What’s it like being a pie baker? There’s a lot of pie, which is always a good thing. There’s also a lot of work.
It’s a good thing I never needed much sleep, because baker’s hours start painfully early. I wake up before dawn has even considered cracking to start work at Pie Town.
Since Pie Town is a start-up, I’m not as well staffed yet as I’d like. That means I get to do the early A.M. prep work – chopping fruits and veggies for our sweet and savory pies. My brain tank is usually on empty at that hour, and chopping is about all I can handle.
Fortunately, my right-hand woman and pie-crust specialist, Charlene, also doesn’t sleep much. I think it has something to do with her being seventy-something going on fourteen. While I chop, take deliveries, and organize, she’s holed up in my specially built, temperature-controlled flour-work room, fiddling with her super-secret crust recipe.
I flip the sign in the front window to Open at six A.M. and set out the coffee urn. We’re self-serve in the mornings, and we usually attract an older crowd who likes the cheap coffee and discounted, day-old hand pies.
While they gossip and sip coffee, I bake. And that’s about when my staff start to trickle in. The baking winds down right before the customers wind up, at noon. Then the feeding frenzy begins. Weekends are our best time, when the beach crowds, sun and wind burnt, tumble into the shop.
Or at least weekends had been our best time. But then Joe, who ran the comic book shop next door, keeled over after trying my spinach and zucchini quiche. I am a hundred percent. . . Ninety-nine percent sure there was nothing in that quiche that could have killed him. I mean, it’s not like we keep rat poison lying around the kitchen.
But I can’t stop feeling guilty. I liked Joe, and he died on my linoleum floor. Charlene’s convinced he was murdered. I don’t know what to think.
Unfortunately, all I’ve got is time to think. My customers have disappeared, and I’m nearly out of business. Free-wheeling Charlene thinks she’s helping by dragging me off to investigate every odd happening in San Nicholas. And for a small town, there are a lot of odd happenings. UFOs. Bigfoot. Ghost jaguars. Or at least, that’s Charlene’s side of the story. I’m lukewarm on her topsy-turvy conspiracy theories. She hasn’t got a shred of evidence that any of it has anything to do with Joe’s death.
Honestly, I’d just rather be baking.
You can read more about Val in The Quiche and the Dead, the first book in the NEW “Pie Town” mystery series, coming October 31, 2017.
Is Val’s breakfast pie the quiche of death?
Owning her own business seemed like pie in the sky to Valentine Harris when she moved to the coastal California town of San Nicholas, expecting to start a new life with her fiancé. Five months—and a broken engagement—later, at least her dream of opening a pie shop has become a reality. But when one of her regulars keels over at the counter while eating a quiche, Val feels like she’s living a nightmare.
After the police determine the customer was poisoned, business at Pie Town drops faster than a fallen crust. Convinced they’re both suspects, Val’s flaky, seventy-something pie crust maker Charlene drags her boss into some amateur sleuthing. At first Val dismisses Charlene’s half-baked hypotheses, but before long the ladies uncover some shady dealings hidden in fog-bound San Nicholas. Now Val must expose the truth—before a crummy killer tries to shut her pie hole.
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About the author
Kirsten Weiss worked overseas for nearly twenty years in the fringes of the former USSR, Africa, and South-east Asia. Her experiences abroad sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.
Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes genre-blending steampunk suspense, urban fantasy, and mystery, mixing her experiences and imagination to create a vivid world of magic and mayhem.
Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine. Sign up for her newsletter to get free updates on her latest work at kirstenweiss.com.
All comments are welcomed.