by Olivia Greyson, purveyor of all things cookie and pursuer of killers.
From THE COOKIE CUTTER SHOP MYSTERIES, by Virginia Lowell.
Visit Maddie and me in Cookies and Scream, our latest sleuthing adventure.
In case we haven’t met, I’m Livie Greyson, owner of The Gingerbread House, an enchanting store specializing in anything and everything even remotely related to decorated cookie creation. My best friend, Maddie Briggs, is also my business partner, although her true talent is baking and decorating cutout cookies.
I love my job. I really do. But sometimes I need to remind myself to stop and smell the lemon sugar cookies. Those moments have been frequent lately. I won’t bother you with the details. Suffice it to say that Binnie has done it again.
But never mind Binnie right now.
It’s Sunday, so the store is closed. I awakened early from a nightmare, so I escaped downstairs to my favorite place on earth—The Gingerbread House. Maddie was already busy baking in the kitchen. A citrus scent drifted under the door and into the sales area. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Not lemon… orange? The cookie cutter mobiles hanging from the ceiling tinkled softly as the heat kicked on. This is the life.
Through the kitchen door I heard Maddie’s tone-deaf, yet enthusiastic voice singing along to her ear buds, followed by the cozy whirring sound of the electric mixer. Then silence and the creaking of—
“Livie? Are you sleepwalking? Never mind, come on in. Have a cookie.” Maddie held the kitchen door open. “What are you doing up so early?”
“Nightmares,” I said as I entered a warm, citrusy cloud. “Maddie, is that plain orange flavoring? It smells so rich.”
“It’s Grand Marnier flavoring,” Maddie said. “Only the most exotic for our customers. Try one. It’ll be breakfast time in a couple hours… close enough.”
I nibbled on the heavenly cookie and felt my nightmares and my frustration with Binnie melt away. “This is the life,” I said. “The Gingerbread House, baking and decorating cookies, selling cookie cutters…”
“Plus a little excitement now and then,” Maddie said.
“I’ve had enough excitement,” I said. “Solving a murder mystery is intriguing, but then I have nightmares. I’m ready for a quiet, peaceful life spent doing what I love to do. No more bodies left on our porch, no more—”
“Not me,” Maddie said. “Not that I’m in favor of murder, you understand. I feel good about helping to bring a murderer to justice. And I certainly wouldn’t like it if someone I cared about got murdered. It’s just that I get bored with too much peace and quiet. And there’s nothing like a mystery to shake things up and get my neurons buzzing.”
What about you? Are you more like Livie or Maddie? What if you found a body on your porch…?
Submitted By Virginia Lowell
Virginia Lowell is the author of COOKIE DOUGH OR DIE, A COOKIE BEFORE DYING, WHEN THE COOKIE CRUMBLES, ONE DEAD COOKIE, and COOKIES AND SCREAM.
Visit Virginia at www.virginialowell.com