Thanks for inviting me over, Debra, to help celebrate the release of Murder at the Lobstah Shack at the end of this month!
I love little kids. I know you are a new grandma, Debra. I’m not one yet, although I’m eager to be. In the meantime, I’m close to my goddaughter’s little ones, a four-year-old pistol of a girl and her baby brother, now four months old.
So, when I was designing my Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries series a few years ago, it came to me that protagonist Mac Almeida’s brother Derrick would be a single father of a little girl named Coquille, whom everyone in Westham calls Cokey. Here’s a bit of backstory from the new book:
Cokey’s mother had taken her to France to live as a newborn. She and Derrick had been a couple but hadn’t married, and he couldn’t legally prevent her from moving abroad with the baby. When my niece turned three, her mother asked Derrick to come and get their daughter. After that, she basically dropped communications. Our parents stepped in to help—Cokey stayed with Mom or Pa most afternoons—and the girl was a resilient little beam of sunshine nearly all the time. But sadness at not being with her Maman popped up from time to time.
Sadly, the victim in Murder at the Lobstah Shack is the mother of one of Cokey’s best friends. Mac knows Cokey realizing Kendall is now motherless would remind her of her own mother’s abandonment.
At Mac’s Bikes not long after the death, Derrick brings in a drawing Cokey made for her friend.
Cokey’s picture showed two big smiling balloon heads with legs and hands sticking out from each. One head had yellow hair and the other brown, and the two girls were holding hands. Cokey had signed it with her beginner capital letters, including the E facing backwards.
Here’s another bit from when Cokey is helping Mac stock the shelves of the Free Food Market for the needy in town.
Cokey’s blond angel curls were in two tiny braids today, with wavy wisps that popped out everywhere. “The children are going to be happy with juice boxes for their lunches, aren’t they, Titi Mac?” she lisped.
“You bet.” I reached down and held up my hand for a high five. “Nice job stocking, Cokester.”
She slapped it with her little hand. “Nice job with the peppers.”
“I’m sorry about your friend’s mommy,” I said. “Daddy showed me the picture you drew. That was really nice.”
“He taked it to her mailbox,” Cokey said with a solemn look. “It’ll make her feel better.”
Cokey has become one of my favorite characters. She even plays a part in helping crack the case in the book. Her coloring is different than my sweet Miss C’s, but they are the same age.
Readers: who is your favorite fictional – or real – child? I’ll send one commenter a copy of Murder at the Taffy Shop, the previous book in the series so you’ll be ready for the November 30 release of the new one!
In Murder at the Lobstah Shack, Tulia Peters’ Lobstah Shack offers locals and tourists in Westham, Massachusetts, some of Cape Cod’s most delectable cuisine. But when the body of Annette DiCicero is discovered in the kitchen’s walk-in freezer—with a custom-made claw-handled lobster pick lodged in her neck—spoiled appetites are the least of Tulia’s worries. After a heated public argument with Annette, Tulia is a person of interest in the homicide investigation. To clear Tulia’s name, Mac and the Cozy Capers Book Group snoop into Annette’s personal life. Between Annette’s temperamental husband, his shady business partner, and two women tied to Annette’s past life as “Miss New Bedford”, several suspects and multiple motives emerge. And they’re getting crabby about Mac intruding on their affairs.
Maddie Day pens the bestselling Country Store Mysteries and Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. As Edith Maxwell, she writes the Agatha Award-winning Quaker Midwife Mysteries and short crime fiction. She’s a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime and a member of Mystery Writers of America, and lives north of Boston with her beau, where she cooks, gardens, and wastes time on Facebook.
If you’d like an autographed copy of any of her books, please order it from Jabberwocky Books and she’ll run over and sign a copy for you. Murder at the Lobstah Shack is also available wherever else books are sold, including here.
Maddie Day Author
Maddie Day Author