To Minnie Markwood, the mystery shopping and consumer survey marvel who sets out, along with her sidekicks, Rashawna and Joel, to take down the Red Shoelace Killer. By some wacko twist of fate they form the most unlikely crime fighting team you can imagine, but you might wind up rooting for them just the same. I hope.
Here’s the deal. Minnie is not real young (like Rashawna), not real old (like her Toyota) and not a bandana wearing hot head (like Joel). No, no, Minnie knows what she’s all about. She’s a childless widow of ten years running, once worked as an assistant librarian, is a tad – ahem – overweight, and the proud owner of 300 hundred pairs of earrings. Now if that doesn’t qualify her to be a crime fighter without peer I don’t know what does. Oh – and she’s also addicted to Taffy Tails.
When she worked in the library Minnie gobbled up all things Agatha Christie and considers herself the equal of Miss Marple. Maybe even better – maybe. She also took a criminology course after her husband died and there she met Dan Horowitz, who becomes her mentor. He and Minnie have the same general feeling about the perpetrators of foul deeds. Quit fooling around and go get the bad guys! Dan is real handy to have around.
Minnie’s first crack at a bad guy comes when she hears a confession one lovely autunm day at work. In the hidey hole in the Roaring Gate Mall in Albany, New York, where she and Rashawna are doing deodorant soap surveys for Chapel Marketing, he walks in. It’s late afternoon and Minnie is caught mid-snooze (things are a bit slow in the mall after 4), but that doesn’t keep her snoop radar from skyrocketing when, behind the partition, she hears the words Red Shoelace Killer. Unfortunately, the ‘confessor’ bolts for the exit when Rashawna click-clacks (man, those shoes) into the hole and scares him off. Dang!
Taffy Tails? They just happen to be Minnie’s favorite candy. I loosely – okay, totally – based it on the very real candy, Cow Tails. And if you can’t get them where you are I feel sooo sorry for you. Long caramel whip with a creamy white center running through; sticks to your teeth for hours. Yum. And Minnie’s Taffy Tail addiction compels her to visit the Friendly Dollar Store (Tails on sale six for a buck) shortly after the confessor escapes the hidey hole. And there – can you believe it – she sees red shoelaces, on cardboard clown shoes in amongst other party junk, right there in front of God and everybody at the checkout! And this is where Minnie feels the Nudge of Fate poking her left buttock and prodding her to seize this cold case as her own. If the Albany Police Department hasn’t been able to solve this mystery in over two years, why shouldn’t Miss Marp – uh – Minnie give it a go?
So now, you’re so intrigued you can hardly stand it. Right? Minnie's whole adventure will be available come November and I'll do my part by reminding you often.
Next: the lowdown on Rashawna who is A Piece of Work.
Image: Ambro Free Digital Photos