byOlivia (Livie) Greyson and Maddie Briggs, cookie mavens and crime fighters.
From THE COOKIE CUTTER SHOP MYSTERIES, by Virginia Lowell.
Visit them in Dead Men Don’t Eat Cookies.
Olivia Greyson, Maddie Briggs, and Ellie Greyson-Meyers had spent the last two hours sitting around the kitchen table in Olivia’s apartment, planning the grand opening of Ellie’s longed-for arts and crafts school. Olivia poured another round of strong coffee and sighed. “We’ve been planning for over an hour without sustenance,” she said. “I think it’s time to break out the cookies.” She opened a tin of tiny almond spritz cookies, and plopped it on the kitchen table.
Ellie’s pixie face lit up. “Oh, spritz cookies! They are lovely. Maddie, you truly are a baking genius, and I’m so glad you’ll be teaching at my school.”
“Hey!” Olivia arched an eyebrow at her mother.
“Livie, you are a brilliant business woman,” Ellie said. “Your decorated cookies are quite good, really.”
“Thanks, Mom,” Olivia said. “I think.”
“Now about the opening celebration, I do have some concerns.” Ellie sighed. “Well, one concern in particular.”
“Lenora and her penchant for wine.” Olivia refilled coffee cups. “I know you suggested not serving anything alcoholic, but how do we stop guests from bringing their own contributions? We’re likely to attract an artistic crowd, and you know what they’re like.”
“Now Livie, you and Maddie are artistic. I’ve seen you two imbibe your share of merlot.” Ellie softened her observation by patting her daughter’s hand. “Of course, you know when to stop. Lenora does not. And she is so very thin.” Ellie shook her head. “I really think we must ban all alcoholic beverages at the school’s grand opening.”
“That will be tough,” Olivia said. “It’s a celebration, after all.”
Ellie heaved a sigh worthy of a woman twice her weight. “Dear Lenora has invited a number of her old Hollywood friends.”
“Mom, how likely is it that her Hollywood friends, if they still remember her name, will trek to Chatterley Heights to attend the opening of an arts and crafts school?” Olivia glanced at Maddie for moral support and was surprised to see her best friend grinning. “Maddie?”
“I hope you all realize,” Maddie said, “that my cunning knows no bounds.”
“Yes, dear,” Ellie said, “of course we do.”
Olivia arched an eyebrow. “And your point is?”
“In a moment.” Maddie spun toward the kitchen cabinets, selected four small bottles from a shelf, and placed them in a row on the kitchen table. “Am I not brilliant?”
Olivia glanced at the table. “Extracts?” She scooped up the small bottles and read the labels. “Rum, Irish Cream, Orange Brandy, Crème de Menthe… Are you hoping flavored water will pacify Lenora and her sophisticated friends?”
Maddie rolled her emerald green eyes toward the kitchen ceiling. “Oh Livie… what is it that I create so brilliantly, if I do say so myself? Decorated cookies, of course. And really, who needs alcohol when there are luscious, alcohol-flavored, decorated cookies available? No one, that’s who. Trust me, the booze will never be missed. Plus, the cookies will attract potential students for my cookie-baking classes. Now, back to the question of my brilliance…?”
Ellie patted Maddie’s hand. “Of course you are brilliant, dear. But just to be safe, perhaps we should taste those alcohol-flavored cookies…several times. One can never be too thorough, can one?”
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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, COOKIES AND SCREAM, and DEAD MENT DON’T EAT COOKIES. Visit Virginia at: www.virginialowell.com