TITLE: Candy, Murder, and Me
GENRE: Cozy mystery
While munching on story-relevant candies and providing mouth-watering recipes, Cookie Berelli, dress designer for full-figured women and her dachshund, Sigmund Freud, investigate who killed her PI. When the murderer sets his sights on Cookie, she must race to get him before he gets her.
I should have sensed something was dreadfully wrong when my assistant squealed to a halt in the corridor of Florida Fashions at the entrance to my Queendom where I design the line for full-figured women, including me.
“Watch out, Cookie,” Eugene Gemstone warned me that warm February morning as he opened the door to my design studio for me. He's my assistant, number one fabric cutter, and barometer for strange and off-the-wall happenings. Ever since he wore one of the dresses I designed into the ladies’ room at Chez Riso and got arrested, he's been tuned into things gone awry.
Upon completion of 100 hours of community service for his indiscretion in the ladies' room by helping out Gretchen Peppercomb and her Pancake, Yoga, and 12-Step Program, I'd promoted him to my assistant.
“What now?” Visions of a disastrous spring line flooded my brain. My imagination had nothing on what I saw when I stepped inside. Streams of taffetas and silks unwound from their bolts. Tipped over, half-clothed steel-mesh design models lay on their sides next to knocked-over cutting tables.
“Somebody's been in here.” Trust Eugene to mention the obvious. He grabbed hold of a model on wheels and cradled it in his arms. “Be careful of Gladyce.” He loved the thing as if it were alive. She wore a silver satin dress he’d been begging me to let him borrow.
“I always watch out for Gladyce,” I said in a snippy voice. Disorganization always rattles me.