Behind the Register
The bell rings as you walk through the door of the small, brightly lit shop. The window display has drawn you in with its colorful items. Inside on the shelves are delightful objects: books, trinkets, toys. On the walls are quilts, antiques, works of art. Everything is spotless and enticing.
But behind the doors to the stockroom, under the register’s counter, is likely a small mess. Orders in process, supplies in a jumble, maybe even a dead body. If it’s a cozy mystery, that is.
The small town and the small retail shop are staples of cozy mystery fiction and this anthology, Little Shop of Murders, is testament to their variety and eternal appeal. I always wonder as I go through towns of all sizes and see independent entrepreneurs and their storefronts: what went into making that happen? What were their passions? What sort of person decided to open that storefront? Who the heck designed that sign? Who funded the shop? Are they successful or just hanging on?
We may skip the financial aspects of owning a small business in this anthology but all the other questions remain. Who runs that shop? Who owns it? Are they the village busybody? What would cause them to quit the business? In the mind of the writer, intrigue bubbles up.
In ‘Wild Irish Dreams,’ my short story in the anthology, main character Alix Thorssen owns an art gallery in Jackson Hole. In a previous story [Painted Truth] her partner and ex-boyfriend has been killed trying to save her life. She’s still recovering from that trauma when an old friend of both of theirs comes to town, looking for the boyfriend, Paolo. His motives are unclear at first but become very focused as the story progresses.
The four Alix Thorssen mysteries are my first published novels. I have also published a series set in pre-World War 2 Kansas City, several stand-alone thrillers, and my most popular series, the Bennett Sisters Mysteries, now 18 strong. The latest in that series is ‘Here There and Everywhere.’
I am thrilled to be in this anthology where all the proceeds go to reading charities in the UK, Ireland, and the US. There is no greater good than getting children to read and enjoying it, to my mind. I hope you enjoy ‘Little Shop of Murders’ as much as I do.