Title The Fog Ladies: In the Soup
Author Susan McCormick
Genre Cozy Mystery
Publisher The Wild Rose Press, Inc
“There was a man in the soup.” When the Fog Ladies volunteer at a local San Francisco soup kitchen, these spunky elderly friends plus one overworked young doctor-in-training envision washing and chopping and serving. Not murder. Now the soup kitchen is doomed, and the mysteries have just begun. Was the death rooted in a long-ago grudge? Can they save the soup kitchen? Will they find the killer? Could the Fog Ladies, too, end up “in the soup”?
“He boiled up?” Enid Carmichael had never heard anything so crazy. All that work they put into those vegetables, all that washing and chopping.
“He was dead, all right. William and Sadie arrived right after me. They had been to the farmers market for fresh parsley for the garnish. They said Cornelius was fine when they left. He was supposed to stir occasionally, and he must have fallen in by accident. He had pulled up a chair to stand on because the pot was so tall. William didn’t use a chair, but Cornelius must have needed it, and then got off balance. What a horrible way to go.”
“Poor man.” Harriet Flynn crossed herself. “May his soul rest in peace.”
Mrs. Carmichael started to ask if the contest was still on, but Harriet wasn’t done. With barely a pause, she said, “What happened to Boris?”
“He’s with Geraldine, Cornelius’s ex-wife. She was going to take him for the day anyway while the judges were there, and she showed up early for some reason, which was very lucky since Boris was beside himself.”
“Poor Boris,” said Mrs. Flynn. “I hope he’s all right.”
“Yes, that poor little dog. He must have seen the whole thing. Oh, dear. Oh, dear,” said Alma Gordon.
Enid Carmichael’s own dog, Snowball, would be mighty upset if he saw her topple into a soup pot. Well, maybe not upset. Maybe more interested in the soup. Mrs. Carmichael had been in intensive care once for a whole week, and when she returned the dog showed how much he missed her by eating her “Get Well” fruit candies. He had diarrhea for days. Boris sounded more distraught.
“I told the soup kitchen I would come back this afternoon to help them clean up. I said we’d all come. It’s too big a job for the two of them, and they’re pretty shaken,” Frances Noonan said.
Just like her to volunteer them all, Enid thought.
“Of course we’ll come,” Harriet Flynn said.
What was it now with Harriet Flynn? She was suddenly as much a do-gooder as Frances Noonan.
“Oh, dear. I don’t know if I want to see that big pot,” Alma Gordon said.
“What about the soup?” Enid Carmichael said. “No Big Pot Soup Contest? The judges aren’t coming?”
“There was a man in the soup,” Frances Noonan said.
“But he must be gone now,” Enid persisted.
Frances Noonan shivered. “Yes, he’s gone. It took all three of us to get him out. The police were quite perturbed that we moved him, but we didn’t know he was dead. We thought we were saving him. Oh, my. It was quite a sight.”
“What, what?” Enid said. “What was a sight?”
Sarah spoke for the first time. The girl looked peaked and hadn’t touched the spice cake Frances had set before her. Enid had had two pieces, herself. “Please don’t tell us,” Sarah said. “Burns that severe…”
Mrs. Carmichael saw Frances Noonan shiver again. Everything interesting that happened to the Fog Ladies, Frances was there, and Enid was not. So unfair.
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Susan McCormick is an award-winning writer and doctor who lives in Seattle. She graduated from Smith College and George Washington University School of Medicine, with additional medical training in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, where she lived in an elegant apartment building much like the one in the book. Susan served as a doctor in the U.S. Army for nine years before moving to the Pacific Northwest and civilian practice. In addition to the Fog Ladies series, she also wrote Granny Can’t Remember Me, a lighthearted picture book about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and The Antidote, a timely middle grade and up medical/STEM fantasy. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two sons. She loves giant dogs and has loved an English mastiff, Earl, and two Newfoundlands, Edward and Albert.
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