21) ‘Joy blanched’
new paragraph

22) ‘Hope turned back’
new paragraph

23) ‘ “God,” Guerric’
new paragraph

24) ‘heterogeneous anxious expressions’
should be either, ‘heterogeneous, anxious expressions’
or, ‘heterogeneously anxious expressions’

25) ‘ “I just saw the face’
new paragraph

26) ‘ “Christ!” Frank shouted, “would you be’
new paragraph
should be ‘shouted. “Would you be’

27) ‘passers by’
hyphen

28) ‘Joe grinned’
new paragraph

29) ‘Everyone – knowing quite well’
new paragraph

30) ‘body angle’
hyphen

31) ‘passers by’
hyphen

32) ‘through the shop and down the stairs (Grace, by this point, knowing full well the damage of which the goat was capable, had given up on her purchases and left them out by the cab), into the grocery store.’
I’d be inclined to put, ‘through the shop and down the stairs, into the grocery store (Grace, by this point – knowing full-well the damage of which the goat was capable – had given up on her purchases and left them out by the cab).’

33) ‘Hope, cushioned by’
new paragraph

34) ‘the vegetable sections’
In NZ we’d say ‘the vegetables section’

35) ‘Three, uniformed and well paunched’
‘Three uniformed and well-paunched’

36) ‘ “What is the meaning’
new paragraph

37) ‘His aides, while’
new paragraph

38) ‘threw their hands into air’
should be ‘threw their hands into the air’

39) ‘open faced’
hyphen

40) ‘frantic looking’
hyphen

41) ‘ “I think it’s the’
new paragraph

42) ‘bug eyed’
hyphen

43) ‘We will ma’am’
comma after ‘will’

44) ‘had lead the news’
‘lead’ should be ‘led’

45) ‘off color’
hyphen

46) ‘She shook her uncertain’
new paragraph

47) ‘He nodded. “We’ll wait’
new paragraph

48) ‘warbled, “here Satan’
should be ‘warbled. “Here, Satan’

49) ‘They looked back’
new paragraph

50) ‘He looked away’
new paragraph

51) ‘They studied the’
new paragraph

52) ‘The goat moved on’
new paragraph

53) ‘Peter shrugged and’
new paragraph

54) ‘with subtly through’
should be ‘with subtlety through’ or ‘subtly through’

55) ‘scantily clad’
hyphen

56) ‘bra masticating’
hyphen

57) ‘dark colored’
hyphen

What a fantastic chapter! You handle chaos with consummate skill.

Ch 12

1) ‘stand up’
hyphen

2) ‘Guerric nodded sagely’
new paragraph

3) ‘Mr. McGuilligundy’s eyes’
new paragraph

4) ‘The sisters stared’
new paragraph

5) ‘ “Business before’
new paragraph

6) ‘Faith’s firm hand’
new paragraph

7) ‘ “You do?” Faith’
new paragraph

8) ‘They turned towards’
new paragraph

9) ‘he not surprised’
question-mark after ‘surprised’

10) ‘hadn’t been unable to’
should be ‘hadn’t been able to’ or ‘had been unable to’

11) ‘His two interlocutors’
new paragraph

12) ‘tha’ Mrs Maginnes goat, well’
should be ‘tha’ Mrs Maginnes’ goat, well’

13) ‘no intention for booking’
should be ‘no intention of booking’

14) ‘Billy gurgled’
new paragraph

15) ‘opening to door’
should be ‘opening the door’

16) ‘ “I say,” Joe cried’
new paragraph

17) ‘vocal prowess, “she’s rather’
should be ‘vocal prowess. “She’s rather’

18) ‘ “Encore!” Billy cried’
Billy was just at the police station with his father, and doesn’t seem able to talk properly. Is this meant to be Frank?

19) ‘poorly thought out’
I’d hyphenate

20) ‘Peter crouched’
new paragraph

21) ‘Socorro grinned again’
new paragraph

22) ‘black skinned’
hyphen

23) ‘white skinned’
hyphen

24) ‘only then did it come home’
comma after ‘then’

25) ‘he snarled, “what’
should be ‘he snarled, “What’

26) ‘McFeere was the pathologist’
new paragraph

27) ‘for one bloody night- “
quotation marks should be close quotation marks

28) ‘ “There isn’t’
indented paragraph

29) ‘toe nails’
should be ‘toenails’

30) ‘of the song Socorro’
comma after ‘song’

31) ‘all the subtly’
should be ‘all the subtlety’

32) ‘thrown open open’
remove one ‘open’

33) ‘had begin pound of empty’
should be ‘had begun pounding empty’

34) ‘Andale andale andale’
commas between each.

35) ‘Socorro sighed, got out of’
new paragraph

36) ‘Someone started pounding’
new paragraph

37) ‘ “Get out, for God’s’
new paragraph

38) ‘Grace opened the door’
new paragraph

39) ‘Someone started banging’
new paragraph

40) ‘ “One second Peter’
comma after ‘second’

41) ‘ “Where is he’
new paragraph

42) ‘What you done with him’
question-mark after ‘him’

43) ‘A heavy knock sounded’
new paragraph

44) ‘out of here then’
comma after ‘here’

45) ‘nah ladies’
comma after ‘nah’

46) ‘He nodded and shut’
new paragraph

47) ‘John, studying the vibrations’
new paragraph

48) ‘James’ taunt shoulders’
‘taunt’ should be ‘taut’

49) ‘still one the loose’
‘one’ should be ‘on’

50) ‘John’s eyes glimmered’
new paragraph

51) ‘ “You,” he said’
new paragraph

52) ‘ “This is it?’
new paragraph

53) ‘absolving herself with that action of all’
comma after ‘herself’ and ‘action’

54) ‘Faith (buttressed by her’
new paragraph

55) ‘did anything anyway’
comma after ‘anything’

56) ‘The sisters exchanged’
new paragraph

57) ‘lack witted’
hyphen

58) ‘her brown furrowed’
‘brown’ should be ‘brow’

59) ‘30 years’
should be ‘thirty years’

60) ‘The woman turned’
new paragraph

61) ‘spat, “no,” and slammed’
capital ‘n’ for ‘no’

62) ‘sisters only know’
‘know’ should be ‘known’

63) ‘which lead them’
‘lead’ should be ‘led’

64) ‘where exactly does’
capital ‘w’ for ‘where’

65) ‘The sisters giggled’
new paragraph

66) ‘glass covered’
hyphen

67) ‘ “No, wait’
new paragraph

68) ‘Everyone looked at’
new paragraph

69) ‘Madame Zorba peered’
new paragraph

70) ‘black sea, untouched by the’
remove comma

71) ‘was lead to ponder’
‘lead’ should be ‘led’ (unless it’s the metal)

72) ‘shaping from the souls of men markers’
commas after ‘shaping’ and ‘men’

73) ‘deep seated’
hyphen

74) ‘His brother complied’
new paragraph

75) ‘an new trailer’
‘an’ should be ‘a’

76) ‘Faith mumbled’
new paragraph

77) ‘and said, “put them’
capital ‘p’ for ‘put’

78) ‘Smith – seeing the situation’
new paragraph

79) ‘light post’
is this what the Scottish call them? We call them ‘lamp posts’

80) ‘Faith studied her younger’
new paragraph

81) ‘Prudence moaned softly’
new paragraph

82) ‘That’s illegal here, I think’
But it didn’t stop the woman from shooting at them. Maybe Socorro could point that out, too.

83) ‘They followed Faith’
new paragraph

84) ‘she lead them around’
‘lead’ should be ‘led’

85) ‘you of the time,” Frank began’
should be ‘you of the time - ” Frank began’

86) ‘Joe excitedly’
is this: (a) ‘Joe said excitedly’; (b) ‘whispered Joe excitedly’; (c) ‘Joe (excitedly)’ (d) other?

87) ‘a certain subtly’
should be ‘a certain subtlety’

88) ‘The others nodded enthusiastically’
new paragraph

89) ‘adrenaline free’
hyphen

90) ‘Mr Maginnes sighed’
new paragraph

91) ‘well John?’
should be ‘Well, John?’

92) ‘Aye aye sir’
should be ‘Aye, aye, sir’

93) ‘The two old men sat’
new paragraph

94) ‘An there’
should this be ‘An’ there’?

95) ‘tales of my London days’
should this be ‘tales o’ my London days’

96) ‘well lined’
hyphen

97) ‘full time’
hyphen

98) ‘crowed around’
should be ‘crowded around’

99) ‘cherry whiskey’
earlier, you spelt ‘whiskey’ as ‘whisky’, I think. It might pay to check for consistency.

Ch 13

1) Got the blanks too’
Comma after ‘blanks’

2) ‘mitigated’
is this the word you want?

3) ‘lead by Grace and her’
‘lead’ should be ‘led’

4) ‘was more that even’
should be ‘was more than even’

5) ‘snapped an “oh, very’
should be ‘snapped an, “Oh, very’

6) ‘There was a knock’
new paragraph

7) ‘Faith, thoroughly disgruntled’
new paragraph

8) ‘Grace quirked’
new paragraph

9) ‘Prudence blushed’
new paragraph

10) ‘all out’
hyphen

11) ‘and obvious more’
should be ‘and obviously more’

12) ‘my share too’
comma after ‘share’

13) ‘Prudence looked at Peter’
new paragraph

14) ‘They nodded’
new paragraph

15) ‘ “Very well’
new paragraph

16) ‘Peter shrugged’
new paragraph

17) ‘rather too wet’
hyphenate

18) ‘only know what might’
‘know’ should be ‘knows’

19) ‘No no’
should be ‘No, no’

20) ‘Billy and Mr. McLusky staggered’
new paragraph

21) ‘wait please. I’d like’
comma after ‘wait’

22) ‘Oh I - ’
comma after ‘Oh’

23) ‘Hello James’
comma after ‘Hello’

24) ‘standing side by, staring’
should be ‘standing side by side, staring’

25) ‘Pretty day isn’t it’
should be ‘Pretty day, isn’t it?’

26) ‘suspicious looking’
hyphen

27) ‘Oh no,” Peter moaned’
comma after ‘Oh’

28) ‘Oh no,” he moaned’
As above

29) ‘cried, “pink turtles’
should be ‘cried. “Pink turtles’

30) ‘her head in her hands, shaking her head.’
That’s two heads in one sentence. Maybe say, ‘her face in her hands, shaking her head.’

31) ‘Thomas, “the skies’
should be ‘Thomas. “The skies’

32) ‘Mr McLusky grinned’
new paragraph

33) ‘Billy smiled angelically’
new paragraph

34) ‘James glanced at’
new paragraph

35) ‘Faith blankly’
‘Faith (blankly)’?


So, was the whole thing written for the pun at the end? Hehe. Very enjoyable. I’ve backed you to the hilt, Maeve. Hopefully you’ll be at the ed’s desk by the end of this month – and hopefully I’ve given you this in plenty of time for that. Just remember, it’s all just my opinion and I’m no expert – but I hope it helps.

All the best.

Sue

amyblack wrote 695 days ago

I got my computer fixed, seems my scroll key was locked...teeheehee, silly me. ;) This is a fun fast paced read. Backed! You're gifted as a writer, best to you! Cheers, hope the powers that be in the writing world see the talent. Cheers! :)

Lacydeane wrote 695 days ago

A very enjoyable read. Thanks for the invite. Lacy

eltondiva wrote 696 days ago

A thoroughly enjoyable laugh out loud read. I have been following this adventure for a few days now and I am happy to say this reminds me of the "Fu Manchu" type adventures with Peter Sellers and I loved those! Thank you Maeve for the wonderful read, I needed it. Highly rated and backed on your way to the desk.

Best wishes Colleen
(Demon Rising, The Symbol of Wrath)

Valerie T wrote 696 days ago

Mrs. Maginnes is Dead has an engaging heroine, intriguing setting and colourful characters. It is highly entertaining. It displays exceptional descriptions in a syle reminiscent of nineteenth century novels. The dialogue is witty with tidbits of plot and back story dropped in casually to carry the reader along.
Good luck with the desk.

J.S.Watts wrote 696 days ago

An entertaining, picaresque novel (well, sort of) that relishes language, humour and incongruity in equal measure. Well polished and crafted and with both an amusing and telling attention to detail. Many stars and much luck to it.

J.S.Watts
Witchlight

kokako wrote 696 days ago

Hi Maeve,
Hopefully this will make up for some of my earlier tardiness.

Ch 9

1) ‘wary birds, fearing predators’
remove comma

2) ‘with Mrs Maginnes when he died’
Surely she was living with Mr and Mrs Maginnes when he died?

3) ‘that the had dug’
should be ‘that they had dug’

4) ‘fear and trembling strikes the hearts’
‘strikes’ should be ‘strike’

5) ‘Don’t deny it’
comma after ‘it’

6) ‘Joy grinned toothily’
New paragraph

7) ‘Faith, without a whisper’
New paragraph

8) ‘twenty five’
hyphen

9) ‘he Maddy’
should be ‘he was Maddy’

10) ‘good whisky though’
comma after ‘whisky’

11) ‘been him though’
comma after ‘him’

12) ‘Here here’
should be ‘Here, here’

13) ‘that’s so it’s’
comma after ‘so’

14) ‘twenty years younger’
hyphenate

15) ‘she said, smiling too’
maybe say ‘she said, smiling back’ as you’ve used ‘too’ immediately before this.

16) ‘Hello Billy’
comma after ‘Hello’

17) I may have forgotten something, but I can’t remember Prudence meeting the McLuskys before. How does she know them when Joy doesn’t?

18) ‘by now highly irritated’
hyphen

19) ‘table beside sister’
should be ‘table beside her sister’

20) ‘Billy added something’
new paragraph

21) ‘The sisters nodded fervantly’
new paragraph
‘fervantly’ should be ‘fervently’

22) ‘ “Tha’,” he said, pointing to the photograph’
new paragraph

23) ‘only one his kind’
should be ‘only one of his kind’

24) ‘further, and at senatorial’
remove comma

25) ‘still smiling’
hyphen

26) ‘up, coming and’
should be ‘up-coming and’

27) ‘with you please’
comma after ‘you’
question mark after ‘please’

28) ‘go ahead Pru’
comma after ‘ahead’

29) ‘Mrs Jones and Mrs Kay exchanged’
new paragraph

30) ‘ “Men,” Joy said’
new paragraph

31) ‘host of hosts’
hyphenate

32) ‘a baleful expression’
full-stop after ‘expression’

33) ‘ “Prudence,” he growled’
new paragraph

34) ‘She smiled somewhat’
new paragraph

35) ‘half way’
one word

Ch 10

1) ‘seems not to come into being as most days do but to try, collapse’
commas after ‘seems’ and ‘do’
this doesn’t flow properly around ‘do but to try’. This is because ‘but’ prevents ‘seems’ applying to ‘to try’ (which probably makes no sense at all)! You could fix it by saying, ‘do, but try’ or by saying ‘do, but seems to try’

2) ‘blood curdling’
hyphen

3) ‘act natural’
should be ‘act naturally’ (unless you put it in quotation marks)

4) ‘ “You’re sure we won’t’
new paragraph

5) ‘first born’
hyphen

6) ‘Notche?” said a voice said above’
remove either ‘said’

7) ‘For one, terrifying’
remove comma

8) ‘most everyone’
should be ‘almost everyone’

9) ‘Guerric leaned over’
new paragraph

10) ‘ “Would you like’
new paragraph

11) ‘copper’s are after’
remove apostrophe

12) ‘The old man glanced’
new paragraph

13) ‘swiftly from of his face’
remove ‘of’

14) ‘ya ken. ‘Tha’ coppers’
should be ‘ya ken. Tha’ coppers’

15) ‘The gleam in’
new paragraph

16) ‘ “How-“ she’
new paragraph

17) ‘arm strength’
hyphen

18) ‘said: “ah child!’
I’d put, ‘said, “ ‘ah child!’

19) ‘expression, said, “mark me’
capital ‘m’ for ‘mark’

20) ‘ Come on now’
comma after ‘on’

21) ‘Guerric grinned’
A few of the paragraphs here are indented.

22) ‘made worms meat of me’
should this be worms’ meat of me’?

23) ‘tired looking’
hyphen

24) ‘Hope said hopefully’
Did you want ‘hopefully’ with a capital ‘h’? I think you’ve always done so before.

25) ‘she snarled, “is that’
should be ‘she snarled. “Is that’

26) ‘an glance with’
‘an’ should be ‘a’

27) ‘she finished, “sorry’
should be ‘she finished. “Sorry’

28) ‘Hope grinned toothily’
new paragraph

29) ‘moment longer, down’
remove comma

30) ‘of emeralds, of the sparkling’
should be ‘of emeralds; of the sparkling’

31) ‘well crafted’
hyphen

32) ‘world wide’
hyphen

33) ‘into heat and pheromones’
comma after ‘heat’

34) ‘was dealt it’
should be ‘was dealt its’

35) ‘he said, “let me get’
should be ‘he said. “Let me get’

36) ‘about that too’
comma after ‘that’

37) ‘an man with’
‘an’ should be ‘a’

38) ‘… and a goat’
Is there a description for Socorro, too? She’s the only one missed out.

39) ‘ “He likes roast beef’
This paragraph is indented.

40) ‘as any good communist is bound’
maybe you could put, ‘as any good communist – sorry, Marxist – is bound’

41) ‘Both of em, eh?’
should be ‘Both of ‘em, eh?’

42) ‘steel tipped’
hyphen

43) ‘Extrordinare’
should be ‘Extraordinaire’

44) ‘out of work’
hyphenate

45) ‘rock hard’
hyphen

46) ‘Billy and Joe are’
should be ‘Frank and Joe are’

47) ‘ “Prudence!” Faith’
new paragraph

48) ‘No one answered’
new paragraph

49) ‘and said; “so be it’
I really don’t know the correct thing to do here, but I would probably put, ‘and said, “So be it’
or ‘and said, “ ‘so be it’

50) ‘and said: “nor stony’
should be ‘and said, “ ‘nor stony’

51) ‘strength of spirit”’ ’
should be single quotation marks, then double, with a space between.

52) ‘exchanged proud look’
‘look’ should be ‘looks’

53) ‘My god man’
comma after ‘god’

54) ‘Mr Maginnes’s’
could just be Maginnes’, as I think you’ve written it that way elsewhere.

55) ‘not psychic Faith’
comma after ‘psychic’

56) ‘side by side’
hyphenate

57) ‘act natural’
should be ‘act naturally’

58) ‘26,000’
should be ‘twenty-six thousand’

59) ‘you can’t expect me not to let some of the charges fall’
Is this what he really means? He’s saying that he thinks they want to be charged. Is he meaning, ‘you can’t expect me not to let some of the charges stand’ ?

60) ‘Faith, Hope and Joy’
new paragraph

61) ‘ “What?” James asked’
new paragraph

62) ‘in the very least’
should be ‘at the very least’

63) ‘Not so metaphorical’
hyphenate

64) ‘James looked at her’
new paragraph

65) ‘Prudence pleads for prudent behaviour’
Capital ‘p’ for ‘prudent’?

66) ‘Faith said nodding’
comma after ‘said’

67) ‘ “Look,” Faith said’
new paragraph

More to come soon.

Sue

The Jerk wrote 696 days ago

You want a comment? Well, I see you have 198 comments on the early part of your book, so I read the last chapter. Anyone who can bring matters to a conclusion with the entire cast lying back like a group of sunbathing seals - and then top it all off with that truly AWFUL pun - gets my vote. A sequel? As Guerric would say "I am athwart with excitement!"

Writer's Block wrote 697 days ago

What a joy! You have a rare talent, and an amazing command of words. If I read on, I may be inspired to write some of my own. I'm putting you on my shelf with respect and grattitude.

kokako wrote 697 days ago

Hi Maeve,

So sorry. Real life got in the way there, for a bit. Here’s Ch 8.

1) ‘she had that hyperactivity’
‘had’ should be ‘has’

2) ‘Peter paused over’
New paragraph

3) ‘They both glanced at’
New paragraph

4) ‘She stared at the patching’
New paragraph

5) ‘oil slicked’
hyphen

6) ‘not quite as dramatic as they might have and certainly did seem to the other’
This doesn’t flow as ‘seemed’ becomes ‘seem’ due to the insertion of ‘certainly did’. I’d be inclined to put, ‘not quite as dramatic as they might have seemed – and certainly did seem to the other’

7) ‘what I’d do for ape woman’
In the next sentence, you say ‘an ape woman’, so I’d be inclined to say, ‘what I’d do for an ape woman’ here.

8) ‘all right Peter’
should be ‘all right, Peter’

9) ‘he hissed, “you’
should be ‘he hissed. “You’

10) ‘about ape-women’
This is the only time you hyphenate ‘ape women/ape woman. It doesn’t matter whether you do or don’t, but it needs to be consistent. Personally, I prefer it hyphenated, but it’s definitely up to you.

11) ‘that very moment in time’
remove ‘in time’. A moment is always in time, so it’s obsolete.

12) ‘well strapped’
hyphen

13) ‘Now now’
should be ‘Now, now’

14) ‘good for nothing’
hyphenate

15) ‘The stored grain’
should be ‘They stored grain’

16) ‘ax shaped’
Hyphen

17) ‘came from quite different source’
should be ‘came from quite a different source’

18) ‘The girl was pure…

The princess was pure;

The princess was pure…;’

Should be,
‘The girl was pure…

…the princess was pure;

The princess was pure…;

The princess was pure;’
if it is to match exactly.

19) ‘changed the order of the words in her scroll’
How do they know the order of the words has changed?

20) ‘of the phrase’
comma after ‘phrase’

21) ‘is lead by’
‘lead’ should be ‘led’

22) ‘what we are dealing’
should be ‘What we are dealing’

23) ‘profundity as well’
comma after ‘profundity’

24) ‘soul of each individual’
comma after ‘individual’

25) ‘Joy gave him’
New paragraph

26) ‘unexpected albeit rationally premeditated attack’
should be ‘unexpected, albeit rationally premeditated, attack’

27) ‘The two sisters’
New paragraph

28) ‘two, I think, a crowbar and a bucket’
This sounds as though the ‘two’ are the crowbar and the bucket. Maybe say, ‘two, I think, plus a crowbar and a bucket’

29) ‘Jot took a large’
New paragraph

30) ‘ “Let’s go’
New paragraph

31) ‘with an accuracy of aim’
remove ‘of aim’

32) ‘flower-covered jar of milk’
should this be ‘flower-covered jar with milk’?

33) ‘bored of sitting’
This isn’t critical, but ‘bored of’ tends to be American; ‘bored with’ tends to be English. In this case, though, I think you could probably omit the ‘of’ altogether and it will make perfect sense – and get round the whole of/with issue admirably.

34) ‘no use anyway’
comma after ‘use’

35) ‘Prudence sniffed’
New paragraph

36) ‘Sex sex sex’
Should be ‘Sex, sex, sex’

37) ‘out of shape’
hyphenate

38) ‘don’t you start’
should be ‘Don’t you start’

39) ‘theatric’
should be ‘theatrical’

40) ‘One, spry old woman’
should be ‘One spry, old woman’

41) ‘dumbfound’
should be ‘dumbfounded’

42) ‘red sequined’
hyphen

43) ‘heart shaped’
hyphen

44) ‘tentative looking’
hyphen

45) ‘deep seated’
hyphen

46) ‘prepare-to-meet-you-maker’
should be ‘prepare-to-meet-your-maker’

47) ‘of that sort), “don’t be such an’
should be ‘of that sort). “Don’t be such an’

48) ‘ten thirty’
hyphen

49) ‘eleven twenty’
hyphen

50) ‘six square foot mausoleum’
I would say ‘six-foot-square mausoleum’

51) ‘moon shrouded’
hyphen

52) ‘sisterly bickering, “my spade’
should be ‘sisterly bickering. “My spade’

53) ‘half way’
one word

54) ‘What now sir’
comma after ‘now’

55) ‘sweet tones, “there’s nothing’
should be ‘sweet tones. “There’s nothing’

56) ‘Joe grunted agreement’
New paragraph

57) ‘Faith, coming to’
New paragraph

58) ‘He nodded’
New paragraph’

59) ‘ “But we’d never hurt’
New paragraph

60) ‘He moved a fraction’
New paragraph

61) ‘He nodded again’
New paragraph

62) ‘She looked down’
New paragraph

63) ‘ “Ahh,’ he said’
New paragraph

64) ‘Her lower lip began’
New paragraph

65) ‘He sighed again’
New paragraph

66) ‘A tear quivered’
New paragraph

67) ‘He looked out’
New paragraph

68) ‘She let out a’
New paragraph

69) ‘He moved in the final’
New paragraph

70) ‘would you like something’
capital ‘w’ for ‘would’

71) ‘said “ahh, certainly’
should be ‘said, “Ahh, certainly’

72) ‘ “Sorry,” he added’
New paragraph

73) ‘broken hearted’
hyphen

74) ‘through stormy clouds’
semi-colon after ‘clouds’

75) ‘meaningless verbiage’
semi-colon after ‘verbiage’

76) ‘into a advertisement’
‘a’ should be ‘an’

77) ‘well ordered’
hyphen

78) ‘truth value’
I’d hyphenate

79) ‘Socorro started to laugh’
New paragraph

80) ‘ “What the hell’
New paragraph

81) ‘gasped, “no one knows’
should be ‘gasped. “No –one knows’

82) ‘sitting quiet calmly’
should be ‘sitting quite calmly’

83) ‘ “What?” Guerric cried’
New paragraph

84) ‘of World War I soldier’
should be ‘of a World War I soldier’

Congrats for getting into the top 5, Maeve. I’ll try to speed up with the rest of the chapters so it’s of some use to you.

Sue

Paul Dyer wrote 697 days ago

Just LOVE it. Hilarious. A kindred writerly spirit who splashes around in the English language like a child in a puddle, making dirt and rainbows. Suspiciously Dickensian. And the last time I said that, I was responding to Leon Garfield’s conclusion to “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”

nautaV wrote 698 days ago

Really nice read!
Highly starred again and is being backed to the final.

Valentine But

kokako wrote 701 days ago

Hi Maeve,

And now for Chapter 7…

1) ‘as a warning for better behaviour – a divine sign, portent…’
the insert inside the hyphens actually gives analogies for ‘warning’, so I think it would read better if it came immediately after that word. As it was, I had to go back and reread what the ‘divine sign’ etc was referring to (ie better behaviour) so the story lost its flow.

2) ‘nothing worth prosecuting’
I thought they prosecuted people rather than things. Maybe you could say, ‘nothing worth prosecuting anyone for’ or ‘no-one worthy of prosecution’

3) ‘about 50 metres away’
numbers should be written. Thus, this should be, ‘about fifty metres away’

4) ‘see the detectives, and’
remove comma

5) ‘more or less’
hyphenate

6) ‘pure, clean, anorexic blade’
I love this. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a nose being described as anorexic!

7) ‘well tailored’
hyphen

8) ‘a observation’
‘a’ should be ‘an’

9) ‘From the start’
comma after ‘start’

10) ‘The death knell…’
You change tenses in this chapter and I don’t think it reads as well as it otherwise would. It’s still the saleswoman making up a story, after all. So it should still be;
‘The death knell of their idyll would, however, have been sounded even before it had begun. From the start their relationship would have been hounded by a veritable multitude of paparazzi. And, one fateful day eight months after they arrived in Tahiti, a photographer from The News of the Galaxy (and Other Alternate Planes), flying out in a helicopter, would snap shots of a topless…’ etc.

11) ‘One moment please’
comma after ‘moment’

12) ‘do Pasty Kline’
I could be showing my ignorance, but I thought it was ‘Patsy Kline’ (Just googled it. I actually ended up with ‘Patsy Cline’. Is that who you meant?)

13) ‘against the five sets of finger’
Is this meant to be ‘fingers’?

14) ‘Socorro took her fingers off the cup’
If the above is meant to be ‘finger’, then so is this; and vice versa.

15) ‘those damned Americans’
remove comma after ‘Americans’ or remove ‘damned’

16) ‘the English language for crying out loud and’
commas after ‘language’ and ‘loud’

17) ‘a shrine too’
comma after ‘shrine’

18) ‘whispered, “ready?” in a’
capital ‘r’ for ‘ready’

19) ‘looking carefully over Prudence’s shoulders’
How does he look over both shoulders? Wouldn’t her head be in the way? Should be ‘looking carefully over Prudence’s shoulder’

20) ‘munificent mustachio’s’
remove apostrophe

21) ‘these mustachio’s’
as above

22) ‘come in’
capital ‘c’ for ‘come’

23) ‘did it too and look’
commas after ‘it’ and ‘too’

24) ‘full grown’
hyphen

25) ‘foot high’
hyphen

26) ‘light colored’
hyphen

27) ‘Professor Iskander looked at Peter’
New paragraph

28) ‘ “He’s an architect’
New paragraph

29) ‘did you study.’
Question mark after ‘study’

30) ‘What for’
question mark after ‘for’

31) ‘heavy face taunt’
‘taunt’ should be ‘taut’

32) ‘self control’
hyphen

33) ‘is a actually’
remove ‘a’

34) ‘definite assent in the world’
‘assent’ should be ‘asset’

35) ‘but the it’
remove ‘the’

36) ‘what has troubled’
‘has’ should be ‘had’

37) ‘head over heels’
hyphenate

38) ‘six year old’
hyphenate

39) ‘obtain the control and perhaps even a part of it’
‘and perhaps even a part of it’, is a bit confusing. Maybe use ‘or’ instead of ‘and’. Alternatively, remove it altogether, as it isn’t really necessary.

40) ‘ill will’
hyphen

41) ‘hard earned’
hyphen

42) ‘twice yearly’
hyphen

43) ‘her sisters Faith and Hope in’
commas after ‘sisters’ and ‘Hope’

44) ‘lamentable but not sorely missed early’
commas after ‘lamentable’ and ‘missed’

45) ‘Professor Iskander stared’
New paragraph

46) ‘ “Sir,” Prudence continued’
New paragraph

47) ‘eight miracle mix cigarettes’
I think ‘miracle mix’ has always been ‘Miracle Mix’ before this? Maybe do a word-search on this and make sure they are consistent.

48) “Yes sir?’
comma after ‘Yes’

49) ‘finds it, yes.’
Question mark after ‘yes’

50) ‘Yes sir.’
Comma after ‘Yes’

51) ‘you found anything’
question mark after ‘anything’

52) ‘Not yet sir’
comma after ‘yet’

53) ‘hope so sir’
comma after ‘so’

54) ‘to aid it. Yes.’
Question mark after ‘Yes’

55) ‘Yes sir’ (twice)
comma after ‘Yes’

56) ‘enjoying Scotland’
question mark after ‘Scotland’

57) ‘high pitched’
hyphenate

58) ‘and added, “you will come’
should be ‘and added, “You will come’

59) ‘ “Yes sir, I will sir, thank you sir’
should be ‘ “Yes, sir. I will, sir. Thank you, sir’

60) ‘Yes sir’
comma after ‘Yes’

61) ‘ “Any luck’
New paragraph

62) ‘Joy (said), reading’
remove brackets?

63) ‘blond bimbo’
should be ‘blonde bimbo’

64) ‘Whose, you Father’s’
should be ‘Whose? Your Father’s’

65) Yay! New Zealand!

66) ‘did you get the hair dye at least’
should be ‘Did you get the hair dye, at least’

67) ‘brother Jerry fought’
should be ‘brother, Jerry, fought’

68) ‘her cousin Bob’
should be ‘her cousin, Bob’

69) ‘cross country’
hyphen

70) ‘Faith told Guerric’
full-stop after ‘Guerric’

71) ‘do tell’
should be ‘Do tell’

72) ‘force feed’
hyphen

73) ‘I was only saying it was like peanut butter in its cultural specificity’
This, by now, was a little confusing. Maybe say ‘Marmite’ instead of ‘it’.

74) Just an aside. All Marmite in NZ was (is?) manufactured in Christchurch. After the February earthquake last year, the factory was damaged to such an extent that production stopped – but they didn’t tell anyone. They had a lot of stock and sold that to the retailers, intending to get their factory repaired and production back up again. Only the earthquakes have kept coming, making rebuilding (of anything) exceedingly difficult in Christchurch. And the stock ran dry. They finally had to admit that there was no more Marmite being produced and the factory would not be operational until this coming July… You can guess the rest. There was a run on Marmite in the shops and within twenty-four hours there was no Marmite to be had anywhere in NZ. Now the stuff is selling for $80 a bottle on the internet.

75) ‘Joy (said)’
remove brackets?

76) ‘aji’
I looked this up in the dictionary (on Word). It said ‘paternal grandmother’. I don’t understand the association.
Okay, then I googled it. I prefer this definition. ‘Spicy sauce’. Much better association – now I understand.

77) ‘did she give you’
should be ‘Did she give you’

78) ‘the Pearly Gates’ speech too’
comma after ‘speech’

79) ‘ “Oh, for God’s sake’
New paragraph

80) ‘Really, think about it’
This should either be ‘Really think about it’ or ‘Really. Think about it’

81) ‘grave robbing’
hyphen

82) ‘Stricken beyond the scope’
New paragraph

83) ‘you have a point’
should be ‘You have a point’

84) ‘nay sayer’
hyphen

85) ‘ “I don’t like this’
This paragraph is indented.

Et voila! Here endeth Chapter 7. Get set for the next exciting instalment, coming soon at a theatre near you…

I’m a bit busy tomorrow, but I should have Chapter 8 to you by Thursday.

Sue

kokako wrote 702 days ago

Hi Maeve,

Here’s Ch 6 at last! Sorry it’s taken a while.

Ch 6

1) ‘on it either’
comma after ‘it’

2) ‘beret clad’
hyphen

3) ‘IV. Moving on…’
‘IV’ is in bold. Is this meant to be this sized font? I’d make it the same size as the others. (Actually, I’ve just realised it only does this when I increase the font size so that I can read it (as I’m blind as a bat). But the IV is in bold no matter what font size).

4) ‘You say either’
It could just be me, but I don’t follow this comment.

5) ‘white tiled’
hyphen

6) ‘fully functional’
hyphen

7) ‘god given’
hyphen

8) ‘peaceful tone, said: “you’ll do’
should be ‘peaceful tone, said, “You’ll do’

9) ‘I feel -” she waved her’
should be ‘I feel - ” She waved her’

10) ‘Guerric (concurred).’
Remove parentheses. I think it will have just as much impact without.

11) ‘police station that morning’
full-stop after ‘morning’

12) ‘reflected in hallway mirror’
should be ‘reflected in the hallway mirror’

13) ‘Hope said sitting’
comma after ‘said’

14) ‘and fifty if we don’t’
It could just be me, but I can’t quite follow this. By ‘direct response’, does she mean that the spirits will respond directly? If this is the case it might be better as, ‘A hundred pounds if they respond directly,” Faith said meekly, “and fifty if they don’t.” ’

15) ‘everyone say , “oh, what’
I think there’s a gap between the ‘say’ and the comma that shouldn’t be there.
‘oh’ should be ‘Oh’
The same for ‘ooh’ in the following sentence.

16) ‘oh why did Prudence’
comma after ‘oh’

17) ‘had a multiplicity’
as you are in the present tense (she is merely aware) this also has to be present tense. Thus ‘had’ should be ‘has’ and later in the sentence, ‘deserved’ should be ‘deserve’
However, as the rest of the paragraph seems to be in the past, it might pay to change these (and the ‘consider’ in the sentence prior) back to the past tense.

18) ‘good one, Pru’
capital ‘g’ for ‘good’

19) ‘fresh water’
hyphen

20) ‘once loose’
hyphen

21) ‘utterly innocent is some’
‘is’ should be ‘in’

22) ‘three inch’
hyphen

23) ‘handfuls of being’
comma after ‘being’

24) ‘oh-so-well-bred’
comma after ‘bred’

25) ‘grasping ciV’
there’s a gap after this that shouldn’t be there, I suspect – and the spaces between the lines is wrong at this point. (Again, this may be because I enlarged the font size).

26) ‘said interestedly, “how many of’
full-stop after ‘interestedly’. Otherwise, you would need to remove the first ‘do’ from the sentence.

27) ‘oh, eight or nine’
‘oh’ should be ‘Oh’

28) ‘the goat is the poor’
capital ‘t’ for the first ‘the’

29) ‘ “Come on now’
Should be a new paragraph.
Comma after ‘on’

30) ‘And they’re no chips’
‘they’re’ should be ‘there’re’

31) ‘as most days did’
remove comma

32) ‘rip roaring’
hyphen

33) ‘Good one Pru’
comma after ‘one’

34) ‘and she by calling a herald’
should ‘by’ be ‘be’ ? I can’t follow this sentence otherwise.

35) ‘horse riding’
hyphen

36) ‘into the once and sadly no longer immaculate’
commas after ‘once’ and ‘longer’

37) ‘Someone rang the doorbell.’
New paragraph

38) ‘studied the houses’
you use ‘house’ again later in this sentence. Maybe change one. Or say, ‘stepped quickly into theirs’

39) ‘great dark shining eyes’
commas after ‘great’ and ‘dark’

40) ‘what it was, “let’s get’
I would make this ‘what it was. “Let’s get’

41) ‘executed them, sullen but’
change the comma to a semi-colon

42) ‘rose pitch by pitch to form’
commas after ‘rose’ and ‘pitch’

43) ‘candle light’
one word

44) ‘Perhaps ever a casual’
Should ‘ever’ be ‘even’

45) ‘Faith placed a restraining’
New paragraph

46) ‘Madame Zorba shrugged unhappily’
New paragraph

47) ‘to say ‘ah well! next year’
should be ‘to say, “Ah, well! Next year’

48) ‘Peter slumped in his’
New paragraph

49) ‘Peter nodded vehemently’
New paragraph (At the moment it sounds as though Peter said the previous sentence).

50) ‘ “Turn those lights’
New paragraph

51) ‘light switch’
hyphen

52) ‘carrot holding’
hyphen

53) ‘to crash resounding’
this should either be ‘to crash, resounding’
or ‘to crash resoundingly’

54) ‘Why thank you’
should be ‘Why, thank you’

55) ‘doomed! I am’
capital ‘d’ for ‘doomed’

56) ‘it’s a long story’
capital ‘i’ for ‘it’s’

57) ‘Mrth McInneth goat’
‘McInneth’ should be Maginneth
should be ‘Mrth Maginneth’ goat’ (as it is the goat of Mrth Maginneth)

58) ‘quite well Father’
comma after ‘well’

59) ‘my ladeith’
should be ‘ladieth’

60) ‘her tholath’
I would be inclined to put ‘tholathe’, otherwise the reader is inclined to read the ‘a’ as a short vowel.

61) ‘What the-” she began’
should be ‘What the - ?” she began’

62) ‘figure out that whatever was going on in this house it was far from Catholic and quite possibly not even Christian, the goat, after due deliberation, came to the conclusion she had been seeking and shot like a bat out of hell after Snowy.’
Should be either, ‘figure out that, whatever was going on in this house, it was far from Catholic, and quite possibly not even Christian, the goat, after due deliberation, came to the conclusion she had been seeking and shot, like a bat out of hell, after Snowy.’
Or, ‘Figure out that whatever was going on in this house was far from Catholic, and quite possibly not even …’ (with the same additional commas within the rest of the sentence).

63) ‘not quite white’
should be ‘not-quite-white’

64) ‘where is it’
capital ‘w’ for ‘where’

65) ‘horns and screamed’
comma after ‘screamed’

66) ‘still giggling’
hyphen

67) ‘then entirety’
‘then’ should be ‘the’

68) ‘a goat with feline grace)’
comma after ‘grace)’

69) ‘first class cricketeer’
should be ‘first-class cricketer’ (two changes)

70) ‘good shot Hope’
comma after ‘shot’

71) ‘pistols is evidence’
‘is’ should be ‘in’

I love this chapter, Maeve – especially the end. Sorry it’s been a while getting to you. Back soon, with the next enthralling instalment (ie Ch 7 edits).

Sue

LindaNelson wrote 702 days ago

I did not care much for the very first paragraph. I found it to be kind of a blah start to the story. But the rest is really great. You were able to hook me on the second paragraph.

Starred and backed.

Emsbabee wrote 702 days ago

You've clearly got a cast-iron grip of English and a real knack for playing about with it. I think the abundance of words here is what made it difficult for me to read too much. It's all very clever, amusing and beautifully observed but I think there are parts that could do with paring down a little. Not in terms of pace, which I think is good, rather to give the reader a chance to breathe. It's a bit like trying to scoff a whole box of chocolates in five minutes. You don't really get a chance to savour much.

Has Socorro spent much time in the UK? I really enjoyed the chilly future she envisaged as she trudged down the street towards her lodgings, but I wondered how she could predict it with such accuracy given that she;s never been to Scotland? I also wondered why Prudence hadn't noticed her hair when she answered the door to her?

Highly starred for originality, energy and of course, the goat. Will add to my WL.

ses7 wrote 702 days ago

I realized that you invited me to look at this ages ago, and I'm sorry I didn't come read it sooner! Your writing style is light and witty, and I love the humor, especially in the presentation of the section headings and how your "heroine" is progressing in mood (and plot too). This was fun and light-hearted to read. It kept a smile on my face the whole time. I just finished the first chapter and think this is absolutely great. I'm going to give it some shelf time.

Highly-starred. Keep up the good work. :-)

-Sarah E.S.
(Destiny of Species)

Terence Brumpton wrote 702 days ago

This is a good book. You give the reader a good idea of what is going on in her mind. I like how the first meeting with a scottish person goes, you wrote it in such a way even people not knowing of the accent get a idea of what it would sound like. Fantastic so far, i see why it is so highly ranked now

The pitch is strong and makes you think about what could happen and so draws you in.

maretha wrote 704 days ago

Dear Maeve
Thank you for Mrs Maginnes. I found it difficult to settle into the first chapter because there is a lot to take in,but by ch 3 I was truly hooked! I feel as if I'm reading a very modern and up to date version of one of Jane Austin's novels. Adjectives such as "a mellifluos voice" and "souciant" describing that attitude of the goat confirms my feelings. As in days gone by,this is not a story to read in haste. Many of the passages grow on one and must be read over-and-over.
I love the way you expertly tell the reader more about the characters. Socorro is a dream and describe her red hair and beauty in such a way that I cannot help remembering secret dreams of being a dashing red head just like her in my younger days...
Mrs Maginnes go beyond the Editor's Desk.
All the best
Kind regards
Maretha African Adventures of Flame Family Furry and Feathered Friends

Lena M. Pate wrote 704 days ago

Since so many have given you corrections below, I would just like to say that I find your story and characters delightful. Each has their own special quirks and build definite images within the readers mind. You have good pulls in the storyline, leading the reader to want to continue to find out about the goat and the gold, how each of the neighbors play into this, will Socorro find success and pleasure eventually living in Scotland, and what adventures she will find in her journeys. Nicely written.

1x80 wrote 704 days ago

I liked how your characters seemed to be acting the opposite of what their names were.
I was a bit suspicious of them at first, it came across like they had something to hide from Socorro, but then I think if there is gold involved, they won't want to shout about it.
You're a talented writer.

kokako wrote 705 days ago

Hi Maeve,

And so it continues:

Ch 5

1) ‘smash up’
hyphen

2) ‘…the drizzling rain, the darkness of the overcast sky.’
This isn’t a sentence, written like this. You could either change all your commas to semi-colons, or say, ‘…the drizzling rain or the darkness of the overcast sky.’ Either one would work.

3) ‘He has been’
should be ‘He had been’ as you’re writing in the past tense.

4) ‘else to go with’
‘with’ should be ‘on’

5) ‘I just finished a batch’
I thought he meant that he’d just consumed a batch, so I couldn’t work out why he was happy. Maybe he could say, ‘I’ve just put together a batch’ or something like that.

6) ‘ “Like to hear it?” he asked.’
You’ve just used ‘he replied’ so I would remove ‘he asked’. It makes everything weak.

7) ‘Guerric and the Aspenall sisters nodded avidly.’
This should be a new paragraph, as should the sentence after.

8) ‘apprenticeship there. But when I’
should be ‘apprenticeship there, but when I’

9) ‘It made me feel a little strange, because I don’t smoke.’
Yes he does. He just smoked a couple of cigarettes out at the goat’s pen. Okay, I’ve read on a bit. This should be ‘It made me feel a little strange, because I didn’t smoke.’

10) ‘Father Matteo and I had made’
If Father Mateo was on his deathbed, he was in no state to make anything. What about ‘I had made under Father Matteo’s supervision.’ ?

11) ‘cigarette making’
hyphen

12) ‘cappucino’s’
remove apostrophe

13) ‘Capuchin’s’
remove apostrophe

14) ‘you feel as if you had betrayed that’
the tenses are mixed here. Should be ‘you feel as if you have betrayed that’, or you could just say, ‘you feel as if you betrayed that’

15) ‘even if you were not a monk’
sounds clumsy somehow. Wrong tense (as he still isn’t a monk) and ‘if’ isn’t right. Maybe try, ‘even though you are not a monk’

16) ‘I thought so too.’
Comma after ‘so’

17) ‘I remembered too’
comma after ‘remembered’

18) ‘stopped his tracks’
should be ‘stopped in his tracks’

19) ‘with a such remarkable’
should be ‘with such a remarkable’

20) ‘Chilly, she glanced’
Grammatically, this should be ‘Chillily, she glanced’, which just looks really weird (even though it is correct). What about, ‘Frostily, she glanced over a chilly shoulder…’? Unfortunately, ‘Chilly’ just isn’t correct as it needs to be an adverb to describe how she glances. As it is, it just reads as though she’s feeling cold.

21) ‘James asked wearily.’ … ‘James said in a weary voice’
These come one after the other. I’d change one of them.

22) ‘think of the re-enact’
should be ‘think of to re-enact’

23) ‘good looking’
hyphen

24) ‘each others company’
should be ‘each other’s company’

25) ‘why bother with tactics?)’
full-stop after the close parenthesis.

26) ‘Sculpture helps me think’
should this be ‘Sculpting helps me think’? I’m assuming it’s the act of making the sculptures that helps her think, rather than the sculpture itself? If it’s the physical item, I’d say ‘Sculptures help me think’

27) ‘three dimensionally’
hyphen

28) ‘massively – if not colossally intrigued’
should be ‘massively – if not colossally – intrigued’

29) ‘the questions please’
comma after ‘questions’

30) ‘when you say you’re bringing a dog into the country they don’t assume it must necessarily’
Don’t you mean ‘when you say you’re bringing a dog into the country they assume it must necessarily’ ?

31) ‘saucer sized’
hyphen

32) ‘something other art form’
should be ‘some other art form’

33) ‘No we wouldn’t’
comma after ‘No’

34) ‘five foot ten’
hyphenate

35) ‘James paused for a moment’
This should be a new paragraph, as should the next line as they are different people.

36) ‘black hafted’
hyphen

That’s all for Ch 5. I’ll try to do Ch 6 tomorrow.

Sue

Daniel Rider wrote 705 days ago

I rarely give six stars, but wow, this is an exception. A fun, witty, hilarious, and remarkably polished and detailed work is what can be found in "Mrs. Maginnes is Dead." I absolutely ADORED it (and I can't, quite frankly, remember the last time I used the word "adore.")

The characters are well-drawn and interesting, particularly Socorro. In a less masterful work, she might have seemed like too much to handle. In Maeve Sleibhin's hands, however, she is thoroughly believable and her background even creates some comedy gold and helps set up some nice atmosphere and contrast that makes the Scottish setting even more drab and sad. Nice! The little section headings are funny and effective; once again, if the story and writing weren't up to par, they would have fallen flat, but here they are perfect. The tension is created solely around whether the neighbors will tell the lodger that her landlady is dead--and because this is a comedy of manners, this is a thoroughly engrossing tension.

The only minor nitpicks I have are A) there are too many characters introduced too fast when Grace, Hope, and Joy show up (although this is a comedy of manners and I think it works; I wouldn't mind seeing all these characters and the first chapter on the stage--they would be over-the-top awesome), and B) the last sentence of Section III throws me off somehow (wouldn't the wind be pushing the rain, not pulling? Is the comma after "rising" the right placement?) I get the idea, but it somehow doesn't work for me.

I will be reading on to see how everything develops, but for now, "Mrs. Maginnes" has a well-earned place in my backings.

Daniel Rider
"Indian Summer"

SWORDMUZIC wrote 706 days ago

Hello Maeve Sleibin,

I just read Ch.1 of " Mrs. Maginnes is dead."
The florid style coupled with the effortless way of writing indeed stands testimony to your mastery of the language.
Dog refuse,goat shit...the awesome sisters,the tactful male character....The descriptions are hilariously evocative of an asylum of eccentric people.

Despite the graceful Socorro ,( the red hair with a body attached to it) being the protagonist of the story , It is the Aspenall sisters who actually hog the lime light,with Guerric delightfully doing role a moderator of sorts.
It is a menagerie(I mean ,menage -eerie )there in Mrs.Maginnes' .

I hold myself not qualified enough to point out mistakes in a book of this standard and scope.
The line '......nightly aural spectacle ' looks oxy-moronish,(but yes,the writer has the so-called poetic licence.)
In OED, It is Savoir Faire (may be the french spelling is different - Savoir with 'e').
I give you 5 star rating.Will be considering your book during the next reshuffle of my shelf.

Meanwhile,I request you to have alook at my book "CATACOMBS" and revert with a comment,time permitting.

Thx & Rgds
SWORDMUZIC


Andrew Esposito wrote 706 days ago

Maeve, I found 'Mrs Maginnes is Dead' instantly engaging. Wonderful writing, a hint of humour mixed with an aged style such as the foretelling of each scene change. Very effective and endearing. Thank God you didn't disappear into the land of Irvine Welsh (I know you were tempted!) with dialogue that, I would think, is gobbly gook to most readers (go see the movie, if you have to, is my advice). Your off beat plot is commendable, a breath of fresh air. I'm backing it with high stars! best regards, Andrew Esposito / Killing Paradise

kokako wrote 706 days ago

Hi Maeve,

So, this continues where I left off… Again, just my views. Take what works, etc.

Ch 4

1) I love the references to Poirot and Miss Marple.

2) ‘stopped being friends’
semi-colon after ‘friends’

3) ‘bound to be followed’
semi-colon after ‘followed’

4) ‘The Mezzo’s
remove apostrophe

5) ‘a large red bow,) she threw the’
should be ‘a large red bow), she threw the’

6) ‘ “Oh, for Christ’s sake’
I’d start this on a new line (as the last sentence was general, but this is Faith, specifically, and therefore a new context).

7) Why are the Aspenall sisters in the Maginnes house? I thought they lived next door? And weren’t Michael and Maude bequeathed the house? So why are they letting the Aspenalls in?

8) ‘Hope grunted an assent’
New paragraph. Different person.

9) ‘a nude yet thankfully out of focus Prince’
should be ‘a nude, yet thankfully out-of-focus, Prince’

10) ‘ill will’
hyphen

11) ‘as Hope began belligerently.

“What the’

should be ‘as Hope began belligerently, “What the’

12) ‘several lustful step nearer’
‘step’ should be ‘steps’

13) ‘Faith rolled eyes and’
should be ‘Faith rolled her eyes and’

14) ‘ “Come here’
New paragraph

15) ‘Prudence wiped her hands’
New paragraph

16) ‘carefully cocked’
I’d hyphenate this

17) ‘had quite simply forgotten to do so’
This could be misread to mean that he had quite simply forgotten to drill into another man’s face. It might be better putting something like ‘had quite simply forgotten to cauterize it at all’

18) ‘ “Ah now’
should ‘now’ be ‘noo’?

19) ‘large popping eyes’
comma after ‘large’

20) ‘Mr. Macdonald, still smiling’
New paragraph

21) ‘true born’
hyphen

22) ‘an arm around either one of them’
possibly ‘an arm around each of them’ might be better. ‘either one’ makes it sound as though she’s choosing just one of them, as in ‘either one or the other’

23) ‘said philosophically, “if we coom’
should be ‘said philosophically. “If we coom’

24) ‘Mrs Mcloud said watching’
comma after ‘said’

25) ‘replied, “foor th’Anglish’
should be ‘replied. “Foor th’Anglish’

26) ‘Mrs Maginnes’s house’
Previously you’ve written Maginnes’s as Maginnes’, which is actually more correct, so I’d stick with it.

27) ‘Prudence said lazily’
full-stop after ‘lazily’

28) ‘been too pleased’
comma after ‘pleased’

29) ‘short supply too’
comma after ‘supply’

30) ‘and interrupting in the process her sister who’
should be ‘and interrupting, in the process, her sister, who’

31) ‘Peter sought succor’s eye’
This should be a new paragraph
Unless it’s meant to say, ‘Peter sought Socorro’s eye’, then it’s lost me, I’m afraid.

32) ‘Bloody hell, what?’
Very British, what? But I think it would be better as ‘Bloody hell. What?’

33) How did they know it was Faith who called the conference? It was Prudence who summoned them.

34) ‘to do about the gold’
comma after ‘gold’

35) ‘Joy stood in the middle’
New paragraph

36) ‘else could it be?’ ’
You have a single quotation mark after the question mark (Actually, I think it might be an apostrophe). This needs to be a double quotation mark.

37) ‘Prudence dear’
comma after ‘dear’

38) ‘One whole year’
I’m not sure what this is referring to? Mrs Maginnes hasn’t been dead a whole year. She died only two weeks before Socorro arrived and she’s only been there a matter of weeks – hasn’t she? If it was a year, people would have stopped looking for the gold long since. Oops. Got it. (After reading on for several paragraphs while I puzzled over this). Joy hasn’t been mentioned for so long I’d forgotten about her sculpture. Maybe she could look up from the severed arm still held in her hands? That might clue us back in to what she’s referring to.

39) ‘glance reader’
I’d hyphenate, for ease-of-reading.

40) ‘sake,” she cried’
full-stop after ‘cried’

41) ‘it was God’
full-stop after ‘God’

42) ‘Of all the ingratitude, I never,” they heard. The door swung shut’
I’m presuming that ‘I never’ isn’t the end of Prudence’s sentence? In which case it might be better to say, ‘Of all the ingratitude. I never - ” The door swung shut’

43) ‘All sisters whipped’
should be ‘All the sisters whipped’

44) ‘and snapped ‘What?” as if the’
should be ‘and snapped, “What?” as if the’

45) ‘You know,” he added, looking at Socorro, “the Communist one?” She nodded’
should be ‘You know,” he added, looking at Socorro. “The Communist one?” She nodded’
or ‘You know the Communist one?” he added, looking at Socorro. She nodded’. It depends on whether he’s reminding Socorro, or informing her along with everyone else.

46) ‘another Cleopatra, bathing in asses milk’
should be ‘another Cleopatra bathing in asses’ milk’

47) ‘morality please’
comma after ‘morality’

48) ‘he murmured’
Full-stop after ‘murmured’

49) ‘come true too’
comma after ‘true’

50) ‘Peter nodded’
New paragraph

51) ‘ “I told them I was’
New paragraph

52) All Socorro’s stuff is at Mrs Maginnes’ house, yet she seems quite happy to wander off to the Aspenall’s house and leave strangers wandering through ‘her’ house. Isn’t she worried about theft, or that they might poke through her things? After all, if they’re that keen on finding the gold, they’ll search everywhere and everything.

53) ‘the r’s a ‘trilling’
should be ‘the r’s a-trilling’

54) ‘The two older’
new paragraph

55) ‘The two women sagged’
new paragraph

56) ‘Socorro watched with’
New paragraph

57) ‘in Parliament, the other day’
remove comma

58) ‘She was Mrs Maginnes’s sitter’
should be Mrs Maginnes’
I thought she ‘is’ Mrs Maginnes’ sitter? If she’s still staying at Mrs Maginnes’, then it should be ‘She is Mrs Maginnes’ sitter’ (or maybe ‘She is Michael and Maude Macginnes’ sitter’)

59) ‘do you dearie’
comma after ‘you’

60) ‘murmured, “so kind’
should be ‘murmured, “So kind’

61) ‘dreamy golden-eyed’
comma after ‘dreamy’

62) ‘never ending’
hyphen

63) ‘cigarette laden’
hyphen

64) ‘Guerric grinned.’
New paragraph. Actually, they should be part of the next paragraph, where he speaks.

65) ‘trespassing private property’
In NZ, we would say ‘trespassing on private property’, but maybe it’s different where you are.

66) ‘Mrs Maginnes’s walls’
should be Mrs Maginnes’. It might pay to do a word search and change all these. I won’t point any more out as there seem to be quite a few.

67) ‘cigarette cradling’
hyphen

I’m not sure I’ll have time for more today. I’ll try to get onto Ch 5 tomorrow.

Sue




CarolinaAl wrote 706 days ago

I read your first three chapters.

General comments: An entertaining start. Clever premise. Socorro is a fiesty central character. Fresh humor. Vivid imagery. Powerful sense of place. Simmering tension. Smooth pacing.

Specific comments on the first chapter:
1) "Och, aye deerie, 'tis eesie," the old woman answered. Comma after 'aye.' When you address someone in dialogue, offset their name or title with commas. There are more cases in this chapter where you address someone in dialogue, but didn't offset their name or title with commas.
2) 'Regardless, the place made her feel distinctly morose.' Try to avoid using the verb 'feel.' Just describe her moroseness so vividly the reader will experience it along with Socorro. When you do this, the reader will be pulled deeper into your story.
3) ' ... controlling the bleakness that threatened to overwhelm her ... ' This is 'telling' me that she is experiencing 'bleakness.' Consider 'showing' the onset of her bleakness and it building to overwhelming proportions.
4) ' ... battling down her sentiments of loneliness and despair.' This is also 'telling.' If you want these emotions to register with the reader, consider showing them so realistically the reader will experience them along with Socorro.
5) I had to look up 'supre-evident' and couldn't find it defined anywhere. As a result, I have no idea what it means. Consider using a simpler word.
6) "Girls," Fith said warningly, pulling a long, blond strand of hair away from her forehead ... Blond = male. Blonde = female. Even when used as an adjective.

Specific comment on the second chapter:
1) The first sentence of this chapter is very long. Is this intentional? If not, consider breaking it up. Most readers can only hold so many dependent clauses in their mind before they all blur.

Specific comments on the third chapter:
1) "Maybe they'll bring it back. She was 72." Spell out numbers 1-99. There is another case in this chapter where you should spell out the number.
2) ' ... pushing the tabloid back into her sisters hands as if ... ' Sisters (plural) should be sister's (possessive).
3) "Thank god," Joy murmured. Capitalize 'god.'
4) "It's hampering you psychic development." 'You' should be 'your.'
5) "You!" A high, female voice screamed from the open doorwar. 'A' should be lowercase.

I hope these comments help you further polish your all important opening chapters. These are just my opinions. Use what works for you and discard the rest.

Would you please take a look at "Savannah Oak" and let me know how I might improve it?

Have a marvelous day, Maeve.

Al

Ruth2904 wrote 706 days ago

You have a unique style of writing here. Very enjoyable but in places too many adjectives used. But apart from that a good read. I tend to read the story as it is and don't look at punctuation issues. Enjoyed it very much.

Goonerpat wrote 706 days ago

I'm sorry, but I cant get into what you say is humour. too many meaningless, long winded descriptive words that takes away the flow needed in a humourous book. Unless the reader lives for every word and actually has a dictionary to quickly understand the meaning of some words, this book is for dons and post graduates of English literature.
Pat

M. E. Harrow wrote 707 days ago

I love the Shakespearean beginning, it really sets the book apart and made me sit up straight away.
And you characters are great, as good as the Bard.
Only 1 critique: for me you use the word 'she' an awful lot. In the third paragraph after III Socorro becomes morose there are 7 'she's in 3 and a half lines. Just a thought.
All in all a very charming read.

kokako wrote 707 days ago

Hi Maeve,

I can’t get a critique from you under false pretences. As you never replied to my request, I had assumed you weren’t keen on a read-swap, but as you’ve now come back telling me you owe me a read, I thought I’d better make sure that you really do. Consequently, I’m fulfilling (some of) my end of the bargain and giving you a critique of (some of) Mrs Maginnes is Dead. I’ve seen a few of your comments on other people’s books and been very impressed by the detailed critiques you have carried out. Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to apply that level of insight to your book in return for what I’m hoping you will do for mine. What I can do, however, is give you the nitty-gritty, line-by-line editing and comments. So far, I’ve done this for the first 3 chapters. There’s quite a lot here, so I thought I’d stop and get some indication from you as to whether it’s the sort of critique you’re wanting before I continue. If it’s what you’re after, then I’m very happy to do more. Just let me know.

Please, when reading this, remember that these are just my opinions and I’m not an expert. Feel free to keep what you like and discard the rest.

Ch 1

1) Sentence beginning, ‘Glaring balefully at the rain’
This sentence is so overloaded with adjectives that it’s hard to follow. Maybe remove a few? Perhaps put something like, ‘Glaring balefully at the driving rain, she shifted the four-ton suitcase to her left hand and stepped into the farcically slight shelter of the graffiti-covered bus-stop standing before the Pakistani-run supermarket.’ This seems to be the only sentence that you’ve loaded this way, so I think a judicious prune would bring it back into line with the rest of the narrative and allow the story to flow from the start.

2) ‘the bus that roared with distinct enthusiasm through’
commas after ‘roared’ and ‘enthusiasm’

3) ‘grey looking’
hyphenate

4) ‘hand waving’
hyphenate

5) ‘God given’
hyphenate

6) ‘which drove back not only into Genesis and the Fall but the’
commas after ‘back’ and ‘Fall’

7) ‘could do was sing’
comma after ‘sing’

8) ‘drearily, and whispered’
comma after ‘whispered’

9) ‘poorly lit’
hyphen

10) ‘and utterly out of sorts.’
Put the next sentence on a new line.

11) ‘murmured, “thank you,” controlling’
‘thank’ should have a capital ‘t’

12) line beginning, ‘Prudence paused and gave…’
should be a new paragraph, as it’s talking about Prudence, not Socorro, who was speaking in the sentence before.

13) ‘Nothing,” Socorro said.’
As above – a new paragraph.

14) ‘Prudence smiled kindly’
As above

15) ‘broken down’ (two in the same paragraph)
hyphen

16) ‘soon to be understood as customary’
I would be inclined to hyphenate all of this

17) ‘deep dark dens’
comma after ‘deep’

18) ‘magnificently crinkled’
comma after ‘crinkled’

19) ‘which, while somewhat less than…’
Okay, you’ve lost me here. I’m assuming you’re referring to the differences between Scottish and English soil? If so, ‘is certainly’ should be ‘are certainly’. If you’re referring to something else, then my apologies. I’m lost.

20) ‘The hair did that’
This is great, except that I’ve always thought Scotland was considered to be the land-of-the-red-hair, so are they really going to be that impressed?

21) ‘Prudence obfuscated’
I love it. Highly descriptive.

22) ‘Prudence looked at her’
should be a new paragraph.

23) Paragraph beginning, ‘ “What?” Socorro said’
Just my opinion, of course, but I would suggest you make each of these sentences a single paragraph. They’re all from different perspectives, anyway, (so probably ought to be separate paragraphs), and I think it would give them more impact.

24) ‘much beloved’
hyphen

25) ‘dearly departed’
hyphen

26) Paragraph beginning “The door to the now defunct’
Again, split into three separate paragraphs.

27) ‘long, blond strand’
Faith is female, so her hair is ‘blonde’

28) ‘And my favourite’
remove comma after ‘favourite’

29) ‘piss off Faith’
comma after ‘off’

30) ‘Socorro spoke with a surprising’
should be on a new line.

31) ‘Prudence sighed.’
new paragraph

32) ‘intense looking’
hyphen

33) ‘like cool breeze on a hot’
should be ‘like a cool breeze on a hot’

34) ‘ “when has anyone’s death’
capital ‘w’ for ‘when’

35) ‘Hope wailed’
comma after ‘wailed’

36) ‘counting off the first finger, ”I, I suppose’
full-stop after ‘finger’
The quotation marks are close quotation marks where they should be open ones. I can’t tell, but this suggests that there isn’t a gap between the comma and the quotation marks.

37) ‘counting the second finger, “and they all’
full-stop after ‘finger’
capital ‘a’ for ‘and’

Ch 2

1) ‘found herself less than half an hour later standing’
commas after ‘herself’ and ‘later’

2) ‘pews that lead’
‘lead’ should be ‘led’

3) ‘recycled coffin laying’
‘laying’ should be ‘lying’

4) ‘of the priest, round-faced’
this makes it sound as though the ‘round-faced’ applies to Faith.
‘of the round-faced priest’ would be better

5) ‘We thand’
should it be ‘We thtand’?

6) ‘that the would be’
‘the’ reads as ‘the’ here. What about ‘thhe’? That brings the spelling in line with all the other lisped words and makes people think twice before reading it as ‘the’

7) ‘athee’
this ought to be ‘athea’

8) ‘we thand lotht’
‘thand’ should be ‘thtand’

9) ‘thitherth’ (twice in the paragraph)
should be ‘thithterth’

10) ‘thed’
should be ‘thhed’, as for ‘the’

11) ‘weaketh’
should be ‘weaketht’

12) ‘thorth’
Not sure what this word is. Should it be ‘thortth’?

13) ‘or sing it’
should be ‘or ‘sing it’

14) ‘Socorro whispered, “is that why’
should be ‘Socorro whispered. “Is that why’

15) ‘at school, you know?’
I think it reads better without the question mark (especially with ‘she said’), but that’s very much personal opinion.

16) ‘weaketh of thorth’
should be ‘weaketht of thortth’

17) ‘thill’
should be ‘thtill’, otherwise it can be read as ‘he sill loves us’

18) ‘thithter, the’
make ‘the’ ‘thhe’, for ease of reading.

19) ‘the, too’
make ‘the’ thhe’

20) ‘Mrs. Janith’
‘Mrs’ should be ‘Mth’, based on what you have previously written.
But ‘Mth’ sounds like he’s saying ‘Ms’. I would be inclined to spell it out ie ‘Mithith’. I can’t see Father Thomas calling her Miz when she’s known as Missus, so I wouldn’t use the abbreviation.

21) ‘falsetto chanting’
comma after ‘falsetto’

22) ‘hearth’
should be ‘heartth’. A hearth is something in a fireplace.

23) ‘and roared; “we lift them’
should be ‘and roared, “We lift them’

24) ‘stained glass’
hyphen

25) ‘eye balls’
one word

Ch 3

1) ‘son’s heroine habit’
Unless he has a habit of dressing up as a heroine or something, ‘heroine’ should be ‘heroin’

2) ‘metaphor users’
hyphen

3) ‘with several somewhat or at least apparently psychotic’
commas after ‘somewhat’ and ‘apparently’

4) ‘scream, ‘ah me! What shall I’
‘ah’ should be ‘Ah’

5) ‘and asked: “don’t you think’
should be ‘and asked, “Don’t you think’

6) ‘beyond all measure, “you’re not giving the poor thing’
should be ‘beyond all measure. “You’re not giving the poor thing’

7) ‘Oh dear. I believe’
comma after ‘Oh’

8) ‘her son, Guerric,” Faith said acerbically, “they can’t’
should be ‘her son, Guerric,” Faith said acerbically. “They can’t’

9) ‘Maude’s coming too’
comma after ‘coming’

10) ‘a total a ten feet’
should be ‘a total of ten feet’

11) ‘looking all the world like’
I would say ‘looking for all the world like’

12) ‘taunt-faced’
should be ‘taut-faced’

13) ‘several taunt, deliberative’
‘taunt’ should be ‘taut’

14) ‘to feel superior of’
‘of’ should be ‘to’

15) ‘her sisters hands’
should be ‘her sister’s hands’

16) ‘mechanically minded’
hyphen

17) ‘autumn of 79’
should be ‘autumn of ‘79’

18) ‘the double dance of four feet’
hyphen before ‘the’ and after ‘feet’

19) ‘flicker of the nostrils, to catch’
remove comma

20) ‘Prime-Minster’
should be ‘Prime-Minister’, I’m assuming. I doubt they’d take a cathedral into their house, even a prime one.

21) ‘Good thing too’
comma after ‘thing’

22) ‘star gazing’
hyphen

23) ‘was a Capricorn too’
comma after ‘Capricorn’

24) ‘draped by London-town’
full-stop after ‘London-town’

25) ‘every day’
one word

26) ‘uncertain looking’
hyphen

27) ‘by thos bleedin’ girls’
Is ‘thos’ deliberate, or should it be ‘those’? It seems a bit odd.

28) ‘Joy studied her fingernails’
This is fine, except Grace is busy biting hers, so it just sounds a little repetitious. Maybe she could study her cuticles?

29) ‘the background of apathy’
comma after ‘apathy’

30) ‘round out the experience, and’
remove comma

31) ‘The little boys tittered.’
New paragraph

32) ‘ “Oi!” he cried again, more vehemently.’
New paragraph

33) ‘if you will by its so studied ignorance their’
commas after ‘will’ and ‘ignorance’

34) ‘pranced with an almost feline grace to’
commas after ‘pranced’ and ‘grace’

35) ‘open mouthed’
hyphen

36) ‘and said ‘sorry pal’. That’
should be ‘and said, ‘Sorry, pal.’ That’

37) ‘and murmuring’
comma after ‘murmuring’

38) ‘and called out; “girls, surround’
should be ‘and called out, “Girls, surround’

39) ‘moments of their lives) while’
comma after ‘lives)’

40) ‘late blooming’
hyphen

41) ‘said, “someone fiddled with’
capital ‘s’ for ‘someone’

42) ‘Joy snarled, “after all we’
should be ‘Joy snarled. “After all we’

43) ‘she said righteously’
full-stop after ‘righteously’

44) ‘Faith shrugged.’
New paragraph

45) ‘about four years ago, just after her husband’
should be ‘about four years ago. Just after her husband’

46) ‘traded likes futures’
should be ‘traded like futures’

47) ‘before I die, please!’
Just a thought, but I think this would be more effective as ‘before I die. Please!’

I can see why this is doing so well. It’s beautifully written and very entertaining. Your command of language is superlative. I just hope this critique has been of some use to you.

Sue