The third in the Scrappy Librarian Mysteries series, COOK THE BOOKS, will be published April 15, 2014, by Crickhollow Books as a Crispin Imprint. COOK continues the adventures of tough but kindly Juanita Wills, librarian in Wyndham, OK, and the protagonist of BOOKMARKED FOR MURDER (published 2002 by The Fiction Works) and DEATH BOOKS A RETURN (published 2008 by Pemberley Press).
In RETURN , Juanita considered becoming an adult-literacy tutor in order to help someone else read better and hopefully learn to love the printed word as she does. In COOK, she is tutoring Tracy Marie Riek, a bright, hard-working young mother who struggles with a reading problem caused by dyslexia. Tracy Marie often vents to her tutor about her husband’s inability to handle money, and they joke about ways the tutee might poison Bobby Riek.
When Bobby dies while at work at Fix-It-Yourself Warehouse (FIY) in Wyndham , after eating a lunch his wife packed for him, Tracy Marie is the main suspect. Juanita can’t believe her tutee is guilty, however, and sets out to prove her innocent. Juanita finds plenty of other suspects, including a fellow warehouseman at FIY who blames Bobby for his firing; an FIY bookkeeper with whom Bobby had had a heated altercation over a time card; Bobby’s best friend, who coveted Tracy Marie for himself; the woman whose bakery produced the chocolate cupcake used to poison Bobby, also the mother of a young woman whom Bobby had seduced and who killed herself over him; a library part-time employee whose young brother Bobby had teased unmercifully; and Bobby’s sister-in-law Olive, who resented his behavior toward her sister.
Juanita investigates, and clues lead her first one way, then another. Finally, she risks her own life in a daring chase through a flooded area of Wyndham before exposing the real murderer.