Author of all trades, Matt Ferraz has written thrillers, sci-fi, cozy mysteries and a lot of witty e-mails that sadly can't be published. With a degree in journalism and a master’s degree in biography, Matt has works published in English, Italian and Portuguese, and loves trying out new genres. Learn more about Matt and his books at his website. You can also sign up for his new mailing list here.
Today Matt offers us something a bit different—a short story to introduce us to his senior sleuth Grandma Bertha.
Innocent Man's Cake - A Grandma Bertha Short Story
Lydia Hepburn wasn't a morning person by any means, and it took a lot to make her get out of bed early on a Saturday. Stu wasn't a toddler anymore, and knew how to use the toilet on his own, which meant she rarely had a reason to get up before dawn. Plus, her husband Todd was an early bird, and would take care of any issue that required adult presence.
She was especially tired that Saturday, after spending the previous night in front of the TV waiting for the final sentence in the Jack Pyle trial. For months, the whole country had been divided whether that man had actually killed his wife. Now that he was in jail, it was like a long soap opera was over and they could rest.
All Lydia wanted was some more sleep, but the noise in the kitchen was unbearable. Only one person could annoy Lydia so much, and that was Grandma Bertha. What was she doing in the kitchen anyway? It wasn't like her to be cooking at that time of day.
Lydia jumped from the bed, put on her robe and walked downstairs, ready to kick Grandma Bertha back to her shed in the backyard. She stopped by the door and looked at the mess. There was flour everywhere, eggshells on the floor and chantilly on the drapes. Grandma Bertha offered a toothless smile to her daughter-in-law.
“Good morning, Lyd!” she said. “Up so early?”
Lydia tried to stay calm. “What are you doing?”
“I'm baking a cake!” said Grandma Bertha. “For a friend.”
“A friend? Who?”
“Did you seen the news yesterday?” said Grandma Bertha. “About that poor Jack Pyle? He was innocent, and I'm sending him a cake in jail.”
Lydia pulled out a chair. That was too much even for Grandma Bertha's standards. “You're baking a cake for…”
“Careful, Lyd!” warned Grandma Bertha. “Don't sit there!”
“What? Why not?” Her eyes went down to the seat, and there was a small hacksaw on it. “What is this doing here?”
Grandma Bertha picked the hacksaw from the chair. “There, there, you can sit. This is going into the cake.”
Lydia didn't sit down. “You're baking a cake with a saw in it?”
“No, that would be silly!” Grandma Bertha said, with a giggle. “I'm baking the cake and then I'm putting the saw inside it. Otherwise it would taste terrible!”
“Why would you do that?”
Grandma Bertha went serious for a second. “It pains me to see an innocent man in jail. I'll send him this cake so he can get out of jail and clear his name.”
Lydia rubbed her eyes. “In what world do you live? Are you aware that…”
Her phrase was interrupted by the voice of her husband, who just came in from the street. “Darling! Have you heard the news?”
Lydia turned to him, her face red with anger. “Do you know what your mother's been doing?”
“Just a minute, darling!” said Todd. “I just heard the morning news on the radio. They came out with undisputed evidence that Jack Pyle is innocent! They're releasing him today!”
Lydia stood there, not knowing what to say. She was still mad, but couldn't tell at whom. So she turned her head around and saw that Grandma Bertha's smile was even larger.
“Well,” said Grandma Bertha. “Who wants a piece of cake, then?”
The Convenient Cadaver
Grandma Bertha Solving Murders, Book 1
When Grandma Bertha moved to her son’s place, she brought along three dogs, several cases of beer and many, many horror film DVDs. While her daughter-in-law insists on the idea of sending Grandma Bertha to a retirement home, a dead girl appears near the house, shot three times in the back. Many years ago, Grandma Bertha let a murderer escape for not trusting in her own detective abilities. Now, armed with her wit and wisdom, she decides to solve that crime before the police. Could this crazy dog lady be a threat to a cold-blooded killer? And for how long can the family stand that situation?