The author of Beach Dreams (2008), Trish Perry lives in Northern Virginia with her hilarious teenaged son. She discovered her love of writing while earning a degree in Psychology. She switched career paths in 1997 and never looked back. Her debut novel, The Guy I’m Not Dating, placed second in the 2007 FHL Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, and her second novel, Too Good to Be True, is a current finalist in the 2008 FHL IRCC.
A LITTLE TOO COZY MYSTERY
No novelist wants to put her readers to sleep. But how about her villain?
Let’s set our scene. The morning rain has passed. It’s a sun-drenched day in suburban Whitley Bay, England. We enter a charming middle-class home in the heart of town. Our lovely heroine—Heather Stephenson—is busy at her ironing board, crisping her darling husband’s shirts and reciting aloud her favorite Bible verses. During a particularly quiet moment, she thinks she might have heard something back in the bedroom. She investigates.
No, Heather! Not back there!
For one disoriented minute she takes it all in. Dresser drawers are open, clothes are scattered, and jewelry boxes are turned upside down on the bed. Then Heather notices a motionless leg sticking out from under her bed, and hears the sound again.
Snoring. A burglar is taking a nap under her bed.
Can you believe that? I didn’t either. I mean, who irons anymore?
Let’s see if we can’t muster up some sympathy for our villain—no flat, one-dimensional characters for us. Young Mark Smith, surely a victim of sorrowful circumstances, had nothing to do that morning. His choices were:
Go to university
Mark clearly knew where his strengths lay. And he was clever, too.
Breaking into an occupied home in broad daylight—you think that’s easy? So to sharpen his instincts, Mark tanked up on plenty of vodka and Valium. By the time he tiptoed past Heather and her ironing board and looked for . . . what was it again? Ooooh pretty colors. I don’t feel so good.
Yes sir, there’s nothing like rifling through someone’s drawers before sliding under a king-size Sealy Posturepedic to catch a few well-earned Zs.
When Heather was unable to awaken Mark, she called 999 (that’s the British 911, just in case you’re ever in England and happen to meet Mark). She then proceeded to polish the dining room furniture and darn some socks until the police arrived.
Okay, maybe she didn’t polish and darn, but I’m still impressed with her housekeeping skills. I don’t know about you, but had they pulled Mark out from under my dust-bunny bed, he would have looked less like a burglar and more like a drunken Wookie.
Even more impressive was Heather’s cucumber-like coolness. I would have hauled heiny across town as soon as I saw that leg poking out from under my bed, but not Heather. And she was “unable to awaken” Mark? Hello? Quick show of hands: Who else would have tried to bust a chair over his head, just to keep him unconscious?
The court sentenced Mark to eighteen months for burglary. No word about any legal consequences for being drunk in public, abusing drugs, or exercising extreme stupidity without a license.
Do you think he might return to the scene of the crime? I don’t care if he prepares for weeks and waits until Heather is baking scones and shampooing the carpet. My money’s on Heather.