by Olivia (call me Livie) Greyson from THE COOKIE CUTTER SHOP MYSTERIES by Virginia Lowell
I am pleased to report that we haven’t had a murder in Chatterley Heights in months! I’ve stopped hyperventilating every time my cell phone rings in the middle of the night or Deputy Cody’s huge black Labrador howls outside my bedroom window. My life is once again filled with cookie cutters, delicious cutout cookies, royal icing in eye-popping colors, and (if I’m lucky) receipts to reconcile at the end of the workday.
Meanwhile, my best friend and business partner, Maddie Briggs, is spinning like a carrot-topped tornado as she plans her upcoming wedding. Maddie thrives on activity and excitement, and she’s getting plenty of it right now.
Life is calmer for me, but Maddie seems to think that’s a problem. According to Maddie, I’m unhappy with the current uneventfulness of my life. She insists I’ve been “listless, unproductive, and a bit cranky.” Maddie thinks I’m addicted to the excitement of solving crimes and depressed because our town is currently crimeless. I pointed out that while I might seem nearly comatose compared to her, I’m bubbling inside with contentment, and I’m not the least bit cranky. Maddie said, “Uh huh.” Then she decorated another six dozen cookies and cleaned the kitchen while performing musical numbers from Fame.
Okay, maybe I am a bit cranky. I don’t like to admit that investigating a crime revs my motor, but it does. At the same time, I don’t want to close The Gingerbread House and become a private investigator, even if Maddie joined me. How could I face the morning without the aroma of lemon sugar cookies baking in the store kitchen? And what about my beloved cookie cutters? I couldn’t abandon my cookie cutters! I’d worry about them.
No, I’m happy where I am. I suspect the charge I get out of investigating has more to do with living in a small town, where we all know each other. Murders occurred too frequently while I lived in Baltimore, but I only read about them in the newspaper. In Chatterley Heights, murder gets personal. Even if I don’t know the victim very well, I’m likely to know the suspect. And there’s a fair chance the accused will be a friend or even a family member. It happens. Plus I’m dating the Chatterley Heights sheriff, so there’s that, too. I can’t help but care about the folks in my town. (Of course, there are irritating people, like our mail carrier, Snoopy Sam. I’m not so fond of him. Still, if Sam were accused of murder and asked for my help, I might find it tough to turn him down.)
That’s the thing about small towns. Hatreds can run deep because we see each other all the time, but most of us try to get along, at least on the surface. Sometimes we even wind up caring about someone we don’t really like. Take Snoopy Sam, for instance. Yes, he’s a gossip, and some of my customers think he steams open their mail, but Gwen and Herbie told me that Sam donates regularly to Chatterley Paws, their no-kill animal shelter, and he’s even thinking of adopting a cat.
Okay, be honest with me. Do you think I keep getting involved in murder investigations because I need more excitement in my life? Or is Maddie just maniacally hyperactive?
The fourth book in the COOKIE CUTTER SHOP series, ONE DEAD COOKIE, arrives in bookstores July 2. Meanwhile, visit Virginia Lowell at www.virginialowell.com and watch for a few hints in the next two posts!