The murder weapon in my third Gaston the Poodle mystery is a pie. Not just any old pie, but a Cherry Berry Peach Pie. My character, Beatrice, enters into a pie contest at the county Fair, but instead of winning a prize, her pie kills the judge. Dessert pies were invented by American housewives, and my character, Beatrice, is following a long tradition of pie baking. When I was growing up, no Sunday dinner was complete without one of Mom’s pies. She mastered the art of a perfect pie. Not only Mom, but all the church ladies at ice cream socials, baked delectable pies. Still warm from the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on the side, dissolving in your mouth like a piece of heaven. Beatrice’s pie could be no less.
I planned on a different topic for June but we needed to put down our beautiful cat a few weeks ago.
I wrote about him before. Friends of ours who are not cat owners didn’t understand why we would love a cat so much when he continually tried to run away the second a door was opened, who played Alpha Male with my husband and usually won by biting hard enough to draw blood, and drank from toilets and unattended wine glasses. There’s no explaining cat love.
Little did we imagine when we brought our five-year-old granddaughter back with us the first week of a supposed three-week lockdown in March that we would have her almost weekly for the next five months. When Aubrey started kindergarten that fall, I thought our sleep over visits would be confined to school vacations and an occasional weekend. The pandemic changed all that, unexpectedly for the better.
The murderer in my new mystery poisons the victim using a plant that can be found in a backyard garden or in the wild in southern Wisconsin. The poison will be slipped into a food that the victim ingests.
I’d like your help in selecting the perfect poison. The following survey is the result of my on-line research into the most poisonous plants. I’ll describe their effect on humans and the amount of time they take to kill. Hopefully my research has not placed me on the radar of any government agency! My husband is not presently concerned about the nature of my research.
I’m starting to write a third ‘Gaston the Poodle’ mystery. My cat, Sheldon, hones in on the computer whenever I sit down to write. He either takes a stroll across the key board, screwing up what I’ve just written, or tries to crawl on my lap for a nap. It’s hard to write with a twelve pound cat on your lap. I appreciate his enthusiasm for the written word but I could do without the tail, or other body parts, obstructing my view —as if writing isn’t difficult enough without the added aggravation.
During the pandemic I found it difficult, if not impossible, to write except for in my Book of Joy journal, a gift from a friend. The worst year of my life documented in such an ironic title. I filled the time in isolation with much reading and binge watching PBS series and Netflix. My husband and I did take long walks, often ending up at the nearby Riverside Park. We enjoyed experiencing the change of seasons in the park. Quite often, we were the only people there, especially in the first phase of the pandemic, when all the playgrounds were closed.
- Small Press Bookwatch: February 2021
- James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
- Midwest Book Review 278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575
- The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Synopsis: Professor Vlad Chomsky needs a break after saving the town of Crawford, Wisconsin from terrorists, and he knows exactly how to get the rest and relaxation he needs — a romantic Rhine River cruise with the lovely librarian Beatrice Krup.
Vlad imagines sharing his passion for history with Beatrice as they tour the castles, museums, and cathedrals of Germany, while spending warm spring evenings together watching the river glide by — without his ex-wife and kids, and especially without his elderly landlady Sandra Tooksbury, her friend and handyman Norm, and her feisty toy poodle, Gaston. Yes, Gaston helped Vlad save Crawford, but he doesn’t need a crowd watching (and offering advice) as he takes his relationship to Beatrice “to the next level.”
But Vlad has forgotten Norm and Sandra’s ability to show up just when they aren’t wanted and is dismayed when Sandra hoodwinks her way on board the cruise, Norm and Gaston in tow.
When Norm becomes the prime suspect in a diamond heist, Vlad’s hopes for a quite, romantic cruise are shattered. Will Gaston and the gang discover the real thief in time? And will finally have a chance to “pop the question” to Beatrice?
Critique: The sequel to author Jan Detrie’s novel “The Seven Ten Split” (9780998734200, $10.50 PB, $2.99 Kindle), “Glint In Her Ice” is another compelling mystery adventure that continues to showcase Detrie’s impressive flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling talents that keep and hold the reader’s rapt attention from first page to last. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that “Glint In Her Ice” is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
This is the second adventure of Vlad, Gaston the Poodle, and all of their friends. You can find out more about them in Jan Detrie’s first book, The Seven Ten Split.