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.

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.

 

A Summary About my Published Novels

All e-book novels are $3.99 at Amazon

Black Cat’s Legacy reveals a cat with his ancestors’ memories.   When Kimberlee comes to the lake resort, she must solve her father’s cold case murder and Thumper realizes his legacy to help her solve the crime. Introducing the characters, part of this series is written from the cat’s POV.

Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer. Thumper goes with his family to Grandmother’s Texas horse ranch where they encounter wild horses, an embezzling attorney, a foreman with a secret identity, a fake children’s society, and a murder plot to do in Grandmother before she can change her will. Thumper meets his soul-mate. Together, they must prevent a murder.

Black Cat and the Accidental Angel. Thumper has lost his memory after an MVA, ends up on an emu ranch in No. CA with a female companion. “Call me Angel. I’m here to take care of your,” she says. They must help this new family resolve issues that put a child at risk. Back in Fern Lake, Kimberlee and family try to find their lost cats. Written about 75% from Thumper’s POV, he faces very ‘human issues’ of love, loss, rejection, jealousy, failure as he regains his memory and learns there are more important things than knowing your own name. A more spiritual story… there MAY be an angel!

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary.  While Black Cat and Angel face challenges in Fern Lake, Kimberly has found a diary with clues to a missing WWII fortune in gold coins. The clues take her to Austria where she races the clock against a stalker determined to find the gold first. 50% is told by Black Cat and 50% from Kimberlee’s POV.

All Things Cat

An anthology of 21 short stories all about cats, written by cats, and stories including a cat from every walk of life, time frame and social environment. Some excerpts from the previous published cat novels. (Amazon e-book $2.99)

Another Series set during WWII in No. California. Mrs. Odboddy adventures:

Mrs. Odboddy – Hometown Patriot. Elderly eccentric Agnes Agatha Odboddy has issues of distrust and suspicion as she fights the war from the home front, believing conspiracies and spies abound in her small town. Filled with hysterical scenes, it includes much of ‘life’ as lived by citizens during an era of rationing and deprivation during WWII. When Mrs. Roosevelt visits, Agnes’s suspicions become reality and she must prove she is, indeed, a hometown warrior. (First place Fiction Award- NCPA 2017)

Mrs. Odboddy Undercover Courier.  Asked to hand carry a ‘package’ to President Roosevelt in Washington, Mrs. O is sure NAZI spies will join her cross country train from CA to Washington, D.C. A laugh on every page guaranteed as this eccentric elderly WWI retired spy faces challenges in every state across the USA. (Third Place Cover and Design Award – NCPA 2018)

Mrs. Odboddy And Then There was a Tiger.  As the tiger of war crosses the globe, Mrs. O is challenged by the woes of a displaced carnival tiger. Carelessly, she loses the War Bond money and must redeem her good name, find the money while defeating crime. Add a bit of elderly romance and you have the recipe for humor on every page. (Second Place Gen Fiction Award – NCPA 2019)

Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings

Agnes faces agonizing challenges, as she continues to seek a permanent home for the displaced tiger. To add to her dismay, she is convinced the beloved local doctor is heading an art theft ring and is determined to expose him. The onset of mysterious headaches, hallucinations and fainting spells places a toll on all of her efforts.

The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain

While the small-town reels at the announcement of an unexplained government facility to be built in their community, a mysterious woman is sighted in the woods. Is she the woman who disappeared after a recent MVA, or is she the embodiment of a Native American Spirit Woman said to appear when the town is in trouble? Strange gifts left on Judy’s doorstep further complicate the situation.

Launching a Self-Published Fiction Novel

I just finished the last chapter of my latest Mrs. Odboddy mystery/adventure, Mrs. Odboddy and the Conniving Candidate. In this novel, Agnes Odboddy is running for a seat on the Newbury City Council, vacated by the removal of a previous member, described in Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings.

The open city council seat attracts the attention of Horace Faggenbacher, owner of the Flying Red Horse gas station, a character the readers met in previous novels. Who knew that he was such a conniving, despicable person that would engage in under-handed tactics? In addition, Katherine’s old boyfriend, determined to win her back, returns with questionable tactics to rival those of Faggenbacher’s.

So what must be done before Mrs. Odboddy and the Conniving Candidate is published? At the moment, I’m involved in a deep editing process intended to catch typos, punctuation issues, story line snags, expanding certain scenes, and generally looking for anything that needs changes.

My mentor is currently reviewing the manuscript with suggestions or needed corrections. The manuscript will then go to 3-4 beta readers looking for plot issues, punctuation, or point out any suggestion they feel needs addressing.

Other types of editors are often hired at this point who make changes and offer suggestions.

As a self-published author, the necessary steps toward publication all become my responsibility. I’ll envision a general cover concept and as I prefer photographs, I’ll search Shutterstock, Fotolia and other online photo sites for one or two photos to be added to Mrs. Odboddy’s image. Once I’ve selected and purchased the rights to the images, they are sent to my mentor/editor/cover design genius who plays around with the photos until I’m satisfied with a finished cover design.

Acknowledgments, back cover blurb, character description, and dedications are assembled. The manuscript is sent to my genius who puts it in the correct format for publication. She returns a printed copy to me for a final edit where I often have her make 40-50 corrections or changes before it is sent to my publisher who uploads everything to Lightening Source. They return a Final printed version for my approval and a chance to correct any printing errors. Upon approval, the paperback books are printed and delivered to my publisher. I pick up my books and they are now available for in-person sales or for interested bookstores or libraries to purchase.

A correctly formatted e-book version is sent to Amazon where, if the moon and stars are in the correct alignment, they upload it correctly so folks can purchase the e-book novel from Amazon. (My Amazon experiences with my last two novels were less than encouraging.)

So, there is no wonder that a paperback novel costs $12-16. After many thousands of hours writing the novel, you now know what a self-published author must do to complete the process and provide you with a wonderful reading experience. I hope you’ll enjoy all my books and look forward to presenting this latest novel, perhaps next year.

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

Excerpt: Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary

This is a scene from my cozy cat mystery novel, Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary, where Kimberlee goes to Austria in search of a lost treasure in gold coins.  I visited Austria in 1987 and experienced some unusual occurrences. In this story, I was able to have Kimberlee experience these and other unusual events in this otherwise fictional story. The experiences described in this scene in Salzburg are from my own experience. The watercolor described is in my hallway still, a reminder of this wonderful day.

****

As Kimberlee passed through the countryside and the forests, the terrain varied and the road rose and fell. Around every corner, another picture post card vista appeared. With no particular agenda, she stopped frequently to take a photograph.

In some green meadows, the only sound was the tinkling of shiny brass bells, hanging from the collars of a flock of sheep or a small group of black and white cows. In other places, the gentle terrain rose up into a fine mist clinging to the hillside. Hidden in the distant mist, tinkling bells confirmed grazing animals, unaware that their bells could produce such a stirring in the heart of an unseen tourist passing on a nearby road.

The vineyards on the hills and meadows became fewer as Kimberlee approached Salzburg, an ancient city where Mozart first played his harpsicord and wrote melodies. Hundreds of years later, people still know his name and enjoy his music.

Near the center of town, she parked the car and began to walk. Ancient ivy-covered buildings with sagging tile roofs covered the courtyards along the sidewalk. Church spires peaked out above red tile rooftops of nearby houses. She passed a church with dates carved into the walls reading 1200-1400. How incredible! One church was said to be 1000 years old!

Violin music drew her toward the town square where a street musician stood on the steps of an ancient church, playing Ave Maria. Pigeons flew overhead from rooftop to rooftop, appearing to be as mesmerized by the music as the cluster of tourists gathered on the steps.

Kimberlee paused to listen as the haunting melody echoed around the square. It touched her heart as it carried her away from this world and back into another time. It was easy to imagine the cobbled streets filled with horse-drawn carts carrying a princess and her ladies in waiting, or a knight in shining armor, after a joust with a dragon.

The musician drew his bow across the strings and as he lowered his hand, the final note hung in the air. The tourists stood spellbound and silent. And then the spell was broken and the more generous visitors tossed money into the violin case at his feet.

Kimberlee opened her purse. “That was absolutely lovely! Thank you.” She put money into his case and wandered on.

She ran to catch a tram climbing to the top of the hill where a medieval castle overlooked the city, a cold and barren place with steps everywhere. The rooms were filled with armor, ancient guns, javelins, chains and torture devices. From the balconies, looking down on the valley was like peeking into the pages of a storybook. Rainy mists on the distant mountains beckoned hikers upward into the cold crisp air. Off to the left, rivers, towers, cathedrals, graveyards, and church spires. Off to the right, cobble-stone streets with horse-drawn carriages, sidewalk cafes, musicians, and archways, where street vendors hawked their wares on the street corners.

Returning to the city below, Kimberlee came upon a street artist sitting with his back against the wall, his easel and backpack by his side. The picture drying on his easel was a watercolor of the nearby ancient church steps where the musician had just played his stirring aria. Unable to resist the desire to memorialize the moment, she purchased the picture. She planned to have it framed and hang it near her bedroom, a constant reminder of the musician and his poignant melody.

What a magical city! After a good meal and a very strong cup of coffee, Kimberlee returned to her car. She must locate a pension where she might spend the night. Tomorrow, she would continue to follow the clues from the WWII soldier’s diary, in hopes that they might lead to the gold coins, still hidden so many years later.

****

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary is available at Amazon (e-book) for $3.99.  Contact me directly for an autographed paperback version. ($15.00 – Free shipping within in USA)

 

Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings – Excerpt – Chpt. One

Agnes climbed out of bed and tiptoed down the hall, careful not to wake Katherine and Maddie. She stepped into the kitchen and glanced out the kitchen window. The sun was just rising, casting a glow over the garden and turning the blossoms on the apple tree a pale shade of pink. She sighed, once again assured that God was in his Heaven and all was right with the world. At least in her part of the world… The war still raged across Europe, affecting the lives of neighbors and friends with tragic news of loved ones, but today promised to be another safe and sunny day in Newbury, without immediate threat of danger in their hometown.

Agnes lit a match, held it under the stove burner, and slowly turned on the gas knob. A circle of blue flames circled the burners. Agnes filled the tea kettle and set it on the stove. She carefully measured exactly six tablespoons of coffee into the top of her coffee pot. Coffee was still a precious commodity, not only still in short supply but needing a ration coupon to buy. One shouldn’t waste a speck of coffee, even as restrictions were lifted and a bit more product available these days. When only one pound every six weeks per adult was rationed, she was ready to storm the War Department offices.

A sound outside in the front yard drew her to the front room. She pulled back the curtain and peered out the window. “What the Sam Hill?” Her heart seized at the sight of two men leaning over the lawn signs in her front lawn. One held a can of paint and the other used a brush to deface her campaign poster, touting her candidacy for Newburg City Council.

Determined to make short work of them, Agnes grabbed a broom, rushed to the front door, threw it open, and stomped onto the porch. “Get the heck off my lawn, you rapscallions, before I have the law on you. What do you think you’re doing?”

The men grabbed their paint supplies and headed for a Hudson, idling at the curb. Agnes took the front steps two at a time and raced across the lawn. She smacked the broom on the Hudson’s trunk as it pulled away from the curb. “And stay gone!” She turned toward the campaign sign. Red paint dripped off the cardboard onto the grass. She gasped as she viewed a bright red mustache marring her upper lip, and across the silver chopsticks sticking akimbo from her grey bun. The glare in her eyes defined her determination to fill the empty seat left by the recent arrest of the previous city council chairman.

The front door opened and Katherine peeked out. “What’s wrong, Grandma? We heard you yelling. What are you doing out here in your nightgown?” Katherine stepped onto the porch. “Get inside this minute. You’ll catch your death of cold.”

“Some son of a biscuit-eater just painted a mustache on my campaign sign.” Agnes waved her broom in the direction of the car screeching around the corner.

“Well, they’re gone now. You can’t be out here in your ‘altogether.’ What will the neighbors think?” Indeed, the curtains were drawn back in the house next door, and Agnes’s friend, Mavis, peeked out, her grey head covered in pink curlers. Agnes waved, lifted her broom to salute her, and marched back into the house.

*****To read the remainder of the novel, go to Amazon to buy…

https://tinyurl.com/5xah4cnt

(Amazon e-book  $3.99) Contact me for an autographed paperback $15.00 – free shipping

Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings

The fourth Mrs. Odboddy adventure is finally available in e-book at Amazon ($3.99) and in paperback from me ($15.00 free shipping). As Mrs.  O continues to fight WWII from the home front, she continues to be search for a home for the displaced carnival tiger. She decides to take her burden to the Lord. From Chapter Six…

“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, it’s for Shere Khan. Surely, You approve of my efforts to save him, because it’s a worthwhile mission. I know you’re busy with the war 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’s head came up as she turned toward the bedroom door. She bowed her head again. “Someone’s at the door, Lord, so I need to go, but I’ll be back as soon as I can. I’d appreciate it, Lord, if You could ponder on a solution while I’m gone. Uh…Amen!”

Agnes hurried to the front door and flung it open. She put her fist to her mouth. “Oh, my stars. You! I can’t believe it. What are you doing here?” She grabbed the visitor’s arm, pulled him into the living room and thrust him onto the sofa. “Did you come on your own or did God send you?”

Her visitor raised his eyebrows and shrugged. “Well, I…I guess it was my idea.”

Now, in the past, due to her inability to keep her mouth shut and her nose out of things that were none of her business, Agnes often found herself in a pickle. As a result, she would get on her knees and bargain with the Lord for deliverance. More often than not, thanks to the benevolence of the Almighty, her conundrum would reach a satisfactory solution. But, never in her history of misadventures had He answered her prayer before she even got to the ‘Amen,’ proving that He’d seen the problem coming and was already several steps ahead in solving it.

There on her sofa sat Charles, the young man from Albuquerque she met last summer, who risked his life and freedom to help her. Thanks to Charles, when she was unexpectedly waylaid, he provided an unconventional method of travel to Little Rock, where she was able to reconnect with Katherine and complete her journey to Washington, D.C., to visit the president. (Mrs. Odboddy And Then There Was a Tiger)

Now, some months later, imagine her surprise to find Charles at her door. Surely, God sent him to Newbury to help save the tiger.

One problem solved, but many more ahead. Hope you’ll all enjoy this new exciting and humorous adventure.

Contact me at   Elaine.Faber@mindcandymysteries.com  to order an autographed paperback novel. 

https://tinyurl.com/5xah4cnt    for an Amazon e-book ($3.99)