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Writing History & Mysteries

When I'm not delving into historical research, I'm planning a character's demise.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Milk Carton Murders 30

SETUP: How about we take a look at some of the other suspects, shall we? Shelia Underwood was a foster parent 20 years ago and later, a social worker—who seems a bit nuts now. Her husband Jeffery worked in the print shop with Dave's dad Hal at the dairy. Dave hates Shelia but he really doesn't remember why.

Dave and Investigator Pepper Black are at the Underwood's house to ask some questions about the cold case of the remains of the three girls found at Wiscoy Creek. The girls were part of the Friends of Foster Families program. Dave is allowed to tag along with Pepper if he keeps his mouth shut (the reason is explained earlier in the story). Shelia sits in a chair staring out at the yard through the French doors, her husband Jeffery besides her. Dave is standing next to Pepper who speaks first.

“I’m working on a cold case and I’m hoping you can help me with it.”

“A cold case—a cold case of what Miss Black? There’s no alcohol here if that’s what you mean," Mrs. Underwood snapped, "not with the children in the house, if you’re implying we’re up to something.”

Mr. Underwood signaled them, and whispered, “Please excuse my wife, she hasn’t been well.”

“Children ma’am? Well I am here about some children, but they're ones that died about twenty years ago,” said Pepper, keeping her focus on Shelia.

“I don’t understand Miss Black---how can we help you with that?” asked Jeffery.

Sheila tilted her head and stared at Dave a moment, her words spat out like venom, “Why is that boy here? Never listened, always hiding. He was such a bad boy, that one was."

The link to the other Weekend Writing Warriors is here. You're bound to find something to pique your interest.

The Sunday Snippet writer's on Facebook are here. Between the two there is something for everyone. Thank you for any comments you leave me. Much appreciated!

When three small coffins are unearthed near the Wiscoy Creek during a routine dredging operation, it’s the last thing DAVE ROBERTSON, of the Lamont Weekly Times, expected. Pinned to the skeleton’s clothing are pictures from milk cartons of missing girls.

Dave is stunned to find that one of the girls is Sally―a foster child his parents had cared for through the Friends of Foster Families (FFF) program. Cold case files reveal the girls disappeared over 20 years ago. Knowing his house was the last place he saw Sally alive, he can’t help but suspect his dad.

How can he write the biggest story of his career if his father turns out to be the killer? If the voice in his head would shut up and let him remember, he might figure it out before he loses his mind and his dad is charged with murder.

Full blurb and snippet recap here.



  1. Ooh, there's a history there! I really need to read this . . .

    Happy Snippet Day! :)

  2. Wow, I don't trust Sheila at all. Great set up, Cindy. :)

  3. Is Sheila seeing someone who "isn't there"? Quite intriguing.

  4. More layers. It keeps getting better all the time.

  5. What a character, all of them actually. I can totally see each of them in this snippet. Well done.

  6. Hmmm... *is forming a theory...*

  7. Oh wow. That last part really threw me (in a good way). I'm dying to know why she thinks Dave was bad because she seems pretty bad herself. Looking forward to next week's!

  8. Exciting snippet, whatever's next! I am really enjoying this story!

  9. Just what Dave needs - another black mark on his character (even if it is being delivered by a crazy person). Wonderful eight. I am very intrigued by this story!

  10. I want to know why he's bad for "hiding". Is it because he was watching things he shouldn't have seen? Hmm, interesting eight Cindy. You always pick the perfect lines to share with us to keep us hanging. I can't wait for this release!!!!

  11. This is so cool :) A bunch more questions, just when it seemed like things were close to being wrapped up. I love it! Am so looking forward to reading this book!

  12. Yet another new twist. Great job!

  13. Interesting to meet some of the other players. Since it's a mystery I'm trying to keep an open mind and not fall for red herrings LOL! Great snippet!

  14. I love how you set this up. My bad I haven't been following the story

  15. You do a great job with characterization in just a few short lines. So many suspects and so much intrigue!

  16. Sheila clearly isn't well at all . . . but is she a murderer or just a nasty-tempered keeper of pieces to the puzzle?

    Can't wait to find out!

  17. Yikes! She does sound a little "not well."

    I can't tell--are these people still fostering? Because that sounds like a bad idea.

    Bet Dave has a good reason to dislike Sheila--like she tried to beat the 'bad' out of him. o_O

  18. I think more and more Davy was a foster child himself.

  19. The plot thickens and we all want to know what happens next and what the heck happened in Dave's past!!!!!!!!!! Terrific eight. Thanks, Cindy.

  20. Oh, wow. The lady's ramblings might implicate her more than she every realizes with her apparent 'nutter' state.

  21. Is she crazy...or is she spilling the beans? Excellent job, Cindy! :-) I know I say this every week, but I can hardly wait to read this book! ;-)

  22. Ooo, great job! Very tense snippet. I'm enjoying this story!

  23. Sheila doesn't seem to have all her head... hum, she might inadvertently say something incriminating.

  24. Nice setup. Helps me undertand the characters and story arc.

  25. The mystery deepens...


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Available in paperback and eBook formats

Available in paperback and eBook formats

Now Available At:

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Carried by over 20 college/university libraries across the county, according to daily updates by worldcat.org, including Columbia University, Oklahoma State, Texas A & M, and Yale University Law Library.


APRIL 2nd,11-1 PM
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May 17th, 6 PM Warsaw Public Library - Warsaw, NY

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More to announce as they are confirmed.

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