“When a string of break-ins rock the small town of Oakton Falls, Ohio, Police Chief Wyatt Ronson is at a loss for what to do. The perpetrator is crafty and the stolen goods are anything but normal. He has a list of missing items, most recently a miniature baby Jesus collectible stolen from a nativity scene. With robbery turned murder, Ronson is left with a dead body and another cold trail of clues. His loving wife, Maria, suggests that he bring in a friend of hers to consult on the case. The problem? This friend is another one of the paranormal practitioners his wife has been spending a small fortune on and Ronson isn’t convinced they aren’t all charlatans. Maria insists that this guy is the real deal and reluctantly, he agrees to hire Seymour Masterson, a thirty-something with a sweet tooth and an eye for finely tailored clothes. Ronson’s disbelief in the paranormal and Masterson’s own misgivings about small-town police work make the pair mix together like oil and water.
Armed with a dead man’s cane and an over-inflated ego from his time working in Los Angeles, Seymour sets off to find the killer and prove to the Chief that there is something to all of this medium business. That is, if Ronson will ever let him talk to a suspect alone. After several plates of vanilla wafers, legendary chicken wings, a collision with some lawn ornaments and a first date with Beatrice, the Chief’s secretary who he may or may not be marrying, Seymour is realizing that working for the OFPD is exhausting. He is surprised to find out that Ronson isn’t as dumb as he looks and Seymour might just need his help after all. Similarly, Ronson is beginning to see the benefits of having a big name medium working in his department. The two men bumble their way through their first case together and work to find a common ground. But can they put their differences aside to catch a murderer and solve the case of the Oakton Falls burglar?
Chachkis and Chicken Wings has everything a good cozy mystery needs — an elusive criminal, a quirky small town, and a splash of the supernatural. Follow Seymour Masterson and Chief Ronson through their investigation and fall in love with the quirky residents of Oakton Falls along the way. Grab a cup of tea and start reading today!”
Targeted Age Group:: 24-44
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Like some of the best things in life, it started as a joke between friends. When asked what she should write about next, the author’s friend replied “a median”. After pointing out that the term is “medium”, she ran with the idea. Ellen Pleasant created Oakton Falls as an homage to the town where her grandmother lived. Drawing on her own memories of the friendly townspeople, a desire for a good laugh, and a love of mystery, Chachkis and Chicken Wings: The Case of the Oakton Falls Burglar was born.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Ellen Pleasant’s writing process is one of discovery. When she first began writing this book, her focus was on the mystery itself and the town. Aside from choosing a few names, she had little knowledge of any of the characters. As the story developed, the characters became a way for Pleasant to explore the concept that there is no one-sized fits all description for life in the suburbs. By using multiple points of view, sometimes within the same scene, she found a way to describe the larger than life people that inhabit the small towns of America. None of the characters are directly modeled after real people. There are however elements of friends and family trickled throughout the book.
"The police station was quiet, save for Beatrice humming along to the radio and some of the boys horsing around. That was exactly how Chief Ronson liked things. Although, if he were honest, he would have preferred the place to be quiet entirely. Law enforcement was no place to be joking around like some sort of college frat boy. He made a mental note to talk to his men about the proper workplace decorum later. Right now, he needed to peel off his heavy jacket and stand in front of the heating vent while his body acclimated to the lack of a layer.
He heard the phone ring before he reached his desk. The sound caused him to inwardly flinch. As much as the Chief loved his job, he never could quite get the hang of answering the phones. When he first hired Beatrice, he thought he might be able to push some of the phone calls off on her but it didn’t take long before that plan fell through. Beatrice was a lovely young woman, a single mother whose deadbeat husband had run off on her. She lived with her mother and never showed up to work late. The Chief had felt good when he hired her but he had soon realized that the sweet girl he interviewed was not all that she seemed. Beatrice had what the Chief believed to be an unnatural interest in crimes of all sorts. At first he thought her a gossip but after one particularly detailed conversation she had with a resident whose dog had been hit by a car, he decided it might be best to keep her busy with paperwork and off of the phone. Thus, the Chief was stuck answering phones himself.
He settled into the leather rolling chair and kicked his muddy boots up on top of the desk as he answered the phone.
“OFPD,” he barked, leaning back comfortably into his chair.
“Wyatt,” a shaky female voice on the other end of the line called out.
“This is Liza, Liza Norris,” the voice introduced herself.
“What can I do for you, Liza?” The Chief said in what he hoped was a pleasant voice and not his usual irritated growl.
“It’s my grandfather. The ambulance is on its way but I think you’d better come too,” she said sounding more confident than she had when he picked up the phone.
Liza had rehearsed the words before she called. The truth was, the ambulance would be in here any second now. She had called them immediately. Liza had been a hysterical mess, crying and screaming at the operator. It had taken the woman several minutes before she could slow Liza down long enough to get an answer from her. The whole thing had been so traumatic. She didn’t like letting the rest of the world see her in such a state. Liza had always had her life figured out. She was a straight A student growing up, went off to the state college and then moved into her own home with her husband a few years later. They were still trying for a baby but she knew it would happen soon. Everything in her life had always been just so, so there was no reason there wouldn’t be a child in her life. Maybe a boy who would play baseball with his dad or a girl in a pink bassinet. Now, things were not going so well. She couldn’t let Chief Ronson or anyone at the OFPD see that she was falling apart at the first taste of imperfection in her life. She had taken nearly ten minutes to calm herself down and rehearse the words before she called in to report the crime.
Liza wasn’t really sure what the proper protocol was here so she moved into the kitchen to make a pot of tea and fix a plate of cookies. Surely the paramedics would want some refreshments and what kind of hostess would she be if she didn’t provide them? Liza kept herself busy in the kitchen while she waited. She pulled out a platter and began arranging Nilla wafers and Oreos around the outer edge, intermingling a few lemon bars she had left from her luncheon earlier that week. She shifted the arrangement a few times, moving the cookies into different sections of the plate and then alternating them into stripes. No matter how she rearranged them, nothing looked right to her. The gleam of the crystal platter caught her eye and she changed gears. It was too formal for such an occasion. Instead, she opted for a large yellow dinner plate with dark green leaves and oranges painted on it. After dumping the cookies on to the plate in no particular order, she turned towards the stove. She assessed the situation. The kettle was giving off a decent amount of steam and soon her water would be ready for tea. She pulled a box of tea bags from the powder blue cabinet just above the stove and plopped a few into her grandmother’s pitcher. She didn’t have a tea pot that would be large enough to serve the paramedics and the Chief, so the old, porcelain milk jug would have to do. The low whistle pulled her attention back to the stove. With perfunctory movements, she turned the knob of the gas burner, killing the flame and placed a floral oven mitt on her hand. As she lifted the kettle, the sounds of the boiling water sizzled against the hot metal and water poured choppily from the spout into the pitcher. She had just enough time to rearrange the cookies into something a bit more presentable before she heard the sirens stop out front.
Liza brushed the invisible lint off of her acid washed jeans and straightened the bangs of her short pixie cut before opening the door. The ambulance had arrived before Chief Ronson just as Liza suspected but only by a moment. When he caught site of the two paramedics climbing up the stoop, he had raced over to the doors, winding himself slightly in the process. The Chief had mumbled something about “preserving evidence” and “those damn hot headed wanna-be doctors” before hanging up the phone abruptly. Liza understood this to mean he was on his way over but she didn’t realize he would waste no time. Then again, few people understood Chief Wyatt Ronson, so Liza had almost expected that she only translated a portion of what he said to her at any given moment. She could only hope the portion that she would understand contained the most important conversation points.
She held open the large mahogany door and extended an arm out for the men to enter. The paramedics moved in first with all of their equipment and Ronson straggled behind still struggling to catch his breath.
“Please, come in. I fixed some cookies and tea, if you’d like a…uh, a refreshment,” Liza greeted them meekly. “I am not real sure how these things work.”
One of the paramedics smiled at her gently and inquired, “The body, Mrs. Norris?”
“Oh, yes. Right this way please.”
“The body?” Exclaimed Chief Ronson. “You didn’t mention a body on the phone, Liza.”
She opened the door to the den, just as her voice trailed off. The absence of noise that filled the room was soon replaced by a sharp intake of air from Police Chief Wyatt Ronson. This time the huffing was not because he had traded in his daily calisthenics for that extra donut so many years ago. It was purely because of shock. Right before their eyes, an elderly man lay dead on the floor.
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