Scarlett in the Smoke (Watty Awards 2012)
Mariana Scarlett is an orphan, living with her best friend Andrew, and his parents, as their ward, in Victorian England. Her parents have recently died in a house fire, that she has few memories of, and she has no other family.
But she knows, something has got to change. Andrew's mother is trying to turn her into a wallflower, which is something she has never been. So Mare devises a plan...
She makes up a great aunt, who lives in London, and forges a letter to her guardians from said aunt. It asks that she be sent to London; When Mare is asked if she remembers this aunt, she lies and says yes, but that she didn't know where she lived.
Now given full access to her trust, she is sent to London, where she eventually rents an apartment, and poses as a man. Out of her apartment, she opens a "business", that she has read about: a detective agency, like that of one Mr. Holmes (her favorite literary character)
But, when she accidently runs into Andrew, and he recognizes her, things go slightly astray. And they get further astray when she gets a customer that jogs her memories from the night of the fire.
Memories of him, running from the burning building, after possibly have setting it on fire.
What will Mariana and Andrew find, when they start to pry into her family's past? Can she handle it? And mostly, will she ever find her way out of the smoke?