The gingham curtains in the kitchen window fluttered in the early morning breeze. Butter sizzled in the pan and I added in the minced jalapenos. A mixture of lightly beaten eggs with a few splashes of half & half went in next. I reduced the heat and gently stirred the eggs. A pile of grated cheddar stood ready to be folded in at the right moment.
“Jalapeno cheese eggs?” Motee Ba asked, coming into the kitchen.
She pulled down an apron from a peg, ready to get my grandpa’s breakfast.
“Pappa’s soft boiled egg is ready,” I told her, pointing to an egg sitting in a cup. “And his toast should be ready now.”
The toast popped up just then. I hit the gong with a flourish, a remnant from my grandpa’s life in the colonies.
My grandpa hobbled in, tapping his cane, demanding breakfast.
My name is Meera Patel and I am a 20 something grad school dropout from Swan Creek, Oklahoma. I had enough of designing networks and warding off evil cyber attacks one day. Now I shelve books for a living. My Dad, a department head at the local university, is not pleased.
Our six bedroom ranch houses the entire family. It’s the famed ‘joint family’ of Indian culture. We didn’t get the brief on separate households. Nah!
I gobbled my eggs and toast and headed out the door before anyone handed me a list of chores. My beat up old Camry started at the first try and I made tracks to my pal Tony’s gas station.
Tony Sinclair is my best friend, and maybe a little more. We haven’t explored that yet. You see, the ‘little more’ never occurs to both of us at the same time. I grabbed the candy bar Tony tossed in the air while he rang up my coffee.
“We on for lunch today?”
I nodded. “Thai food?”
Tony picked up a copy of the Swan Creek Daily.
“Did you read about this? Old lady down by the lake got robbed in broad daylight.”
Our small town is a peaceful place to live in most of the time except for a murder or two once in a while.
“Who got robbed? Does it say?”
“Oh, she’s in Motee Ba’s Bingo group. Is she alright?”
“She slept through it,” Tony said. “Police are investigating.”
We both rolled our eyes at that. Our local police force leaves much to be desired.
“Maybe you’ll get a call from Stan Miller.”
“I want to stay away from any more sleuthing, Tony. You know Dad’s given me a strict warning. He’ll be throwing me out soon.”
“You can come and live with me,” he winked.
Tony dropped out of law school after a personal setback. He lives with his parents too. We are a pair, aren’t we?
“I don’t see Aunt Reema going against Dad’s wishes.”
Tony’s mother’s from India too. I love her more than Dad’s sister who rules over us from her kingdom in New Jersey.
“If Stan calls, you won’t be able to refuse. Wanna bet?”
My mind was miles away, wondering who was targeting the old and helpless people in town.
The day passed with plenty of shelving. A hefty serving of fiery Red Thai Curry for lunch was the only respite I had from it. I stepped out of the library the moment the clock struck 5 PM.
Five mintues later, I was pulling up in front of Sylvie’s Café and Diner. Sylvie’s diner is a fixture in town. Everyone from absent minded Pioneer Poly professors to grocery store clerks eventually ends up there.
Sylvie hugged me and her husband Jon came out with steaming bowls of gumbo.
“You’re just in time, sweetie.”
My friend Becky came out of the kitchen. Becky works at Sylvie’s full time. I put in some hours there helping them with the new Indian fusion menu.
“I need your help with the fried chicken today. The marinade doesn’t seem right.”
The Masala Fried Chicken is the latest hot selling item at Sylvie’s. I perfected the recipe over summer. It’s all written down for Becky but she insists it needs my magic touch.
“Any word on Ophelia?” I asked Sylvie.
Sylvie is better informed than the Swan Creek Daily.
“She was drugged,” Sylvie whispered.
I tried not to get too excited. I’d promised my Dad to stay away from this kind of stuff. But it looked like I would have to break my promise.
You can read more about Meera in Gone With The Wings, the first book in the NEW “Meera Patel” mystery series.
Author Leena Clover announces a brand new cozy mystery series set in a small Oklahoma college town. Mystery readers will enjoy this culinary cozy murder mystery featuring plenty of yummy recipes like Masala Fried Chicken and Shish Kabob Blue Plate Special.
Meera Patel is back home with the family after she dropped out of graduate school. Now she shelves books for a living and rustles up fusion recipes at Sylvie’s Cafe & Diner. Everything is fine until her old nemesis Prudence Walker floats up in the local pond. Meera is accused of murder! Well, she did publicly declare Prudence would drop dead.
Meera cries foul and screams police harassment. But she has no defense when she is accused of a second crime. Flanked by pals Tony and Becky, Meera puts in the leg work, trying to solve clues and discard red herrings.
Fall in Oklahoma has never been more exciting.
Cozy mystery fans will love this new mystery series featuring an Asian American amateur sleuth. There is a full cast of characters with a professor father, young sibling, old grandparents, loyal friends and a candid glimpse into South Asian culture.
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Meet the author
Leena Clover is the author of the brand new Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series, starring a 20-something Desi girl as the protagonist. The series is set in a small Oklahoma college town Meera calls home.
Leena Clover offers plenty of clues for her readers so that they can solve the mystery as they read along. Readers can expect a unique look into Indian/ South Asian culture and plenty of yummy recipes.
All comments are welcomed.