Shrouded in Mystery
By Maggie Toussaint
In Spawning Suspicion and the other Seafood Caper Mysteries, two characters are standouts. These super seniors are well known for holding court in the island’s tiny post office, where they collect and disperse information.
Octogenarians Ola Mae Reed and Valerie Reed moved to Shell Island about 25 years ago and set up house together. Rumor is these sisters helped their husbands into early graves, but who believes everything they hear? With matching caps of closely shorn white curls, trim bodies, pastel pantsuits, and slip-on sneakers, these gals cut a fine figure.
The eldest, Ola Mae, is clearly the outspoken one of the pair, but just when you think Valerie is the quiet, complacent one, she reins her sister in. These spitfire ladies are well known for squeezing a dollar until it cries mercy. Case in point, they recently sprang for new funeral attire after decades of service from their old outfits. No way would they miss anyone’s funeral. Some islanders call them professional mourners.
My sleuth River Holloway Merrick recently observed that the sisters’ home interior was painted. The sisters had new locks installed too, claiming they needed extra safety precautions to protect them from the sudden wave of island crime.
I could’ve told them they were wasting their money. After all, hardly anyone on Shell Island would ever consider visiting the sisters’ home. Nor would they eat or drink food anything the women fixed for fear of being poisoned. By contrast, my sleuth River isn’t scared to visit the sisters. She does not eat or drink anything the sisters make though.
Despite their murky backgrounds, these sisters bring a sense of community to the island’s seniors. They’re currently mobilizing to elect their candidate Deputy Gil Franklin to be sheriff and have the incompetent one removed.
In addition to having a curious nature, Ola Mae enjoys solving the puzzles in a mystery so she always wants a report from River about the current case. She encourages River to keep up the good work in seeking justice for crime victims.
Ola Mae’s sister Valerie is quietly powerful and versatile, drawing on seemingly boundless reserves of strength and grace to move mountains. People say she was once as outgoing as Ola Mae but her bad marriage dampened her spirit.
Collectively, they’re a strong, charismatic team who rally the community to take action when needed. They lead by example, lending their time and talents to various causes.
However, hidden layers in these women have yet to be plumbed. No one questions their motivation for their various causes. No one researches that old rumor about them offing their husbands. No one remarks on the current spending they are doing.
Is it possible that two stone-cold killers are among the most powerful and influential of all island residents? Check out Ola Mae and Valerie in both Seas the Day (book one of the series) and Spawning Suspicion (newly released book two) and see if you can figure out what makes these gals tick.
Learn more about Maggie Toussaint and Spawning Suspicion at maggietoussaint.com.
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