Murder, Marriage, and Money: Those three items were absent from my life a few years ago. That was before my best friend since age ten, Olivia (Livie) Greyson, returned to her hometown, Chatterley Heights, Maryland, with a divorce decree and a dream. Together, Livie and I opened The Gingerbread House, a wonderland of cookies, cookie cutters, and… well, everything cookie aficionados didn’t know they needed. The money isn’t exactly pouring in, but it sure beats my previous, sub-minimum wage job at a now-defunct bakery, where we peddled plain donuts and oatmeal cookies. On Saturdays, we sprinkled powdered sugar on the donuts and threw a handful of raisins into the cookie dough.
Now I’m chief cookie creator and decorator for The Gingerbread House. It’s the perfect job for me. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I tend to get enthusiastic. Also, I don’t need much sleep, and I often wake up early with a scrumptious idea for a cookie recipe. I may stumble over simple math, but when it comes to decorated cookies, I’m a creative genius. Or was that over the top? Anyway, I adore inventing new cookies recipes and decorating cutout cookies with wildly colored royal icing.
As if all that weren’t enough to make me deliriously happy, I’m about to marry Lucas Ashford. He owns Heights Hardware, right next door to The Gingerbread House. I’ve had a crush on Lucas forever, but nothing blossomed between us until Livie and I opened the store. Lucas is shy. I guess he didn’t notice me until I became the girl next door.
Between you and me, I do have one concern, and it’s a big one. I’m worried we might soon have a murder in Chatterley Heights. (No, I’m not planning to do away with anyone, but if I were, it would be Binnie Sloan, editor of The Weekly Chatter. When Binnie can’t dig up dirt on us, she makes it up.) I wouldn’t be so anxious if it weren’t for my upcoming wedding. Maybe I’m superstitious, but whenever we have an important event or a new arrival in Chatterley Heights, murder makes an appearance. And somehow Livie and I wind up in the thick of it.
It all started when a good friend of Livie’s was murdered. (Cookie Dough or Die) Livie was devastated. At first, the police thought Clarisse had killed herself, but Livie couldn’t believe that. Well, we had to get involved, of course. We got through that whole episode, which wasn’t easy, and we figured life would quiet down again. We figured wrong. A sugar-phobic, health-food nut, who severely tested my sunny disposition, opened a store next to The Gingerbread House. (A Cookie Before Dying) Pretty soon we, meaning Livie, found a body in the park. Coincidence? I’ll leave that to you to figure that out.
I’d love to say that murder has taken a break since then, but no such luck. Last fall, in the midst of Chatterley Heights’ two-hundred-fiftieth birthday celebration… you guessed it, we had another murder. Once again, Livie got sucked into the investigation—by the sheriff, no less! Livie and Sheriff Del Jenkins are an item, by the way. That’s just between you and me… and the entire town of Chatterley Heights.
You can see why I am, as they say, gun shy. I’m not one of those bridezilla types who demands a perfect wedding or else, but it would be nice to get through the ceremony in one piece. Although if anyone ruins the gorgeous dress my Aunt Sadie made for me, I’ll kill… um, never mind. I’m probably worrying for nothing. Hey, you should come to my wedding! It’ll be fun! I promise lots and lots of decorated cookies and—keep your fingers crossed—no dead bodies. Or did I just jinx my own wedding?
Thanks to Penguin, I have one (1) copy of ONE DEAD COOKIE to give away. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. Contest ends July 12; US entries only per publisher’s request.
Spend some time with Maddie Briggs and Livie Greyson as they solve another murder and bake lots of cookies in ONE DEAD COOKIE, the fourth book in the “Cookie Cutter Shop” mysteries. The book was released July 2. Join the fun and try the recipes!
Meet the author
You can visit and contact Virginia Lowell, author of the national bestselling Cookie Cutter Shop series, at www.virginialowell.com. The first book in the series is Cookie Dough Or Die. Virginia is hard at work on the fifth book in the series, as yet untitled; however, she promises a murder will be involved. And cookies.
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.