Forget Me Knot (A Quilting Mystery #1) - Mary Marks
This is the part of the book that sounds like an acceptance speech at an awards ceremony. (I should be so lucky.) Nevertheless, if not for the help and encouragement of so many people, this book would never have seen the light of day.
Top of the list: deepest thanks to my daughter Lisa Rojany Buccieri, who prodded me to take writing classes at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. You were right, honey. I needed help. Your support has meant the world to me.
Eternal gratitude to my teachers and mentors Jerrilyn Farmer and Barbara Abercrombie for believing in me and pushing me and telling me (oh so gently) when my work was crap. You brought out the best.
Appreciation and affection go to my writing posse, who gave me such valuable encouragement and feedback over the years: Cheryl Jacobs, Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler, Tracy Tatta, and Barbara Lodge. Too bad we missed being on Oprah’s Book Club by a couple of years. I am also indebted to my fellow workshop participants Cyndra Gernet and Lori Dillman for their perceptive feedback.
Special acknowledgment goes to a number of experts who generously shared their knowledge: Linda Greenberg Loper, Deputy DA (retired) Los Angeles County; Officer Rob Trulik, Senior Lead Officer LAPD; Barbara De Pol and Terry Hayes for their expertise in Catholic Church practices; and Hazel Wetts, who gives so generously of her time to the blind.
I am also grateful to my awesome agent and editor, Dawn Dowdle at Blue Ridge, for believing in my book and making me a better writer.
Finally, thanks to John Scognamiglio and all the wonderful folks at Kensington for helping me to put a check mark on my bucket list. You made my dream come true.
For years, Tuesday mornings were sacred. No matter what, my friend Lucy, her neighbor Birdie, and I spent the day together working on our quilts. This particular Tuesday was supposed to be just another quilty morning, but that was before we found the body.
We headed toward another quilter’s house, a potential fourth member of our little group. Lucy drove down Ventura Boulevard carefully, the way women over the age of sixty often did. If I were driving, we would have been there by now. At fifty-five I was the youngest and hadn’t yet reached the age of hugging the right shoulder of the freeway at forty-five miles per hour. So I leaned back in the rear seat of Lucy Mondello’s vintage 1960 Cadillac, sank into the luxurious creamy leather, and enjoyed the ride.
As we drove, I stared at the back of her head. It resembled the Santa Monica Mountains during a brush fire. Bright orange tufts of hair sprang up like burning chaparral from her scalp. “You’ve done something different to your hair, Lucy.”
“Well, I decided to try a new color late last night. When I finally got to bed, Ray woke up and turned on the lamp. Then real quick he turned it off and rolled with his back to me. The bed started to shake, and I got scared. I said, ‘Ray! We’re having an earthquake.’ Then he snorted and laughed out loud.”
“He didn’t.” Birdie turned to look at Lucy.
“Oh yes he did. He told me, ‘All you need are floppy shoes and a big red nose.’”
We all laughed. I could picture him stifling his laughter in the pillow to avoid hurting Lucy’s feelings.
Lucy sighed. “He’s lucky I love him so much or he’d be in bow-coo trouble today.” Then she glanced at me in the rearview mirror. “Is it really so bad?”
What could I say to my best friend? Ray was right—you do look like Bozo? I just smiled and shrugged.
“I guess I’ll have to cut this mess off.”
Birdie clutched the grab bar above the passenger door with one hand while she nervously twirled the end of her long white braid with the other. Birdie Watson had been uneasy around cars ever since her driver’s license was confiscated. While attempting to park her car a couple of years ago, she hit the accelerator instead of the brake and ran her car through the wall of our favorite quilt store. Because she was over seventy, the DMV made her go through a driving test, which she failed when she rammed a police car while attempting to parallel park.
“You could wear your hair like Jamie Lee Curtis or Dame Judi Dench. You’d look really good in short hair.” Leave it to Birdie to try to smooth things over. She was the earth mother type,