by Lenora Bouchenbein, temporarily retired actress, from THE COOKIE CUTTER SHOP MYSTERIES, by Virginia Lowell.
I’m sure we can all agree there is nothing more soul-stirring, more essential for the ultimate survival of civilization, than The Theater. Of course, you and I have the benefit of worldly experience, which is more than I can say for most of the inhabitants of Chatterley Heights. I consider it my duty to bring culture and enlightenment to my quaint and tiny hometown.
In case we haven’t met, I am Lenora Bouchenbein, though you probably know me as Lenora Dove, Hollywood star. As you may recall, I won acclaim for my lingering death scenes on several well-known daytime television shows. But that is now in the past. Following the death of my dear husband, the famed director Bernie Bouchenbein, I moved back to my childhood home to live with my nephew and his wife and baby.
Oh, I do so miss the thrill of Hollywood. We led such an exciting life, Bernie and I. We threw lavish parties, attended by the most fascinating people. And I was the toast of the horror film world!
I’m afraid Chatterley Heights is terribly provincial. Perhaps that sounds harsh, but really, this town could be the Hollywood of the East, if only people would listen to me. Because of our two local sleuths, Olivia Greyson and Maddie Briggs, I’ve had the most delicious idea. You see, Olivia’s mother, Ellie, wants to open an arts and crafts school, by which she means… well, you know, knitting and so forth. I’ve been trying to make Ellie understand that an Arts school—by Arts I mean the Theater, naturally—would draw far more visitors to town. Don’t you agree?
How I long to perform again! And I’m certain I could write the plays myself—that’s the easy part, isn’t it? Perhaps I’ll base my plays on the rather alarming number of murders we’ve experienced here in Chatterley Heights. I, naturally, would play the elegant female sleuth.
To make my dream come true, I need just one teensy favor from you. If you have a moment, would you leave a note for my author, Virginia, urging her to give me a meatier role in her next mystery? You see, actual sleuthing experience would be so helpful when I’m teach the acting classes at my… I mean Ellie’s… new school. I wouldn’t need to tackle the killer or anything. But perhaps I might provide the brilliant insight that reveals the killer’s identity? That would be such fun.
There, that’s all settled. Now I believe I’ll begin jotting down a few of my ideas. I should be able to complete a script in a day or two.
Thanks for your help, and do come for opening night!
The sixth book in the COOKIE CUTTER SHOP series, DEAD MEN DON’T EAT COOKIES, will be released on July 7! Meanwhile, visit Virginia Lowell at www.virginialowell.com