To Whom It May Concern:
I’ve long been a great fan of your esteemed publishing house, and I’ve read at least one if not more of your many interesting murder-mystery series. My particular favorites are W.V. McGrath’s “Cooking Up Trouble” series about chef-turned-detective Lana Christos, and Sheila Plumley’s “Death at 10 MPH” series about a public bus driver who solves crimes from behind the wheel.
My current occupation—apartment building superintendent—allows me ample time to both read and write, and it occurred to me that you might be interested in a series of mystery novels that puts an ordinary superintendent in the spotlight.
What I gather from the tenants of my building is that most believe I’m up to something really creepy down here. When I try to make casual conversation, they shy away. They can’t be that busy—they’re home, not at work!—so I gather they’re unjustly suspicious of me for some reason. Am I too assertive in my conversational approaches? Maybe, but hey, I live alone down here, and at the end of the day I’m just looking for a little human interaction.
The twist, then, in my series would be that instead of the super being the creepy stalker/murderer everyone thinks he is, he’s actually the hero—using his acute powers of observation to help the police solve crimes! If nothing else, I would think the country’s thousands of frustrated superintendents will be an automatic audience for this series.
I’m enclosing a draft of the first novel in the series: Bloody Boiler Room. It introduces our protagonist, Larry Picarelli, a 55-year-old man whose potbellied appearance belies the fact that he used to be a Navy SEAL and can kill a man in any of 92 different ways without using a weapon. As the first novel opens, Picarelli finds a stunningly beautiful young female tenant stabbed to death in the boiler room of his building.
Of couse all the tenants assume Picarelli was the murderer, just because he’s generally kind of creepy and the deceased had been complaining to her roommates about how he was always trying to get her to come sing along while he played classic ballads on his Casio keyboard (he was classically trained). With the help of his Navy-trained fortitude and a steady stream of Busch Light, Picarelli fights the despair and digs for clues—literally digging, in the building dumpster—that he eventually pieces together to discover that the killer was in fact the woman’s douchey boyfriend, of whom Picarelli had been suspicious since he would always give bullshit reasons for not wanting to play one-on-one hoops at the adjacent park.
The book ends with Picarelli being hailed as the residents’ hero, and having everyone over for a karaoke night in his apartment. The last paragraph: “After everyone had left, Kaylee lingered. ‘Larry,’ she said, ‘I’m sorry I never talked with you before. I’ve always had—I’ll come right out and say it—a huge crush on you, but I didn’t want to tell my roommates, who all had this silly idea that you’re a creep. I’m glad we finally got to talk, but watching your fingers tickle those keys tonight made me think that maybe talking isn’t…enough. Do you understand what I mean?’ Picarelli understood perfectly. He shut the door, crushed the Busch Light can, and let Kaylee come to him. He knew he was violating the terms of his job contract, and he didn’t give a damn.”
See? He’s a classic hard-boiled detective in the mold of Philip Marlowe or Thomas Magnum. I’ve already written the next two books in the series: Circuit Breaker and The Sound of Gas Leaking. I’d be glad to send them at your request.
I’m prepared to negotiate a book contract personally; when I attempted to enlist a book agent, he was no help at all, suggesting that I might do better if I rewrote the books so that the superintendent actually was the murderer. I don’t know—actually, do you think that could work? It would be one of those sexy-killer things, like American Psycho or Dexter. Maybe I’ll start working on that. After all, I’ve got nothing but time!
Looking forward to hearing from you.