Some days, I still can’t believe I traded in my Dolce & Gabbana pumps for a chef’s hat. Not that I wear a chef’s hat when I bake dog and cat treats for my very best friends, but you know what I mean.
I’m Stan Connor, and I live in Frog Ledge, Connecticut. Before you ask, yes, my name is Stan. It’s my derivative of Kristan, since I didn’t want to be Kris like everybody else. And yes, I live in a town called Frog Ledge. Just moved here, actually. It’s a heck of a stretch from West Hartford, which had a little culture to it, not to mention a number of shopping options. Now, I have cows. And lots of those rolling hills country lovers rave about. Don’t get me wrong, I love cows. Still, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. But it grows on you. The only thing that’s been surprising is the amount of dead bodies this small town can collect. I mean, I hadn’t been here a week and I walk into the vet’s office with my cat, Nutty, and wham! There she is. The vet, dead, with kibble dumped on top of her. Like there was an animal revolt against bad food, or something.
But it wasn’t quite that simple.
Believe me, I tried to stay out of it. I mean, I didn’t even know this woman. But you know how these small towns are. (Well, actually I didn’t, but I found out pretty quick.) Everyone is suspicious of the newbie. I mean, not everyone. I made some lovely new friends that stood by me. But it’s hard, especially if you’re the newbie who calls in the dead body to the resident state trooper. The trooper, for one, considers that pretty suspicious. And quite a few townsfolk feel the same.
Nutty, for one, was quite displeased with the whole affair. Like all Maine coon cats, Nutty is pretty regal. And he doesn’t like changes to his routine. After suffering the indignity of being outsmarted into his carrier and hauled to a new vet, he then had to be subjected to a murder investigation and deal with the embarrassment of his mom being a murder suspect. At least I was able to redeem myself with some home baked, organic pumpkin treats – his favorite.
Despite the shadow this murder cast over my new life, I do like Frog Ledge. The people are really quirky and fun. Like Char and Ray, my new friends who own the B&B with all the alpacas. Or Izzy, the coffee shop owner. She’s got the best stuff – super strong coffee and yummy, healthy food. Not to mention pastries to die for. We hit it off right away!
But best of all, there are a lot of animals in Frog Ledge. I have to admit, I like animals better than most people. And word must have gotten out about my treats (I think Nutty sends out smoke signals or something) because I keep getting new four-legged friends on my doorstep. And they won’t leave until they eat. Perhaps the biggest offender is Duncan, the Weimaraner. He can spot me across town now. Knows I’m the one with the good food. Which usually means he’ll chase me down. But it’s okay, because his dad is pretty cute. Not that I would admit that to anyone. He owns the Irish pub in town, and it’s a pretty cool place. Even better because he lets Duncan “work” there too.
People tell me this organic pet food hobby of mine should be a full time job. Which is something I haven’t had since my job got eliminated a few months ago. I still wonder if I’ll end up back in corporate America at some point, but then I realize I’m pretty happy here baking my treats and researching new organic ingredients. Even if I don’t wear my fancy pumps while I’m working anymore. And I’m darn good with my money, so I don’t have to worry about getting a “real job” right now.
Maybe this pet food thing is the way to go. Now all I have to do is stay out of jail long enough to get the business plan written.
Thanks to Kensington, I have one (1) copy of KNEADING TO DIE to give away. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. Contest ends May 11; US entries only per publisher’s request.
Kneading to Die is the first in the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries, featuring Stan, Nutty and their friends in Frog Ledge. A Biscuit, A Casket, the second in the series, will be released in 2014.
Meet the author
Liz Mugavero is a corporate communications consultant and animal lover from the Boston, Mass. area, whose canine and feline rescues demand the best organic food and treats around. She’s also a former journalist, marketing and PR specialist, and assistant to a homeopathic veterinarian. Currently based near Hartford, Conn., she’s had plenty of exposure to the small town craziness of the Nutmeg State, and saw numerous opportunities for murder.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Salem State College and a Master of Arts in writing and publishing from Emerson College. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Sisters in Crime New England, Mystery Writers of America, and the Cat Writers’ Association.
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.