|photo by Pbj2199|
Mystery author Lesley Diehl retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York where a shy ghost serves as her literary muse. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Learn more about Lesley and her books at her website and blog.
The Chocolate-Filled Donut Sleuthing Approach to Losing Weight
(This diet won’t kill you!)
Don’t be put off by the protagonist in my newest cozy mystery, Murder Is Academic. Sure, Laura Murphy, college professor, has a lot of degrees, but at her stage of life, they don’t mean a lot when she spends so much time plunging her head in the freezer to corral her hot flashes. And she notices something else. She can be described as a short, voluptuous blond whose best asset according to herself is her chest and narrow waist, but a look in the mirror tells her something is going south. Could it be that a combination of being a woman of a certain age and all those chocolate-filled donuts are catching up with her— metabolically-speaking?
Here’s Laura’s so-easy, chocolate-filled donut approach to getting back in shape. You can eliminate any one of the steps, although the results won’t be as radical.
First, try an exercise program. Oh, sure you say. Everyone recommends that. But this one is different. Laura and Annie, her best friend decide to enter a fifty mile canoeing race, although neither of them had tried the sport before. The first day on the water they discover the dead body of the college president shoved under a pile of gravel at a bridge construction site. You may want to just skip this last part.
Next you should extend your exercise program to include a variety of activities, not simply one. Laura discovers dinner with a hunky biker dude can result in more than messed up hair from the wind. It can result in messed up hair from a night spent in bed. This is a highly recommended part of the diet regimen. Don’t skip it.
On to the next part of the plan in which Laura investigates the murder of her president and gets herself into all kinds of trouble, but all the running around is a kind of exercise (see step two above, variety in your exercise program). Another unexpected benefit of this is she also creates trouble for others, some of them people at the college she doesn’t really like. Here is where you give yourself permission to be annoying to others you find annoying. It doesn’t burn calories per se, but it is satisfying.
Snooping a la the Laura Murphy approach results in a diminished appetite for donuts while maintaining an excellent appetite for the biker in her life. If you think this part of the diet is easy, you should be forewarned that too much snooping can make the killer angry and lead to attempts on your life. Take on this part of the plan only if you’re either a good runner or really smart. Laura can’t run, but she’s pretty smart, smart enough to outwit a killer.
Once your weight has stabilized at the desired level of maintaining a zealous interest in the biker guy or any man of your choice, and the bad guy has been caught because of some clever, rigorous sleuthing, you may begin the donuts once more. You didn’t really think you were going to give them up forever, did you? That’s why it’s called the chocolate-filled donut approach to dieting. Duh.
A final note: Taking up chocolate-filled donuts again will result in weight gain, so like Laura, you’ll have to find another murder to solve. Laura does, and it’s called Failure Is Fatal. In this one, the bad frat guys give her a real run around. Expect Laura to be positively slim at the end.
Murder is Academic
Laura Murphy, psychology professor, thinks there’s nothing she likes better than coffee and donuts on a summer morning until she says yes to dinner with a Canadian biker and finds herself and her date suspects in the murder of her college’s president. Laura’s friend, the detective assigned the case, asks her to help him find out who on the small upstate New York college campus may be a killer. The murder appears to be wrapped up in some unsavory happenings on the lake where Laura lives. A fish kill and raw sewage seeping into the water along with the apparent drowning suicide of a faculty member complicate the hunt for the killer. And then things become personal. The killer makes a threatening phone call to Laura. With a tornado bearing down on the area and the killer intent upon silencing her, Laura’s sleuthing work may come too late to save her and her biker from a watery grave.