Tuesday Welsh, a witty and tenacious private investigator whose life takes an unexpected turn when she stumbles upon the lifeless body of Eric Kenny, owner of Mr. Yummy's donut shop. Yet, upon going to the home of Eric Kenny, she finds him standing in the doorway, ready to greet her.
Cookin' Up Murder
Davidson & Welsh Investigations Book One
by D.J. Adamson
Genre: Cozy Mystery
“Neither snow nor hunky cops nor angry cats will keep intrepid P.I. Tuesday Welsh from the (sometimes tardy) commission of her appointed rounds, chiefly trying to figure out why the body she discovered shows up alive and kicking elsewhere. “Cookin’ Up Murder” offers a delightful demonstration of how small towns can cook up big problems, with an ever-resourceful (despite herself) heroine as your guide.” – Michael Mallory.
I stepped out of the shower and suffered a chilly assault, sending a body shiver down my spine from my nipples to my toes. I quickly dried myself, swiftly slipping into my undies like a woman whose boyfriend’s wife just got home. Not that I would ever date a married man. A friend of mine discovered dating a married man wasn’t the best way to maintain a non-committed relationship. Especially if the man’s wife owned a gun.
Next. I stepped into a pair of black polyester slacks, grabbed a white, wrinkle-free, stain-resistant cotton blouse, and buttoned it. Unfortunately, I found I’d skipped a button and had to re-button it, this time starting from the bottom. Finally, I rescued my shoes from under the couch, where a gazillion dust bunnies attacked me. I toed on my shoes. When I glimpsed the clock, its hands pointed to eight-fifty-three. This meant I had a mere seven minutes to get to work. The office was at least ten minutes away.
“Before I leave, I want you to promise that you’ll open the office on time,” demanded Harley Davidson, my business partner, last Wednesday night.
“Why wouldn’t I?” I replied, pretending I didn’t already know the answer.
Harley stands at five-foot-ten, his green eyes framed by well-groomed eyebrows. His eyes hold a mischievous glint as if he harbors something known only to him. He might tower over me with his tousled reddish-brown hair, but he never truly poses a formidable threat. With me, his bark is always worse than his bite.
“Beats me why you’re never on time,” he sniffed. “I bet if you were called to save someone from jumping off a building, you’d arrive after the coroner.”
“Why is it a man jumping and not a woman?” I quipped, my eyes shooting daggers at him.
He scowled, thinking I wasn’t taking his last-minute to-do list seriously.
Harley Davidson and I have been business partners for three years at Davidson & Welsh Investigations. The decision to partner with him was an easy one. He possessed an unwavering sense of integrity, even when faced with tough choices. He is serious about business but has a quick wit that can help calm clients down.
But, I don’t like to-do lists.
So, I added, “And why was I the one called?” I couldn’t help being flippant because I wasn’t the one getting to go to Los Angeles.
“Ahhhhh,” he screamed, his hands gripping his hair like a man driven to madness.
I can cause that reaction sometimes.
“Okay, okay,” I quickly backed off and backed up, giving him some space. He clearly wasn’t in a joking mood. So, raising my right hand, I solemnly vowed, “I swear that the office will be unlocked, and the lights turned on ten minutes early every day.” I crossed my heart, but without hoping to die. A girl can only go so far.
“Hands,” he demanded.
I extended both of my hands, all fingers uncrossed, as a gesture of goodwill.
“Just be on time. That will be miracle enough,” he stated firmly, staring at me. But there was an upward curve on his lips. “On time and no Amazon shopping during office hours. I should get back by Saturday night.”
“Find new clients.”
“But…” I tried to protest again. No Amazon shopping? Christmas was on Monday!
I meant to be on time.
Only, it was going to be a close call this morning.
I scraped my Toyota Corolla’s windshield. Some ice, but not bad. I started the engine, and stepped on the gas pedal, causing the front tires to spin a bit before finding traction. If I hurried, I’d be close to keeping my promise.
Feeling good about keeping my promise to Harley, I then spotted the Mr. Yummy’s shop. A caricature of a large-bellied baker placed on the roofline, wearing a tall white hat and holding a tray filled with frosted donuts is hard to miss. On impulse, I turned into the parking lot, thinking, yummy, breakfast. “In and out fast,” I promised myself.
Getting out of the car, my stomach growled, craving a maple bar. I rushed to the front door. Pushed. But the door wouldn’t budge. I checked the neon sign in the upper part of the large front window, OPEN. Cupping my hands to prevent reflection, I peered into the store. The lights were on. Yet, squinting, I realized the display cases were empty of donuts. Sold out? Not likely.
With each passing minute, my lateness became more pressing, so I headed back to the car. Suddenly, I caught a whiff of something. Something’s on fire. Following my nose, I made my way around the shop to the back door, which was slightly ajar. Cautiously, I stuck my head inside and called out, “Anyone here?”
This wasn’t my first time at Mr. Yummy’s. In fact, I was a frequent customer and had gotten to know the owner, Eric Kenny. Upon entering the sweltering bakery, a repugnant stench made my nose itch and overwhelmed the fragrance of swizzling donuts.
Pallets stacked with cans of oil and cartons of Mr. Yummy’s mixes blocked a clear view. Moving further into the room, I saw a work counter with dough mounds covered in flour, rising. Just beyond there, a small collection of racks displaying donuts, waiting to be glazed.
“Hello? The front door is locked even though the sign says open,” I announced, thinking the owner wasn’t aware of the fact.
Then, I saw him. His arms were hugging a large stainless-steel tub, desperately trying to stop it from falling.
“Mr. Kenny?” I shouted, rushing over to him. His head floated on a vat of oil. His one visible eye, scorched yellow, had popped and stared straight at me.
“Eric!” I grabbed his shoulders and pulled back hard, hauling his head out of the vat. I continued pulling, bringing his body almost into a stand, where we both teetered.
“I can’t hold you,” I shouted, as if his injury caused deafness. For a moment he seemed to know someone was trying to help him. He stood. If I had been thinking clearly, I’d have recognized this was an anomaly, a slight moment when laws of physics hold before gravity takes over. But I wasn’t thinking. I was yelling, “You’re going to be okay,” trying to keep him standing. However, I couldn’t hold him. He was much too heavy. His body toppled to the floor, taking me down with him.
My encouragement changed to, “Help!”
The smell of his charred flesh invaded my nostrils, causing my stomach to churn. I gagged, pushed, and wiggled to free myself from underneath him. Finally, I yelled, innocently, but stupidly, “Get off me.”
Call it pure, straight-up terror.
I struggled to breathe, each breath triggering me to gag.
Holding my breath, I wiggled, scooted, pushed-- wriggled, scooted, and pushed some more, desperately trying to escape. But my 110-pound—possibly 120-pound body—couldn’t match his solid 200 pounds. However, somehow, I slid beneath his shoulder and arm, relieving the heavier weight of his chest and stomach. I crawled out from under him. Then I saw his white chef’s hat lying underneath the tub. And something else--donut dough?
I rushed to the sink and vomited.
D. J. Adamson is an accomplished author known for her captivating storytelling and engaging characters. She has established herself as a prominent figure in the world of mystery and suspense fiction. Her work draws inspiration from classic detective novels and contemporary thrillers. Adamson's literary journey began at a young age, and she continued the journey through her life, recently embarking on her work with novels and her exceptional ability to create immersive worlds and multifaceted characters. She developed her own unique style that combines elements of suspense, intrigue and psychological depth. Beyond her novels, Adamson has contributed to various literary journals and anthologies, sharing her insights and expertise with fellow writers and enthusiasts. Her work has gained a loyal following and her novels praised for their intricate plotting and masterful storytelling. When not immersed in the world of writing, Adamson enjoys the Central CA coast, traveling, and the outdoors. She also engages with her readers through various platforms, fostering a strong connection and appreciation for the support she receives from her dedicated fan base. Readers can connect with her through her website at www.djadamson.com.