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Pitch Wars Showcase

Please note: These are the entries for the Pitch Wars season beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022. Please note that our Agent Showcase ends at 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday, February 14, 2022. Agents will not be able to leave comments requesting material after that time.
PW2019 MG #14: BACKWATER GUMSHOE (Humorous Mystery)
Cheryl Caldwell
Mentored by:
Kit Rosewater and Ash Van Otterloo
Book Title:
2019 Entries
Humorous mystery
Word Count:


After her parents' recent divorce, Shoes McIvey, the eleven-year-old Private Investigator Extraordinaire, will do anything to keep her 100% case-cracking record intact. But when the money needed to save the Florida Keys sea-turtle hospital is stolen, Shoes discovers her father isn’t the only life-ruining kumquat in her inner-circle and justice isn’t always as easy as pointing fingers at your sworn enemies.




TROUBLE SKIDS INTO the Florida Keys by way of a bike-brake squealing tire-slide that stops a turtle’s hair before slamming into the tree in my front yard.

“You gotta help me!” Mak peers through the branches, twisting this way and that. “Shoes? You up there?”

Shoes. That’s me. Even though my real name is Jennifer, no one calls me that. Ever. Unless I’m in trouble.

No one calls me Margaret Millicent McIvey, Private Investigator Extraordinaire, either. No matter what I do.

I even painted it on the sign nailed to the trunk of my tree—which, coincidentally, has a nickname of its own: tourist tree. We call them that because their bark turns red and peels just like all the sunburned tourists around here. It’s really a gumbo-limbo tree, and if you ask me, that sounds made-up enough already.

Margaret Millicent McIvey, Private Investigator Extraordinaire. Altogether a proper name for a high-quality detective worthy of the old black-and-white movies Grams and I watch when Mom’s at work. Smoky backroom. Feet on desk. Detective’s wrinkled face hidden in shadows. A detective who, like me, is the sworn enemy of dirtbags the world over. The name’s the best I can do, being as I’m eleven, I don’t smoke, and I don’t have a desk. Like I said, I have a tourist tree. My office is on the third branch up.

13 responses to “PW2019 MG #14: BACKWATER GUMSHOE (Humorous Mystery)”

  1. Lauren Spieller says:

    What a fun first page! I’d love to keep reading. May I please see the full manuscript + synopsis? It would also be great if you could include ‘Pitch Wars Request’ in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you! 

    Lauren Spieller, TriadaUS Literary Agency

  2. Alexandra Weiss says:

    Hi Cheryl! This sounds really fun and exciting! I’d love to read more. Please send the first 50 pages to me at http://queryme.online/AlexandraWeiss/PitchWars2019.

    Thanks so much!
    Alexandra Weiss
    The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

  3. Rena Rossner says:

    I’d love to take a look at the first 50 pages! Please send them attached as a word document to rena@thedeborahharrisagency.com


    – Rena Rossner

  4. Natascha Morris says:

    I want this. It feels like it could be a Veronica Mars for the MG group. Cheryl, I would love to see the full manuscript! Please upload to QueryMe.online/natascha/PitchWars.

    Natascha Morris
    BookEnds Literary

  5. Caitlen Rubino-Bradway says:

    I’d love to see more of this. Please send the full ms and a synopsis to crubinobradway AT lkgagency DOT com!

  6. Jennifer Unter says:

    Love your voice and this sounds like a great story – I’d like to read more! Please forward the first 50 pages as a Word attachment to jen.nadol (at) theunteragency (dot) com with PW Request in the subject line. Thanks!

  7. Sarah Landis says:

    I’d love to read the full manuscript! Could you email it to me at slandis@sll.com? Thanks so much!

  8. Christa Heschke says:

    I love so many things about this! One of my dreams as a kid was to be a marine biologist 🙂 Please send the full manuscript and query to chquery [at] mcintoshandotis [dot] com. Please put “Pitch Wars request” and the title in the subject line. Can’t wait to read!
    -Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

  9. Mollie Glick says:

    Hi Cheryl,

    This looks interesting! Could you send the full manuscript to mollie.glickasst@caa.com?

    Mollie Glick

  10. Karly Caserza says:

    Please query me at QueryMe.online/Karly/, place “PitchWars Request” before your title, and I’ll request a full upon receiving it.

    Excited to read. Thank you

  11. Melissa Nasson says:

    I’d love to see more of this! Please send the first 50 pages as a Word doc or PDF attachment to melissa@rpcontent.com with Pitch Wars in the subject line. Thank you!

    -Melissa Nasson, Rubin Pfeffer Content

  12. Chelsea Eberly says:

    I love your voice and the specificity of the setting (very TURTLE IN PARADISE). I’ve been looking for a good MG mystery, and I would love to see the full ms if you would send it to me with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line to: submissions (at) greenhouseliterary (dot) com. Thank you!

  13. I, too, always wished I had a better name. I’m already rooting for her and have to see more! Please send this pitch in the body of an email, synopsis and first fifty pages attached as a Word doc, with MG PITCHWARS and your title in the subject, to Jennifer@theseymouragency.com.