25
May 24

EXCERPT Mrs. Odboddy Hometown Patriot

Mrs. Odboddy Hometown Patriot is FREE at AMAZON from today, 05-25-24 through 05-29-24. Below is an edited excerpt from Mrs. Odboddy's encounter with a Japanese air balloon while she stands duty at an ocean watchtower.  Download the novel for free at  http://tinyurl.com/hdbvzsv (Reg. price $3.99 ebook).

Agnes put binoculars to her eyes again. An air balloon? Round and white, not like the popular passenger air balloons she’d seen at the county fair. Maybe a weather balloon, blown off course?

Closer now.

Long ropes connected a conglomeration of tangled thing-a-ma-bobs hanging from a wheel-shaped device beneath the balloon. Two small sandbags dislodged from the device and plummeted into the ocean. With their release, the balloon made a sharp ascent, veered slightly and then dipped again—its descent now on a direct trajectory toward the watch tower.

She grabbed the microphone. “Station thirty-two, coast watch. Over.” Hurry, hurry! Answer, hang it!

“Station thirty-two. Go ahead. Over.”

“I’ve sighted what appears to be a giant white air balloon, descending slowly, about 700 feet elevation, approximately one-quarter mile off shore. At this  rate, it will likely reach shore fairly close to my location within two or three minutes. Umm…over!”

“An air balloon? Are you sure? hold on.” Excited broken words crackled in the background. “Explosives…government…black-out…ocean…”

“Station thirty-two. Keep an eye on it. We’re sending troops ASAP. Over.”

“But, what is it? What—?”

“Sorry, ma’am. Top-secret. I’m not at liberty to discuss…. If it lands, give us a—”

“What do you mean you can’t discuss it? How can it be top secret? I’m staring at it with my two bald eyes. It’s less than a quarter of a mile away, headed directly toward the watch tower. What should I—”

“If it lands on the beach anywhere near you, get out of there. It may explode on impact.”

“Explode? Thanks a bunch.” The giant contraption still descended, fifteen feet wide and over seventy feet tall, including the ropes and the device below. A bomb hung beneath the circular device. Agnes’s heart pummeled. If she left the watch tower, she could reach her car and drive away before the thing landed. Desert her post? Not on your tin-type! No way would she let the enemy steal her car and sneak into town to raise havoc. If there was a Japanese gunman on board, she’d have to deal with him. But, how?

What would Ellery Queen do? She drew herself up to her full five foot, one and three-eighths inches and glared through the binoculars.

The air balloon was closer now, its outline and features clearly visible. The radio technician said explosive—that it might explode on impact. The air current was blowing it directly toward the watch tower!

Agnes grabbed the microphone. “Station thirty-two. Abandoning post! Over and out!”

20
Apr 24

Excerpt from Mrs. Odboddy And Then There was a Tiger

Enjoy an edited excerpt from Mrs. Odboddy And Then There was a Tiger.

A stringent odor stirred Agnes to consciousness. Wild, earthy.

Where am I? Straw tickled her cheek. I must be in a barn.

Why hadn’t her abductor tied her up? He’d knocked her unconscious and used chloroform.

She would have to rely on her brilliant crime-fighting faculties if she was to get out of this alive. She struggled to sit up and put her hand to her head. Still dizzy, but clearing.

Brrrumm… Brrrumm

What was that sound? She shivered in the chill air and tilted her head to listen. It sounded almost like something scratching in the corner, like someone… or something… moving around in the darkness.

The light from the moon revealed the faintest outline of something vertical near her face… She reached and closed her fingers around a steel bar. A quick movement seven inches to the left and her hand smacked into another steel bar. She was in a cage! An animal cage? A stab of panic shot through her chest. She could almost see the front page of tomorrow’s Newbury Daily Gazette now. It is with a heavy heart we announce that Agnes Odboddy, almost regular attendee at The First Church of the Evening Star and Everlasting Light, exemplary citizen and unparalleled volunteer for causes both large and small, was eaten alive by a wild animal.

No one would think she was kidnapped and foully murdered. Maybe someone would wonder why she had willingly entered an animal cage, but knowing the daft stunts she had pulled in the past, they would not wonder long.

Now, how to defend herself against a wild animal? She pulled a silver chopstick from her hair. Stainless steel and sharp, it would be a lethal weapon against a human, but wasn’t very effective against a wild beast.

Brrrumm… Brrrumm…

That noise again from the corner! She scrambled to her feet, holding the chopstick in front of her. Her breath came in ragged gasps. Waves of dizziness threatened to send her spinning again. Not now. Stay strong, Agnes. Don’t give up! She took a step forward, ready to fight to the death, but her wretched body defied her best intentions. Which way was up and which down? Her legs felt like noodles. Not now! Not now! The strong smell of animal urine assailed her nostrils. And then, the edges of her consciousness turned to black.

Slurp…  Slurp…

The ringing in her ears subsided. The blackness faded, consciousness returned… then panic as she became aware of a sandpaper-like sensation rasping across her neck… her cheek… her mouth. Instantly awake, her hand flew to her wet face.

The clouds had thinned and in the ensuing moonlight, the faint outline of a giant tiger, not six inches from her face! The knot in her throat tightened. Sure that her life was measured in seconds, the prayer of every Christian at the moment of death came to mind. Lord, forgive this sinner and open the pearly gates.

She scrabbled through the straw, searching for the chopstick she had dropped when she fainted. Unable to locate the chopstick, she scrambled to her feet. What good would the tiny scrap of metal do, anyway? If she was destined to be the beast’s dinner, he’d accomplish the deed whether standing with a chopstick in her hand or on her knees, mumbling in prayer.

Brrrumm… Brrrumm…

Why did it sounded so content? Was the tiger tickled at the prospect of chasing down a live meal, instead of finding it on the end of a stick?

She’d have to fight the beast bare-handed.

The creature moved forward, and threw back his head. RRROWWW!!

****

Amazon  $3.99 e-book http://tinyurl.com/yx72fcpx

7
Jul 23

The No Fly Zone - Roswell Space Ship Crash 1947

To commemorate the alleged July 8, 1947, spaceship crash on at Roswell, New Mexico, the following fictional story is presented. ******

I grew up in Roswell, New Mexico where old timers still whisper about alien crash sites and witnessing alien bodies on slabs in secret military labs.

Once the story of the alien spaceship crash on a local farm began to circulate in 1947, and tourism exploded in hopes of a UFO sighting, Dad renamed our family bakery The Alien Bakery. We specialized in decorated flying saucer cookies shaped like space ships from the movie, Cat from Outer Space and a replica of the main character, a cat named Jake. Customers get a kick out of  Dad’s sign over the door:

SHUT THE DOOR   THIS IS A NO FLY ZONE!

In the 90’s, we created a website and advertised our cookies on UFO blog sites. Tourists continued to swarm Roswell and they all stop by our bakery for our famous cookies.

Every 4th of July, Roswell holds a three-day UFO Festival that attracts thousands of tourists from around the world. Our seven employees work ten-hour shifts, cutting out cookies of spaceships, cloud shapes, and a cat cookie that looked like Jake, the cat from The Cat from Outer Space movie. Dad and I stayed up way past our bedtime last night, putting colored frosting on Jake’s collar and red-hot candies around the bottom of the spaceship cookies.

Old Man Foster, blind since childhood, has owned the newspaper stand next door for as long as I can remember. He sells papers from all over the country and souvenir copies of the Roswell Daily Record, July 8, 1947 issue announcing RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region. The military debunked the story the next day, declaring it remnants of a weather balloon. To this day, die-hard UFO-ers are convinced the government covered up a crashed spaceship. Dad and Old Man Foster, both experts in astronomy, spend hours talking about the solar system. Oddly, the subject of the alleged spaceship crash seems to be off limits in their lengthy conversations.

Old Man Foster was 9 years old when the alleged space ship landed on his grandad’s ranch. Tourists have flocked to his news stand, asking questions, due to his relationship to the incident. Though glad to talk about the solar system and his belief in the probability of intelligent life in outer space, when questioned about the 1947 incident, he’d decline. No amount of bribes or persuasion could convince him to break his silence. His reluctance to discuss the matter often convinced the tourists that the UFO stories were true.

This morning, Mirabel sold cookies at the counter. Jocelyn rang up the sales. Dad and I were frosting cookies when there was a commotion outside at the news stand. We rushed out and found Old Man Foster on the sidewalk, his hair matted with blood, a brick beside his head. I called 911 and we knelt beside him.

Dad pulled Old Man Foster’s head into his lap. “What happened? Who hit you? Were you robbed?”

The old man turned toward Dad’s voice, opened his sightless eyes, and began to mumble. “Gotta tell before I die.”

Dad smoothed his hair. “You’re not going to die.”

“The day it crashed. Gramps and I… out in the field. It burst through a hole in the cloud, flames shooting out behind... Headed straight for us. Gramps pushed me down. ‘Don’t look,’ he yelled.” He shook his head and sighed. “I didn’t listen. I watched as it tumbled from the sky…. So bright! Tried to cover my eyes. A giant flash and… and… I woke up in my room… blind ever since.

“Gramps said the military took it away. They warned Gramps… ‘Don’t ever talk… or we’ll put you in jail.’ The next day… next day… they claimed it was just a weather balloon. We never told that I was blinded by the crash. I never told…” His head rolled to the side. He closed his eyes and seemed at peace, having shared his darkest secret.

“Rest now, Mr. Foster. Help is coming.” I patted his hand, shocked by the tale he shared, the event he had refused to discuss his entire life. Could it be true? He was blinded by witnessing the Roswell crash that has been denied and surrounded by secrecy all these years?

An ambulance pulled to the curb. Two men loaded Old Man Foster and roared off down the road. I hoped that his injuries were minor and he’d soon be back at his news stand.

After dinner, I called the hospital to check up on him. They said there was no record of Old Man Foster ever being admitted. In spite of numerous calls to all the hospitals in the neighboring counties, I couldn’t ever locate him. We never saw him again...

Someone said the ambulance headed toward Edwards Air Field Military Base, but no one could figure out why they would take him there? He wasn’t retired military. Did someone overhear him talking about the UFO crash in 1947? What difference would it make so many years later? Who would believe him? He was just an old man talking nonsense after getting hit in the head.

****

For other short stories (about cats) see my anthology All Things Cat.  http://tinyurl.com/y9p9htak (Amazon$2.99-ebook)

3
Jul 23

Edited Scene from Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey's Diary

This is an excerpt from the cozy mystery, Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey's Diary. While Kimberlee follows clues to a treasure in lost gold coins in Austria, Black Cat and Angel are home in Fern Lake when unexpected deviltry is afoot....

****

Black Cat reached the corner of the house and skidded to a stop. Who is that?

A woman wearing dark glasses and a large black hat crept through the front gate and pulled it closed behind her. She tip-toed down the sidewalk toward the house. Did she imagine she couldn’t be seen from the house? Black Cat lowered his ears. What is she up to? She’s up to no good, that’s for sure.

On the other side of the gate, the woman’s car motor rumbled, its driver side door hanging open.

Black Cat’s heart thudded. Perhaps the woman intended to steal something from the front porch. He crept forward. He would have to stop her. He could almost see the front-page headlines in tomorrow’s newspaper. Plucky Local Cat Foils Attempted Grand Larceny. Despite overwhelming odds, the plucky feline protected his master’s valuable rhododendron plant from the clutches of a 200 lb. female assailant determined to…so forth and so on… Perhaps even his picture and…

His gaze swept toward the Wisteria vines where Angel’s gold tail swished beneath the purple flowers. Angel! The portly woman sprinted up the sidewalk, leaned down, and yanked Angel out from under the bush.

Meow!

Clutching the struggling cat, Angel writhed and twisted. “Oh no, you don’t, my pet.” She turned and hurried back toward her street.

Black Cat raced across the lawn. Angel! He leaped at the woman’s arm, teeth bared. She jerked away. Having missed his target, he tumbled to the grass with a shriek. “Help! Help.”  

The woman waddled to her car, struggled to open the front gate with one hand while grappling with the thrashing cat. Once she got the door open, she flung Angel onto the passenger seat and flopped into the driver’s seat.

Not my Angel… Black Cat sprinted through the gate, leaped over the hood of the car, and scrambled around the car door.

Before she could slam the door shut, Black Cat leaped into the kidnapper's lap. She grabbed her purse and struck at his head, knocking him sideways. His head struck the dials on the radio and he fell to the floor, momentarily stunned.

Angel huddled on the front passenger seat, her nails clinging to the vinyl seat, frozen with fright, mewing pathetically, Black Cat! Black Cat!

The cat-napper hit the gas and the car plunged down the driveway, spewing gravel. She reached the street and gunned the engine. Her tires squealed, leaving patches of rubber as she roared past the lodge and headed for the outskirts of town...

To order this e-book from Amazon... www.https://tinyurl.com/vgyp89s

 

18
Jun 23

WWII FACTS About Mrs. Odboddy's Desperate Doings FACTS

Due to the need to feed and supply the troops during WWII, the federal government established a rationing system to conserve crucial food and supplies which required Katherine and Mrs. Odboddy to reimagine how to shop using a ration book and still cook delicious meals. The system wasn’t perfect. Whenever the government announced an item would soon be rationed, citizens stood in line in front in front of the market, with intentions of buying up as much as possible. Many folks planted a Victory garden to supplement  vegetables and fruit, and canned any overflow to use the following winter.

The rationing program involved giving a number of “points”, which came in the form of stamps printed inside a ration coupon book. These were distributed throughout the war to each person including the children.  Restricted items required a certain number of points, along with money.

Tires were rationed first, starting in January 1942, just weeks after Pearl Harbor.  Consumers could no longer buy new tires; and were required to patch or have the treads replaced on existing tires. Multiple tire issues were the result of poor quality tires and poor condition of the roads. Health care professionals, fire and police could purchase new tires, also buses, and certain delivery trucks, with specific approval.

Black market trading in everything from tires to meat plagued the nation, including the black market purchase of ration books. Rationing brought about increased black market activity because  certain foods were rationed, starting with sugar in May 1942. Coffee was restricted to one pound per adult every six weeks for a period of time, followed by meats, fats, canned fish, cheese, and canned milk.  Folks with extra ration coupons befitted by selling them on the black market. In  Mrs. Odboddy Hometown Patriot, Mrs. Odboddy recognized the issue of stolen ration books and set about to expose the criminals involved.

In the latest Mrs. O novel, Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings, we expanded on the issue of ration books, cooking with limited supplies and relying on Victory gardens to supplement fruits and vegetables. Cuts of meat were rationed, often leaving only the internal organs to include liver, heart, neck bones and ox tail available for purchase. Below is the original recipe for Oxtail Stew,

OXTAIL STEW

Dredge three large oxtails in flour and brown with an onion in butter or shortening. Add two tablespoons of bacon grease. Toss the floured meat into the frying pan with a diced onion and brown on all sides. To a large kettle, add two cups of canned beef broth, two cups of water and two cups of canned tomatoes. Add a bay leaf, a teaspoon of salt and a dash of pepper. When the meat and onion are nicely browned, add to the kettle liquid, turn down the burner to simmer, and cook for three hours. During the last hour, add half a cup of carrots, half a cup of chopped celery, a tablespoon of parsley and six potatoes from the Victory garden. Just before ready to eat, thicken the gravy with flour or corn starch.

The stew is delicious, hearty with vegetables and fairly inexpensive and can be cooked during the day, while pursuing other activities. Mrs. Odboddy would set an oxtail stew 'aboil, as she plotted how to expose the town's popular thieving doctor, after seeing him steal art work from the neighbor, or in an effort to find a home for their displaced carnival tiger, Shere Khan.

All these wonderful WWII mystery adventures are available at Amazon for $3.99 ebook.

28
May 23

A Caregiver For a Tiger - Desperate Doings

Following is an excerpt from Mrs. Odboddy's Desperate Doings. Agnes has received a call that Shere Khan's caregiver, has quit. Agnes has tried unsuccessfully to date to find a permanent home for the displaced carnival tiger. What to do? What to do?

****

Agnes hung up the phone and put her hand to her throbbing forehead. She was running out of money to feed Shere Khan and still hadn’t found the tiger a permanent home. Now, her caregiver had given notice. What able-bodied man in the county would be willing to clean the tiger’s cage and feed him? The dreaded option of destroying Shere Khan returned, as the city council recommended. Only after Mr. Higgenbottom allowed the tiger’s caravan to be parked at his farm, was the city councils’ edict temporarily lifted.

Was it time to ask the Almighty for another intervention? Feeling on pretty good terms to ask for another intercession, she knelt by the side of the bed, and bowed her head.

“Lord, it’s me, Agnes Agatha Odboddy. Yes, I know you must be pretty disappointed with me most days, but I do my best, Lord, really, I do. You won’t be surprised to hear that I’m in another jam. It’s not about me this time, Lord, it’s for Shere Khan. I know you’re busy with the war in the Pacific and all, so I’ll get straight to the point. I need a caregiver for the tiger right away, and I need a permanent home for–”

Bing… Bong… The doorbell? Agnes lifted her head, and then bowed it again. “Someone’s at the door, Lord, but I’ll be right back. I’d appreciate it, Lord, if You could ponder on a solution while I’m gone. Uh…Amen!”

Agnes flung open the front door. “Oh, my stars. You! What are you doing here?” She grabbed the visitor’s arm and pulled him inside. “Was it your idea to come or did God send you?”

He shrugged. “Well, I… I guess it was mine.”

In the past, due to her inability to keep her nose out of things that didn’t concern her, Agnes often found herself in a pickle. As a result, she would get on her knees and bargain with the Lord for deliverance. Thanks to the Almighty’s benevolence, her conundrum always reached a satisfactory solution. But, never in her history of misadventures had He answered her prayer before she even finished her request and got to the ‘Amen,’

There sat Charles, the young man from Albuquerque, who risked his life last summer to help her.

“Charles, how do you feel about working with animals, like chickens and cows, … or… other animals?”

“Oh, I love animals, and I’m looking for a job. That’s why I came. What did you have in mind?” His smile brightened.

“As it happens," Agnes said, "a friend needs a ranch hand. Um…how about cats? You okay with cats? I mean, really, really big cats…?”

*****

To purchase this Amazon e-book, go to: https://tinyurl.com/5xah4cnt  ($3.99) or contact me directly at Elaine.Faber@mindcandymysteries.com for a paperback copy. Mailed within USA for $15 - free shipping.

You can read all my books for FREE on Kindle Unlimited. See if that's right for you.

 

23
Apr 23

Watching the Radio - The Teddy Bear's Picnic

In 1950, when I was a child, my family’s favorite past time was listening to the radio. In the afternoons, Mama listened to Our Gal Sunday, Amos and Andy, Fibber Magee and Molly while she ironed pillowcases and sheets.

My favorite show was an hour-long children’s show on Saturday morning, Big Jon and Sparkie – No School Today. Jon Arthur almost single-handedly produced the show. He was also the various voices of his characters and used sound effects and music to enhance the realism. His main character was an elfin creature named “Sparkie”, who, like Pinocchio wished to be a real boy. Their adventures often included solving mysteries involving various characters called Daffodil Dilly and Mayor Plumpfort.

I would awake early Saturday morning, take my blanket and alarm clock into the dining room, and lay on the floor in front of the radio. Mama wouldn’t allow me to turn on the radio until 8:00 AM, so I watched the clock creep toward the exciting hour. At exactly 8:00 AM, on went the radio, the volume real low, and I was transported into Big Jon and Sparkie’s world. The theme song was “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.” I can still remember the words...

It’s picnic time for teddy bears. The teddy bears are having a lovely time today. Watch them… catch them unawares. See them picnic on their holiday. See them gaily gad about, how they play and shout. They never have any cares. Beneath the trees, where nobody sees, they hide and see as long as they please, 'cause that’s the way the teddy bears have their picnic.

Technology marched on. We got our first television in 1952, which provided new family entertainment. Live pictures made my imaginary world of mysteries and elfin creatures seem dull and lifeless. Saturday morning, Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse cartoons tempted me to abandon Big Jon and Sparkie.

Looking back, I think giving up radio shows for television took away something special about ‘watching the radio’. Wrapped in my blanket on a chill Saturday morning while my family slept in late, I used my imagination to create the characters and see the events in Big Jon’s quaint little tales. My seven-year-old creations were far more interesting than the Hollywood produced flickering black and white characters.

Over the past 70+ years, with the advent of even more technology, big screen wonders, U-tube, the I-phone, the internet, much of entertainment has advanced even more. I wouldn’t want to give up all the forms of current day entertainment, but there is something to be said for wrapping yourself in a blanket,laying on the floor in front of the radio, and watching the clock tick slowly toward 8:00 AM until it’s time for…The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.

9
Feb 23

Excerpt - PowWow Dance from Spirit Woman Novel

This is an excerpt from my fictional novel, The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain, available at. Amazon... ebook is $3.99. Enjoy an edited dance scene from Lou's visit to a Native American Pow Wow. 

Lou filled a thermos with coffee and grabbed her camera. If she’d judged her time correctly, she’d get to the Native American reservation in time to see the first Pow Wow dance.

Lou backed down the driveway, headed toward the reservation. Even with November’s chill, the warm sun melted the night’s dew 0ff shrubs and trees causing a mist to rise, almost as if it was raining upside down.

A chipmunk skittered across the road. She waved as she passed several cars. Everyone who lived on the mountain exchanged friendly waves and greetings.

Lou heard the thrum of drums and people cheering as she neared the reservation’s recreation hall. She followed the noise to where the visitors were seated in a circle and found a seat near the front.

Several dancers entered the makeshift arena wearing brightly colored circular-feathered headdresses. One of the men wore yellow face paint. His shirt was decorated with designs in brightly colored bead work. Bells on his ankles jangled as he gyrated and spun to the drumbeat, and his robes swirled behind his body. His boots were made of animal fur with tassels that twirled as he twisted.

One man left the circle and a woman entered. As she danced, she moved forward and then back from the yellow-faced dancer. Embroidered and beaded designs depicting spiritual beings covered her vivid red shawl and fringed skirt. Her hair was plaited with a headband decorated with a beadwork design. The couple moved closer together, but never touched. Each dancer spun faster as the drum beat quickened, their ankle bells keeping time to the rhythm.

As the dance quickened, Lou felt the sexual tension well up in her body. At last, the woman approached her partner, whipped off her shawl and held it at arm’s length. The man grabbed the shawl and flung it around her shoulders, pulling her close to his body, as if in an embrace. The drum beat stopped.

I now pronounce you man and wife? Was that the meaning of the dance? Lou turned at a touch on her sleeve. Emmy stood behind her, smiling. “It was beautiful. I could feel the intensity of it. Was it a marriage dance?”

“Yes. A ritual dance from long ago,” Emmy said. “When a young woman was ready to marry and selected a mate, as they danced, she offered him her shawl, signifying her interest in marriage. If he agreed, he wrapped it around her body and pulled them together. This dance is only symbolic, commemorating customs from our ancestors’ days.”

“It reminds me of a Bible story.” Lou said. “A young widow named Ruth went to the winnowing harvest and caught Boaz’s eye. Ruth’s mother-in-law sent her to a winnowing festival. That night, Ruth crept in and lay at Boaz’s feet, a sign she was willing to be his wife. Come morning, finding her there, he came to an understanding with another kinsman who had first right of refusal for Ruth’s hand. Never underestimate the power of a woman when she sets her sights on a mate.”

31
Oct 22

Halloween Story - The Magic Spell

Until my father’s death, my family lived on a profitable little farm in Killarney, Ireland. Mother would never discuss the nature of his demise or the enchanted manner in which a magic spell had changed me from a boy into a small cat. Even as a cat, she loved me as a son. As time passed, Mother grew frail and I grew into a fine fluffy black cat and a fine reputation as a hunter…

One day Mother called me to her bedside. “Tabkins, Tonite is Halloween, and I can no longer provide our bread and cheese. You must restore our good fortune tonite, or surely we will both perish.” And, so, she recounted the Halloween tale of trickery and enchantment, deviltry and a magic spell.

Some years ago, our farm possessed six orange trees, three cows and a potato patch. A wicked green leprechaun from a nearby mountain-top, coveted, our land, but father repeatedly rebuffed his guiles. So, with trickery and  a magic spell, the evil creature caused him to fall into the river. Then, with a magic wand, he changed me from a comely youth into a black cat. Though the world profited by the addition of an exceedingly good-looking cat, my father drowned. The leprechaun then cast a spell that prevented our six cows from giving milk. The orange trees ceased to bear fruit and the potato patch gave only scant potatoes.

“You must find the leprechaun,” Mother said, “and retrieve the magic wand. Perhaps it will restore you to a human lad and our land into a profitable farm.” The tears in her eyes wrenched my heart, and yet I trembled in horror at the thought of facing the evil creature.

She lifted her frail hand. “Make your way to yonder mountain. High on the top beside a river, you’ll find a cave where the wicked leprechaun dwells,” she said. “Perhaps you can trick him into revealing where he hides his magic wand and can retrieve it. Go, now, Tabkins. Our future lies in your paws.”

Knowing that setting a leprechaun against a small cat, no matter how exceedingly good-looking, my feline cunning would be sorely tested if I was to fool the evil leprechaun and live to tell the tale. With every step toward the leprechaun’s cave, I considered how I might dupe the leprechaun into stealing his magic wand.

“Halt. Who goes there?” The wicked leprechaun called from beneath the log that spanned the river. “Answer, Cat, or I’ll turn you to stone.”

Panic seized my heart. An idea popped into my furry head. “I’m just a harmless pussy-cat out for a stroll. My, what a lovely river you have here, Sir Leprechaun.” (I’ve been told a little honey-talk is always good to sooth a malevolent spirit.) I sashayed across the log, humming, Katie From Killarney, and bowed low. “My name is Tabkins. Pray tell, what might your name be, kind sir?”

The leprechaun’s eyes narrowed. “My name is Merichandrick. What do you seek?”

“Perhaps a spot of tea? I’m weary from my travels.” With a twitch of my whiskers, I looked wistfully toward the cave, conveying abject vulnerability and friendship.

“Come on in, then, and I’ll light the fire,” said he, his green mouth atwitch. I feared he had an ulterior motive.

I followed him, wary of any plan he might have to toss me into his stew pot. I scanned the cave, keeping one eye on my host.

The imp pointed toward his fire. “Sit over there.”

“Oh, what a lovely bird,” I posited, sidling closer to a green and red parrot, hanging from a golden hook. Where was he hiding that blasted magic wand? In a chair near the back of the cave, lay a pot of gold and something long and thin poked from beneath a red blanket. Aha!

The little man turned. “Will you be after spending the night?” A wicked glint gleamed in his eye.

“If I’m so invited,” says I with a yawn, patting my paw against my mouth, “Let us drink our tea and I’ll curl up for the night just yonder on your lovely red blanket.”

He shook his mop of green curls. “Not there,” he shrieked. “Best you should sleep closer to the fire. where it's warmer.”

“As you wish, and I thank you kindly for the hospitality,” says I. Oho! Once the little man sleeps, I’ll snatch the magic wand from beneath the blanket and skedaddle, thinks I.

My host poured two mugs of tea and shoved one toward me. Expecting a trick, I sneezed, and as he reached for a handkerchief, I switched the mugs. Indeed, the mug he intended for me was drugged. Soon after the evil goblin drank, he fell into a stupor. Without further ado, I grabbed the magic wand, printed with the magic words on its side, and raced back down the mountain.

Back at the farm, Mother waved the wand and spoke the magic words. I was instantly changed back to a young man, even more exceedingly handsome than before. Soon, the cows gave milk, the orange trees bore fruit, and this spring, we had a bumper crop of potatoes.

We hear that the leprechaun still lives on the mountain with his parrot, but now that he has lost his magic wand, and his complexion has turned a sallow yellow, he is embarrassed, and rarely leaves his cave.

If our future fortune should fail, the cows dry up again, or the potato crop falters, the wicked yellow leprechaun still has a pot full of gold, and.... I know where he lives.

 

22
Sep 22

WWII Facts Become Part of Desperate Doings Story

Elaine’s latest cozy mystery novel, Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings takes place in No. CA during WWII as Agnes Odboddy faces rationing, fear of enemy invasion, and food shortages. In addition, she is discouraged about her inability to locate a zoo to take Shere Khan, the displaced carnival tiger she rescued from her last adventure, Mrs. Odboddy And Then There was a Tiger.

When she falls from a tree and suffers a head injury, her usual eccentric notions increase. But when she adamantly accuses the local doctor of stealing a well-known War Artist’s painting, and The Lord’s Shepherd lithograph from the church, folks wonder if her head injury is responsible for increasingly irrational behavior, or is it dementia? For a raucous adventure with an absurdly funny elderly sleuth, you can’t miss with Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings.

Selected situations in Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings are based on true events and circumstances. Agnes and I have somewhat altered dates and certain locations for the purpose of her involvement in these events. The characters, Bernard Plockhorst and Edward Reep, are real.

The following events, circumstances, and characters are found in the storyline as Agnes deals with the unnerving events following her fall from the apple tree.

ZOO EUTHANAZIA   During WWII, many USA zoos closed due to personnel shortages but mostly due to the lack of an adequate food supply needed to sustain the animals. Poor nutrition led to the death of many large animals and many more were euthanized due to the inability to properly care for and feed them. In no circumstance would an existing zoo take on a displaced carnival tiger. In such a case, the animal would likely have been euthanized. Shere Khan’s plight in this novel, is therefore, based in fact.

THE GOOD SHEPHERD PAINTING   Bernhard Plockhorst is most famous for the painting of The Good Shepherd shown with a staff in one hand and a lamb in the other. He also painted the famous picture of the guardian angel watching over two children as they traversed along a dangerous cliff. His image of the face of Christ is the most accepted rendering of Christ’s likeness in the Christian Church. Plockhorst was from Germany, famous during the latter part of the 1800. Copies of his paintings are in practically every Christian church and many USA homes.

EDWARD REEP, a California resident and water-color artist, became a photographer and combat artist for the United States Army during WWII. Widely publicized in newspapers and magazines, Reep’s poignant war-time depictions made him popular with the public before and after the war. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to help finance his pursuit of art due to his outstanding contributions to war art

JAPANESE SUBMARINES  In 1942, Japanese submarines were occasionally sighted along the western coastline from Oregon to the Aleutians. Along with several other incidents, they successfully shelled a lighthouse near Vancouver Island, WA, and torpedoed and shelled a freighter off Cape Flattery, WA. The freighter was towed to safety with no loss of life. Though a factual event, the date and location of this event was altered somewhat in our story for purposes of involving Agnes and fictionalizing the event.

For a raucous adventure with an absurdly funny elderly sleuth, you can’t miss with Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings.

Available at Amazon: E-book. Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings is just $3.99. https://tinyurl.com/5xah4cnt   For an autographed and discounted paperback, contact Elaine directly at Elaine.Faber@mindcandymysteries.com

The four-book series is listed below with url to Amazon.

http://tinyurl.com/hdbvzsv    Mrs. Odboddy–Hometown Patriot

http://tinyurl.com/jn5bzwb    Mrs. Odboddy Undercover Courier

http://tinyurl.com/yx72fcpx   Mrs. Odboddy And Then There was a Tiger

https://tinyurl.com/5xah4cnt     Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings