Dead Men Don't Eat Cookies (A Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery)

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9780425260715: Dead Men Don't Eat Cookies (A Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery)

As the national bestselling Cookie Cutter Shop mysteries return, things are heating up for Olivia Greyson, her best friend, Maddie, and the rest of the crew at The Gingerbread House—until a cold case puts their plans on ice...

Olivia’s mom, Ellie, is always cooking up new schemes, but her latest idea has Livie and Maddie especially excited. Ellie’s converting an old boarding house into an arts and crafts school—one that, of course, houses a kitchen for those interested in baking. But right as renovations start, the workers discover a pile of bones buried within the boarding house’s walls, evidence of a long forgotten crime.

A silver necklace with a cookie cutter charm is found within the remains, convincing one of the workers that the bones are the remains of her father, who’s been missing for over five years. Of course, Livie and Maddie can’t resist the allure of investigating. But they’re about to discover that digging up the secrets of the past can be deadly dangerous...

RECIPES INCLUDED

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About the Author:

Virginia Lowell is the national bestseling author of the Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery series (Cookies and Scream, One Dead Cookie, When the Cookie Crumbles).

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

Olivia Greyson opened a kitchen cabinet and reached for a bag of flour that wasn’t there. With an impatient sigh, she reminded herself that she was working in an unfamiliar kitchen. She and her business partner, Maddie Briggs, had organized the kitchen, which was twice the size of their own cozy little kitchen back at The Gingerbread House. This kitchen, with its state-of-the-art appliances and many cabinets, felt less homey to Olivia. She loved to lose herself in the pleasures of baking decorated cutout cookies, such as the feel of a cutter as it slid through the dough and the warm, sweet aroma of the cookies. She loved to watch a colorful design emerge as she squeezed royal icing through the tip of a pastry bag. To Olivia, having to stop and hunt for baking ingredients felt like hearing the doorbell ring as she drifted into a cookie-filled dream.

Olivia shut the cabinet door with more force than she’d intended, though the new magnet kept it from bouncing back at her. “This is very irritating,” she said as she swiped at a lock of auburn hair that flopped over one eye. “I could have sworn we had another bag of flour. There’s no more sugar, either. I’d so rather be back at The Gingerbread House, baking in our own simple, well-stocked kitchen. Maddie, remind me why we agreed to work here, and make it convincing.”

Maddie, Olivia’s best friend since age ten, tousled her curly red hair over the sink to shed a dusting of flour. “Because, my cranky friend, we solemnly promised your mom we would help her achieve her dream of transforming this disreputable dump into an arts and crafts school. As I recall, you were all gung-ho about the idea. I believe you hoped it would keep Ellie too busy to pressure you into taking yoga classes.” Maddie straightened and tossed back her hair, which appeared to have ballooned by several inches.

“Well, it’s a reason, though I doubt Mom will ever give up pressuring me to take yoga.”

Wielding a pastry bag, Maddie piped a burnt orange outline around a baked and cooled cookie shaped like a saw. “Our delectable cookies are sorely needed to energize those hungry workers upstairs,” she reminded Olivia. “It’s tough work, transforming this old place into a structure capable of passing a housing inspection.” Maddie piped burnt orange polka dots on the saw-shaped cookie.

“Those dots look like rust spots,” Olivia said, nodding toward the cookie.

Maddie’s pale eyebrows lifted haughtily. “Thank you,” she said. “That’s the look I was aiming for. It’s a subtle yet tasty reminder not to leave tools out in the rain.”

Olivia snickered, awakening Spunky, her little Yorkshire terrier, who’d been snoozing on a soft blanket in the corner of the kitchen. Hoping for food, he yapped and flapped his tail.

“Not a chance, Spunks, my little con artist,” Olivia said fondly. He trotted over to her, and she scooped him up for a cuddle. “I must admit, I’m glad Spunky could come with us,” Olivia said as she rubbed his ears. Unlike the Gingerbread House kitchen, this was still considered private property. Since they weren’t preparing food to sell to the public, they were safe from the threat of a Health Department inspection.

Maddie finished decorating the last baked cookie, a wrench, with burnt orange candy stripes. “By the way,” she said, “if you were thinking about starting another batch of cookie dough, I put the flour on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, shoved toward the back, behind the bread and lunchmeat. The sugar is in there, too. It’s for their own protection.” Maddie glanced up at the stained ceiling. “I don’t want to be around when the workers rip down that ceiling. I’m still not convinced those mice have vacated the premises.”

“Yet another reason I’d rather be baking in the lovely kitchen of our own little shop.” Olivia opened the door of the newly installed refrigerator to retrieve the bag of flour.

“Point taken.” Before the refrigerator door slammed shut, Maddie reached inside to grab a disk of chilled cookie dough from the top shelf.

Olivia opened the fresh bag of flour and measured enough for one batch of dough. “I’ll feel more cheerful once I start another batch of cookie dough,” she said. “Besides, you and I usually bake all Sunday and Monday, while The Gingerbread House is closed. Where we bake isn’t really important. It’s the rolling, cutting, and decorating I truly love.”

“And the cookie sampling,” Maddie said.

“Can’t argue with that.” Olivia lowered the mixer beaters into the bowl, where sugar and butter waited to be creamed together. “Tomorrow we’ll be back in our own sweet, low-tech kitchen. Although I have to admit, it’s fun to watch those workers upstairs devour our cookies. I wish I could eat like that.”

“They will be renovating all those old rooms,” Maddie said. “They need sugar.” Her freckled brow furrowed as she assessed the cookies she’d finished decorating. Apparently satisfied, she said, “Personally, I think it’s fun to test out a newly renovated kitchen, especially when someone else is paying for top-notch equipment. We should get one of these silicone rolling pins for the store kitchen. I used hardly any flour to roll out the dough, plus this is so easy to wash.” Maddie held the rolling pin by one handle and pointed it toward the ceiling like a drum major’s baton. “This isn’t solid wood, but it might make an effective weapon should we ever again have to protect ourselves from a murderer.”

“When it comes to confrontations with killers, we have more than fulfilled our lifetime quota.” Olivia nestled the unopened bag of flour in a cloth sack to be carted back to The Gingerbread House.

Maddie applied the rolling pin to the center of the chilled dough and began to roll it out. “I do get a kick out of making cutout cookies in the kitchen of an old flophouse.”

“This place didn’t start out as a flophouse, you know,” Olivia said. “Mom told me it was a boarding house built in the 1920s for single workers aspiring to middle-class status. Respectable single women could live here alone, as long as they had jobs. Then the Great Depression hit Chatterley Heights, not to mention the rest of the—is that your cell phone blasting? It can’t be mine, because I left it charging in my own humble kitchen, where it is safe from your compulsion to mess with other people’s ringtones.”

“Ha! I knew it,” Maddie said. “You’ve been forgetting your phone on purpose, just so I can’t spice up your boring taste in ringtones.” When her cell phone blared again, Maddie said, “My hands are covered with flour. Would you see if that’s someone worth talking to, like my sweet, hunky husband or my aunt Sadie?”

Olivia reached toward the kitchen counter and scooped up Maddie’s cell phone. “It probably isn’t Lucas or Aunt Sadie,” Olivia said as she checked the caller ID. “It’s a local number, though. I don’t recognize it. Maybe one of the workers upstairs is calling you for some reason. I suppose we’d better answer.”

Maddie grabbed a towel and wiped the flour off her hands before she took the cell phone from Olivia. “Hi,” Maddie said. “Who are you?” Her forehead crinkled in puzzlement. “It’s your mom,” she whispered to Olivia. “Ellie, why are you . . . ? Yeah, I know, Livie is always forgetting her phone. It drives me crazy. But what happened to yours? Did the poor, ancient creature finally die? Maybe now you’ll consider getting a smartphone. I could help you set it up.” Maddie’s frown deepened as she listened. “Ellie, slow down, I can’t understand you. Is that pandemonium I hear in the background?” Maddie glanced at Olivia and shrugged. “All right, ours not to question why. We’re on our way upstairs.” Maddie hung up and slid her phone into the pocket of her jeans. Spreading a clean towel over her partially rolled dough, she said, “Our instant presence is required upstairs in room eight.”

“What on earth . . . ? Has one of the workers been injured?”

“I don’t know,” Maddie said, “but all will be revealed. From the sound of it, your mother was busy coping with someone in hysterics. Maybe several someones. Prepare for anything.” Spunky left his blanket and ran to join his human buddies. He barely made it into the hallway before Maddie closed the kitchen door.

“Just an ordinary day in Chatterley Heights, Maryland,” Olivia muttered as she followed Maddie and Spunky up the rickety staircase to the second floor. They walked down the dimly lit corridor on stained, threadbare carpet to room number eight. Through the thin wood of the closed door, Olivia heard a jumble of voices. She turned the knob, but the door cracked open before she could give it a push. Olivia recognized her mother’s hazel eyes, or at least one of them, peeking out at her. Ellie Greyson-Meyers’s small, yet remarkably strong arm snaked out, clutched Olivia’s wrist, and yanked her into the room. Maddie and Spunky followed.

At first, Olivia saw nothing to explain her mother’s urgent summons. The room was littered with stained and splintered boards, along with equipment she couldn’t identify by name. No one appeared to be working. Five workers clustered together in a corner of the room, near a bare window with a northern exposure. Their spirited discussion halted abruptly when they noticed Olivia and Maddie. Through the window behind the workers, Olivia saw a small forest of overgrown trees.

Olivia’s tall, gangly younger brother, Jason, stood apart from the group. For once, Jason wasn’t cracking jokes. As he stared down at his feet, a lock of brown hair fell across his forehead. He ignored it. When Spunky trotted toward him, Jason’s sober expression brightened.

A woman huddled on the floor against the west wall. Long, wavy chestnut hair fell forward as she hid her face in her hands. From the distressed skinny jeans that clung to the woman’s slender legs, Olivia guessed she was fairly young.

One worker broke ranks to join the young woman. Olivia did a double take as she recognized her stepfather’s cousin, Calliope Zimmermann. She was in charge of the work crew, in addition to providing substantial funding for the project. In work boots, jeans, a loose sweatshirt, and a hardhat, Calliope looked indistinguishable from the male workers. As usual, her long, plain face was free of makeup. A fringe of gray-tinged brown hair showed beneath her hardhat. Calliope slid down the wall next to the young woman and handed her a wad of tissue. “Steady on now, kid. Blow your nose. When the police finally show up, they’ll want to ask you some questions.”

“I’ve told you over and over, my name is Alicia, not kid. Besides, I’m nineteen years old.” With a sulky frown, Alicia snatched the tissues from Calliope’s hand.

“Yeah, I know.” Calliope removed her hardhat and ran her fingers through her matted hair. “I just wanted to make you mad. Mad is better at a time like this. Believe me, I’ve been through it, and I was a lot younger than you. Why don’t you go home? You only work half days, anyway.”

“You’re only saying that because I don’t do anything but fetch stuff,” Alicia said. “You never let me do any real work. I need the money, you know. I won’t make enough waitressing.”

Calliope sighed loudly. She was not a small woman, but she hopped to her feet with no apparent effort and ambled back toward the other workers.

“Mom, what the heck is going on here?” Olivia asked Ellie in a low voice. “Why were the police called?”

Calliope heard the question and joined them. “It looks like we’ve got ourselves another murder here in Chatterley Heights,” she said.

Alicia wailed into her wad of tissues.

“I’ll go comfort Alicia.” Ellie glanced toward the east end of the room, where a sheet of plywood leaned against the wall. “I’ve already seen what there is to see. Come on, Spunks, we are needed.” The little Yorkie followed her eagerly.

Calliope motioned to Olivia and Maddie to follow her across the room. “Alicia is convinced it’s her father in there,” Calliope said, nodding toward the plywood.

“Her father is inside the wall?” Maddie exchanged a quick glance with Olivia. “Is Alicia . . . I mean . . .”

“Sane?” Calliope shrugged her broad shoulders. “She’s emotional, that’s for sure. Won’t stop bawling.” When they were a couple of feet away from the wall, Calliope signaled them to stay where they were. Olivia glanced back at her mother, who was sitting on the floor next to Alicia, an arm around the girl’s shaking shoulders. Spunky gazed at Alicia, his head tilted, as if he were trying to puzzle out what the sobbing sounds meant.

The workers had begun to chat among themselves. Jason broke away from the group and crossed the room to join Calliope, who spoke softly to him. Jason nodded. He positioned himself at one end of the plywood. Calliope took hold of the opposite end, and together they eased it away from the opening in the wall. Olivia assumed they were trying not to disturb the site any more than necessary. When the plywood scraped against the floor, Olivia heard a cry from across the room. Probably Alicia, Olivia thought, but she didn’t turn around to check. She couldn’t drag her gaze away from the wall.

“Livie, dear,” Ellie said, “Alicia and I will be downstairs in the kitchen making sandwiches and coffee. Did I hear you mention you’d finished baking some cookies?”

Olivia answered her mother’s question without turning her head. “Oh, sure, Mom, eat the cookies, drink the coffee. There’s plenty of both.”

“You’ll need to move some dough off the table,” Maddie said. “Just wad it in a towel and stick it in the fridge.”

The workers shuffled closer to the wall to get another look inside. “You guys clear out,” Calliope said. “You can take the rest of the day off, with pay. Stop for lunch on your way out. Wait for me in the kitchen and don’t leave before I get there.” The men whooped. “And if I find out you’ve told anyone about what we discovered in that wall, I’ll fire you on the spot. Understood?”

The workers all nodded vigorously and filed out of the room.

“Everyone in Chatterley Heights will hear about these bones by sundown at the latest,” Maddie said. “You know that, right?”

“Sure, I know that,” Calliope said. “But I’m betting my threat will slow them down, maybe make them think twice. I’m paying them well, and they need the work.”

Jason and Calliope leaned the plywood against the wall, revealing a cavity more than a foot deep. The area seemed generous for a wall, but Olivia knew that walls had often been thicker in the past. No one spoke for a time. There wasn’t much to say because there wasn’t much to see beyond some bones. Olivia was too embarrassed to admit, at least in public, that she’d envisioned a skeleton more like the plastic one her family had hung on their front door every Halloween.

“Huh,” Maddie whispered. “Is that all there is?”

“Jeez, sorry to disappoint you guys,” Jason said.

Olivia felt something brush against her ankle. She glanced down to see Spunky sneak toward the cavity. His fluffy tail swished with eager curiosity as he sniffed the air. “Spunky, no!” Olivia grabbed him and lifted his tiny body to her chest. “Those bones are not for you,” she whispered in his ear. He squirmed in her arms, clearl...

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Lowell, Virginia
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Descrizione libro Berkley Prime Crime, New York, 2015. Soft cover. Condizione libro: New. No Jacket. 1st Edition. First edition first printing of the sixth novel in the Cookie Cutter Shop series. In fine unread condition. Codice libro della libreria 19647

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Descrizione libro Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2015. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. As the national bestselling Cookie Cutter Shop mysteries return, things are heating up for Olivia Greyson, her best friend, Maddie, and the rest of the crew at The Gingerbread House until a cold case puts their plans on ice Olivia s mom, Ellie, is always cooking up new schemes, but her latest idea has Livie and Maddie especially excited. Ellie s converting an old boarding house into an arts and crafts school one that, of course, houses a kitchen for those interested in baking. But right as renovations start, the workers discover a pile of bones buried within the boarding house s walls, evidence of a long forgotten crime. A silver necklace with a cookie cutter charm is found within the remains, convincing one of the workers that the bones are the remains of her father, who s been missing for over five years. Of course, Livie and Maddie can t resist the allure of investigating. But they re about to discover that digging up the secrets of the past can be deadly dangerous RECIPES INCLUDED. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780425260715

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ISBN 10: 0425260712 ISBN 13: 9780425260715
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Descrizione libro Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2015. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. As the national bestselling Cookie Cutter Shop mysteries return, things are heating up for Olivia Greyson, her best friend, Maddie, and the rest of the crew at The Gingerbread House until a cold case puts their plans on ice Olivia s mom, Ellie, is always cooking up new schemes, but her latest idea has Livie and Maddie especially excited. Ellie s converting an old boarding house into an arts and crafts school one that, of course, houses a kitchen for those interested in baking. But right as renovations start, the workers discover a pile of bones buried within the boarding house s walls, evidence of a long forgotten crime. A silver necklace with a cookie cutter charm is found within the remains, convincing one of the workers that the bones are the remains of her father, who s been missing for over five years. Of course, Livie and Maddie can t resist the allure of investigating. But they re about to discover that digging up the secrets of the past can be deadly dangerous RECIPES INCLUDED. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780425260715

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Descrizione libro Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2015. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. As the national bestselling Cookie Cutter Shop mysteries return, things are heating up for Olivia Greyson, her best friend, Maddie, and the rest of the crew at The Gingerbread House until a cold case puts their plans on ice Olivia s mom, Ellie, is always cooking up new schemes, but her latest idea has Livie and Maddie especially excited. Ellie s converting an old boarding house into an arts and crafts school one that, of course, houses a kitchen for those interested in baking. But right as renovations start, the workers discover a pile of bones buried within the boarding house s walls, evidence of a long forgotten crime. A silver necklace with a cookie cutter charm is found within the remains, convincing one of the workers that the bones are the remains of her father, who s been missing for over five years. Of course, Livie and Maddie can t resist the allure of investigating. But they re about to discover that digging up the secrets of the past can be deadly dangerous RECIPES INCLUDED. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780425260715

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