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by Maddie Briggs, Olivia Greyson’s intrepid sidekick in THE COOKIE CUTTER SHOP MYSTERIES, by Virginia Lowell.
So here I am in the kitchen of The Gingerbread House, baking and decorating cookies—orange cutout cookies, to be precise—to put out in the store when it opens. What else would I be doing at 4 a.m.? Sleeping? So boring.
I love living in a small town. I can hop out of bed in the middle of the night and zip over here in five minutes without fearing for my safety. Granted, we’ve had a murder or several in town lately, but I’m sure that’s just a freakish anomaly caused by moon spots or something. Life will soon settle down to the ordinary weirdness we’ve come to expect in little Chatterley Heights.
Speaking of weirdness, have you had a chance to meet one of our newer citizens, Lenora Tucker Boucherbein (stage name: Lenora Dove)? Actually, she was born in Chatterley Heights, but she left for Hollywood decades ago, when she was eighteen. She married a Hollywood producer, and I guess she was in a few movies. I haven’t actually heard of them, and I can’t find them mentioned anywhere online. Lenora is widowed now. Good old Bertie Boucherbein left her penniless, so she has returned to her hometown to live with (okay, mooch off) her nephew and his wife.
I’ll admit Lenora is a bit full of herself, and I do get annoyed when she babbles about her tiny appetite while she stuffs our free cookies into her gigantic handbag. On the other hand, she tells such fascinating stories about Hollywood in the old days. Plus Lenora has definitely upped the town’s quirkiness quotient.
The other day, Lenora dropped by the store—for a dozen or so free cookies, as usual—and she told Livie and me about these hunky Hollywood guys who, she claimed, are really good friends of hers. She hinted she might invite them to visit Chatterley Heights one of these days. Not that I’d be interested; I’m engaged to the hunkiest guy on the planet. (And between you and me, we are starting to discuss wedding dates.)
Lenora likes to feel important, and she doesn’t mind mangling the truth, but it would be such a kick if she really did entice a Hollywood actor to visit Chatterley Heights. We could use a bit of excitement that doesn’t involve murder. I mean, we have definitely surpassed our murder quota! We’re due for some non-deadly fun, right?
Excuse me a sec while I crack open the oven door and check on a sheet of cookies. Yep, they are done to perfection, just barely browning on the edges. And wow, the kitchen smells like orange blossoms! Lemon and orange are my two favorite cookie flavors. I’m afraid I might be overusing them, though. I need to expand my palette of taste sensations. What is your favorite cookie flavor? I’m open to any suggestions, preferably ones that don’t involve arsenic!
Look for ONE DEAD COOKIE, the fourth book in the COOKIE CUTTER SHOP series, on July 2! ONE DEAD COOKIE can be preordered from Amazon. Meanwhile, visit Virginia Lowell at www.virginialowell.com