Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Cookin' Up Murder Tour and Giveaway

 


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 

"Cookin' Up Murder" is a lighthearted and captivating mystery set in Appleton, Oregon. The story revolves around Tuesday Welsh, a witty and a 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.

Tuesday is thrust into a web of secrets and danger that extends far beyond the sugary confines of the donut shop. As she delves deeper into the investigation, determined to unearth the truth, she finds herself entangled in a sinister plot that will shock her community. And possibly gain Davidson & Welsh a new client.

Filled with a blend of humor and suspense, "Cookin' Up Murder" is sure to captivate readers who enjoy mysteries. It offers an engaging puzzle that will keep readers guessing until the satisfying reveal of the culprit.


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.


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CHAPTER TWO


Having retched all I’d eaten for the last week, I staggered outside.  The chilling air hit me like an ice-packed glove, giving me a good cold slap to wake me up.  I raced to my car. “Where’s my phone?” I demanded of no one. In my tote, I found basic makeup, a Molly Cambridge mystery book with Julia Child as a main character, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Oreo cookies, and a can of Mountain Dew. I am no Julia Child. I’d considered making a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier. Since I'm not committed yet, I decided to enjoy all the unhealthy—but oh, so yummy foods.

The yummy thought rolled through my stomach, which dipped and climbed like a roller coaster with thoughts about eating. Finally, my fingers moved against something hard and thin.  There it is.  I tapped my iPhone, entered my log-in number, and dialed 911.

“Appleton Police.”

“I am at Mr. Yummy’s Donut shop on the corner of Pacific and Queen. I found the owner, Eric Kenny,  in the back of the shop. There’s been an accident.”

“Anyone hurt?” The operator asked as she repeated the name and address.

 “Yes. I think he’s dead.”

“Your name?

“Tuesday Welsh.”

The operator asked, “Can you get a pulse?” 

Pulse?  I didn’t check for a pulse. 

I should have checked for a pulse. 

He seemed to briefly stand on his own.  Could he still be alive? How could he still be alive with one side of his head charred so badly, and his eye scorched? I couldn’t get my feet to move to go back and check.

 “Get someone here, fast.” I clicked off and moved around to the front of the car. Vomited, again.

By the time I got hold of myself—good enough to where I could stand without further retching—two black patrol cruisers, POLICE painted in a slanted stripe of silver, arrived. Red and blue lights flashing, more cruisers screeched into the parking lot. And, another volley of high-pitched sirens warned of danger.

 “He’s in there.” I pointed towards the back of the shop.  

The officers ran to the back door. A fire truck pulled into the lot, and behind it, the paramedics. A patrol cruiser drove up and parked parallel, blocking the entrance. 

 It was still early morning.  How many people stopped this morning, saw the door locked, and went off to work?  Why didn’t they smell something and go around to the back of the shop? Why did I? 

More police arrived, what looked like the entire force. They followed the path others had taken into the donut shop. Someone had unlocked the front door. It stood open. An officer stood inside on guard.

I wanted to leave, but I knew I couldn’t.  When you call the police, especially when finding someone hurt or dead, the police are going to want some kind of statement. The only thing I told an officer who asked was that I craved a Maple Bar before work. I smelled something unpleasant. Followed my nose. And…

My feet were freezing, so I decided there wasn’t any need for me to stand outside my car waiting for them to come to me. They knew where to find me. While I had only lived in Appleton since Harley and I went into business together, Harley grew up in Appleton.  He had friends in the department. Many of the officers would recognize me because of him. 

 Getting into my car with the front window offering a wide view of what was happening, I sat shivering my butt off with the heater full on.  

Then, Carl Hansen, one of the EMTs, surprised me by knocking on the side window. I lowered the window, letting in more frosty air. 

Carl said, “I heard it was you who found him, Tuesday.” 

I couldn’t seem to get my lips working. My chin was trembling. 

“A damn shame,” he said.  “Poor ol’guy. Are you okay?”

 I nodded. Then, like a child first learning to talk, I babbled out, “I’m fine.”

He said, “If you think getting here a few minutes earlier may have helped, give that thought up. He wouldn’t have had a chance once he hit that hot oil. If he had survived, he would have been horribly scarred and would have wished you had arrived late." We both looked over to the shop. His glance came back to rest on me. “Hell, look, you’re shaking. You’re going into shock.”

He leaned against the car as if he was no longer in a hurry. “You may feel worse later.  Headaches.  Stomach problems. If you can’t sleep tonight, call your doctor.  He can give you something to settle your nerves for the next few days.  The best thing to do is just to forget it ever happened.”

“Thanks.  But really, I’m f…f...fine," I stammered. All I wanted to do at that very moment was go home and pull the covers over my head. 

“Yeah, that’s what they all say.”  He turned. “You take care.” He left and moved towards his rig.

I raised my window back up and waited.  In a few minutes, someone else headed over to my car. He stopped and spoke to an officer, gesturing towards a cruiser that was obstructing traffic. Then he continued over to me. I got out. While I hadn’t met him, I knew who he was.

“Tuesday Welsh?”

“Yes.” 

He introduced himself. “Pleased to meet you. I’m Lieutenant Fox.”

I had seen him at Mr. Yummy’s. In his early 40s, he had rugged good looks and an athletic body. His piercing blue eyes reflected a determination and seriousness for his profession. Exemplifying for his officers and community that he was a no-nonsense type of guy for keeping Appleton safe. He said, “I’m told you called in the incident. Can you tell me what happened here?” He was holding a small, black writing pad.  One of those with the spiral wire on top. He flipped a couple of pages. Then flicked his pen. “Name?”

“Tuesday Welsh of Davidson and Welsh Investigations.”

No eyebrows raised. Who I was and where I worked wasn’t a surprise. He jotted my name down on the spiral pad. “Can you tell me what happened? Begin from your arrival, please.”

 I began the sequence.  “I stopped for donuts for the office.” 

“Your partner is Harley Davidson, right?”

I nodded. He didn’t jot this piece of information down. But he commented, “I heard he took off for LA.”

Thinking he was referencing my purchasing for the office, I corrected what I’d said. “Well, I wasn’t stopping to get donuts for the officer, per se. I was in the mood for a Maple Bar.”

He didn’t make note of my choice of donut. “So you stopped for a donut. The time?”

“Maybe ten, twenty minutes ago. I left the house seven minutes before nine.”

He cocked an eyebrow. 

“We open at nine and I promised Harley I’d open the office early while he was gone. But, it was colder this morning. And there was ice on my windshield. And I…”

He nodded. “Eight fifty-five a.m. will be close enough.” He asked, “Was the shop open when you got here?”

 “No. I found him when I saw that the lights were on in the shop but the front door was locked. I couldn’t see any donuts in the display case. I found it strange and decided to investigate.” I offered, “Since I stop by regularly,” and  interjected, “and a lot of us do,” then continued, “ I knew it wasn’t like the owner not to have the place open, especially by this time.”  

He asked if the front door was locked upon arrival while making a note.

“But the lights were on,” I stressed. “And the sign on the window said open.” I paused, then offered, “Mr. Yummy’s is never closed. Not in the mornings.”

Lieutenant Fox nodded agreement with this history as he scratched his pen on the paper. “What prompted you to go to the back door?” 

“I smelled something.” Remembering the assault on my nostrils caused my stomach to roll again.  I gulped and took a breath before saying, “When I went around back, I saw the back door was slightly open. I called in to let him know the front door was locked. I thought maybe he wasn't aware that the girl who usually works the register wasn’t here today. Or maybe he was handling the shop all by himself.”

I’m not sure that was the exact reasoning that went through my mind. But now, it seemed like the logical sequence for my decision-making. I added, “When no one answered, I went in.”

“Why?” he asked. He nodded toward the parking lot. “Were there any cars in the parking lot when you arrived?”

The question caught me off guard. I had been thinking of Maple Bars, not automobiles. But he was right. The parking lot had been empty. It still was except for emergency vehicles. 

“I don’t know why. The owner is always here in the mornings, or so I thought.  Having the front door locked felt strange. And I saw no donuts in the display case when I looked through the window.” I added as if the next fact was paramount to my exploration, “The sign says OPEN.”  I moved on, “I was going to leave when I smelled something. Like someone burning garbage. The smell was coming from around the building. And, well, when I saw the door open, I just naturally thought to check.”

He made a couple of notes, nodded, then asked, “What did you do next?”

“I remember shouting that the front door was closed. Only, the smell was terrible. So, I went in further and I found him folded over into the fryer. I thought he’d somehow fallen in.”

“He wasn't on the floor where he is now?"

“No.  I pulled  him out.” That made my  chin quavered with the memory, so it sounded more like,“I…I…puuulllllled…emmm out.”

“By yourself?” Lieutenant Fox asked. “Eric Kenny’s a big man.”

“I wasn’t thinking. I had to get him out because I thought he was hurt. But, I couldn’t hold him. He fell on me.”

He asked. “Did you turn off the fryer?”

Did I? I shook my head. “I didn’t touch it.  I didn’t check to see if it was off or on. But it must have been off because the oil wasn’t hot. I didn’t get burned when trying to get him out.”

Lieutenant Fox again made a note and then gave his opinion. “It’s probably fixed with an automatic turnoff valve for when the machine gets too hot.” He next asked, “Did you notice anything moved around? Out of place?” 

“No.  I’ve never been in the back of the shop before. I wouldn’t have noticed if anything was different.”

He closed his notebook. Turned and gave a glance over to the shop and then out toward the street. A crowd was forming beyond the police perimeter. Most people had put on coats before coming out, figuring what was going on might take a while. Others hugged themselves and stood flapping their arms for warmth. 

There is nothing like tragedy to stir up an audience. 

He asked, “And you’re sure that no one else was here? You didn’t see anyone leave? Another car in the lot?”

I shook my head.  We watched as Eric's body was wheeled out on a gurney in a black bag from the back door. Ahead of the gurney walked an older man carrying a steel case. He lifted his eyes over to the Lieutenant and me, then said something to Carl Hansen, who continued on by himself.  The man stood and pulled the collar of his coat higher on his neck. He turned his head to look at the crowd, then raised his gaze to the buildings and beyond. He seemed to peer into the heavens.

I wondered what he was thinking after having just inspected the damaged body of someone he probably knew well.  Was he contemplating life and death? Or was he thinking how ironic it was for Eric to die doing what he did every morning of every day of the week, frying donuts? This thought then caused me to realize how we live most of our lives thinking about and fearing death. When the moment can happen sooner than expected.

Or maybe I was the one feeling suddenly philosophical, and he was simply checking out the weather.  Clouds piled overhead, weakening the morning’s light. Maybe he was only wondering, Is it going to snow?

He walked over, giving me a courtesy nod. He chewed on his salt-and-pepper mustache before saying, “Terrible thing to happen before Christmas.”

 “What do you think?  His heart?” Lieutenant Fox asked him.

 “I don’t want to say until I get a better look at him. But he hasn’t been dead long. I’d say two to three hours. Rigor hasn’t in.  I did notice trauma to the back of his head.”

“He fell when I tried to get him out of the fryer,” I said.

“That may explain it. I’ll get a closer look at the hospital. If I find anything suspicious, I’ll need to send him over to the County Coroner. And it’ll be a couple of days before they get to an autopsy. Especially with the holiday around the corner. But Eric was getting on in years. Eighty-two or three, I believe. If there’s nothing to this head injury, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was his heart or a stroke. There is one thing for sure. If he wasn’t dead before he fell into that hot oil, the damage he sustained would have killed him.” He brushed the hairs of his mustache down over his top lip with his fingers.  “Hell of a way for a good man to go.”  

Lieutenant Fox nodded toward me. “This here is Tuesday Welsh. She was the one who found him. She works with Harley Davidson.” He introduced, “This is Dr. Scott, Appleton’s medical examiner.”

We shook hands. My hand was icy. I freaked out a little in feeling how warm his hand was. He said to me, “Good to meet you.” He said to Lieutenant Fox, “Eric Kenny deserved better.”

I agreed. “Best donuts in the state.”

Both men stared at me. Then they looked away as the ambulance bleeped and left. “I’d better get to the hospital,’ Dr. Scott said. “I’ll do my rounds and then check Eric before heading back to the office.”

He turned as if to leave, then said, “Tell Chief Daly I’ll have my report to him sometime tomorrow.”

Blurp bluurp’ the ambulance signaled as it pulled out onto Queen Avenue. Dr. Scott repeated, “I’ll just do a preliminary.  No reason to do a full autopsy if it’s not necessary.” He sadly shook his head and commented, “Damn shame.”

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.


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