Catherine Bowdler – Upper MG Mystery – MOTH
I am currently seeking representation for my upper MG novel, Moth.
Home-educated Rosy, mute since her mother’s death, slowly discovers her voice with the help of a mysterious boy, young specimen hunter Iren, set against the backdrop of Oxford’s Natural History Museum.
Using the museum’s resources and her wits, Rosy embarks on solving the long-forgotten disappearance of a rare moth from Papua New Guinea, the Imperial Emerald, over a century ago.
But Iren is on the hunt too, and what begins as a psychological game with each other, quickly turns into an unlikely friendship.
As Rosy unravels the clues, delving deeper into the expedition’s murky past, they find their experiences, over a century apart, unite them, and cause buried memories to resurface.
But is Iren truly all he seems? When she discovers he’s been withholding crucial evidence from her all along, their friendship, and Rosy’s resolve, is put to the test. Crushed by events, Rosy crumbles, and has to face something she has avoided for too long: she has to talk about the accident that killed her mum.
Moth is a story about friendship, being lost and found, and emergence to new life.
Moth is complete at 47,500 words. The manuscript is available, in part or full, upon request. I am a #WriteMentee and a SCBWI member. Thank you for your time and consideration.
The first time I saw him he was riding the ichthyosaur, like he was one hundred percent confident he wouldn’t fall.
I looked back towards the suspended skeletons, twenty feet up, hanging from the cast iron and glass ceiling. He was casually balancing on the reconstructed model and watching the people below, the visitors peering into glass fronted display cases and parents rounding up small children.
Dad was rushing to the lecture room, weaving between tourists and the neo-gothic columns that held up the old museum. I hurried to catch him up and tugged on the end of his jacket.
‘What is it?’ he asked. ‘Can we do this later? I can’t be late.’
Nobody else saw him. They can’t have done. Or if they did, they weren’t bothered. Just how he’d got up there I had no idea. And I was pretty sure Oxford’s Natural History Museum didn’t have a sign saying please climb aboard the exhibits and probably kill yourself and crash into the twenty thousand year old mammoth below.
I tried to keep up with Dad, at the same time looking back, watching the boy, as the ichthyosaur swayed a fraction. He was older than me by a year or two I guessed. He had that cocky teenager thing about him, like he owned the place, like he didn’t care what anyone thought. Then he caught me staring. For a second he saw straight through me. When I didn’t look away, he squinted, his expression turned from relaxed to curious then serious, and then he doffed an imaginary cap in my direction. I turned away and bumped into a lady who tutted at me when I didn’t apologise.
I caught up with Dad as he entered the lecture room. The clock nearly said two. I strained to see around a pillar and the tall display cases towards the ichthyosaur, but when I glanced back once more, the skeleton rider was gone.
We were only five minutes into his lecture and already I’d slid down my seat and prayed it wouldn’t be like that for the whole half an hour. Dad kept forgetting what he wanted to say and checking his notes. I glanced around; people kept their gaze on the slides; I hoped they couldn’t detect the tremble in his hands as he aimed the PowerPoint clicker, the way he kept putting one hand in his pocket for no reason and pulling it out again. I decided not to come to the lecture hall again. From now on I’d stay behind the scenes in Dad’s office.
‘We have a few of these rare examples in the collection,’ he said, ‘on the second floor. Although of course, not all are on display, not the elusive Imperial Emer….’ He stopped himself.
My ears pricked up. Did he just almost say what I thought he almost said?