Welcome today I have another interesting character to introduce you to.
Frankie Champagne is quite the sleuth.
She has other talents too. She owns a Bakery and Wine Lounge and a Winery.
She is one busy girl. Here is where she lives . . .
Why Bakers Solve Murders
by Frankie Champagne (Deep Lakes Mystery Series)
People keep asking me why. Why do you like investigating crimes, especially murders? Why? They say, “for goodness sake, Frankie, you’re a baker! You specialize in the sweetness of life, and you’re a wine maker. You create comfort treats, why get involved in crime-solving?”
For starters, solving a crime is a lot like following a recipe. When I look at a finished pastry, the first thing I think about are all the steps it took to create it, from the ingredients to the method to the baking, and finally, to the decorations on top. When I encounter a crime scene, it’s a finished product. Sorry to say, but if it’s a murder, well, the victim is already, let’s say, the last course. I ask myself: what steps happened before the terrible ending for this person, and how did it occur?
Cookies are some of my favorite goodies to make, because of the endless varieties and all the ways to craft the finished delicacies: formed, rolled, pressed, dropped, cut-out, spread in a pan, refrigerated and sliced, and more. When I discover a new cookie, I wonder how it’s finished, and I can usually tell just by examining the cookie. The same is true at a crime scene. How did the victim come to their end? Observations by me and confirmation by the medical examiner help me to know almost immediately, and once I know how the victim’s cake was baked, I can start to backtrack a list of ingredients behind it.
Because my friends, murder has its own list of ingredients: the weapon, the motive, the opportunity and the method to carry it out. I love to try new pastries, then figure out how to make them. I especially love the tasting part. I savor each bite and try to wrap my taste buds around the ingredients used to make that satisfying treat. When I nose my way through a crime scene, I rely on my sharp vision to locate the ingredients of the murder. Something is almost always out of place, like scattered flour in the kitchen or broken eggs on the counter top. The old adage, don’t cry over spilled milk, can be viewed in another light as: be sure to notice the spilled milk and figure out why it’s there in the first place!
Clues like a shattered headlight in Deep Green Envy, a floating silver cap in an ice-fishing hole in Deep Dark Secrets, and sticky honey on a nightstand in Deep Bitter Roots, were all ingredients of the mysterious deaths in each crime scene. Every crime, like most pastries, have multiple ingredients, and both baker and sleuth must sort out the essential ingredients from the ones that can lead them astray. Recently, the lemon scones I made were an epic failure because I was heavy-handed using lavender extract in place of vanilla, making them sharp and disgustingly floral. The same was true in Deep Bitter Roots, when I mistakenly followed the wrong clue, thinking it would solve the murder, but led to me accusing an innocent party.
Method is another essential component of baking and murder. Pastries are such delicate dainties. The temperature of the yeast and liquid must be accurate or the dough doesn’t rise. Kneading must be properly accomplished or the end result could be holey or heavy. Great patience on the part of the baker is a requirement for success. Finding the method of a murder is equally taxing. Sometimes the weapon is obvious, but just because a rolling pin is the clear choice for dough, it doesn’t always yield a simple outcome. Tools of the trade are equally relevant for bakers as they are for killers. Who is wielding the rolling pin?
My grandmother Sophie, who got me started in the world of baking, always said love was the essential ingredient to good bakery, and warned me to never bake angry, because surely the outcome would be disastrous and taste terrible. I’ve seen her words come true in my own bake shop on both ends of the spectrum. But as an amateur investigator, Grandma Sophie’s words of wisdom have taken on another meaning. Emotions are just as important in solving crimes. My intuition, hunches, and prickly feelings have helped me track the right suspects in each of my encounters.
My fellow bakers at Bubble & Bake, are motivated by passion to create treats that bring comfort to our customers in a café/lounge that invites them to linger longer. But, what motivates someone to commit a crime? Motivation is another essential ingredient in the recipe for murder, and discovering clues, like following the steps in a recipe, almost always reveals the motive. Just like my pastries, the motive is forever baked into the final product. If my ingredients are inaccurate and my method is wrong, the pastry will turn out the same despite being finished in the oven. Murder is similar: if someone is motivated to commit the evil deed, ingredients and methods will likely yield the same result in time.
The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Just as every baker has their signature confection, a murderer leaves their signature at the scene of the crime. A baker may use a decorative flourish to shape or finish their pastry like a glaze, sprinkle, or design. A murder, like a recipe, comes full circle. We start with a composed pastry and a crime scene; we backtrack to expose ingredients and methods. Eventually, we discover the identity of the baker and the criminal, with a pinch of good luck along the way.
Visit the tour over at Great Escapes to learn more about Frankie and her Author Joy Ann Ribar