LIFFEY RIVERS AND THE WEREWOLVES OF OSSORY
Liffey sighed with relief. At least her friend was not yet on an expensive, all meat diet. ‘Aunt Jean is bound to notice I have already ordered enough meat to feed a football team.’
She poured a large bowl of cereal and placed it in front of Kathleen who was waiting politely, paws folded on the table, tongue dangling from her white and grey mouth. Then Liffey returned to the small kitchenette to get her own cereal. When she went back to the table, Kathleen was nowhere to be seen.
Liffey heard loud, satisfied slurping at the end of the hall by the door. When she investigated, she saw a large tail wagging back and forth and Kathleen on all fours, face pressed down into the bowl of Cheerios.
‘So much for normal behavior.’ Apparently Kathleen had walked down the hall like a human and then put the bowl down on the floor to dine.
‘How is Kathleen going to behave tomorrow afternoon at the feis? What if she walks around on all fours instead of standing up erect? What if she snarls at the judges or tries to bite the other dancers?’
THE CASE OF THE CLUMSY CLOWNS
Liffey put her hand deep down into the tote bag and felt Max’s little jaw chewing on his sock. He was awake if she needed him.
When the clown with the big blue nose and grotesque blue jester hat reached their pew and extended his blue gloved hand, Liffey feared she might be his next victim. She put the tote bag on the floor sideways and tossed the clown toy she had hidden under her parka towards the blue nosed clown’s feet.
Next, in a quiet but firm command voice, Liffey gave the order: “Max Attack!”
Max tore out of the tote bag towards the indestructible clown toy but got confused and attached his little jaws around the real clown’s ankle instead. The real clown screamed. “Get your vicious dog off me or I’ll see you in court!” Max held on, growling and snarling, showing off for Liffey.
Aunt Jean slumped down in the shiny wooden pew and collapsed. Liffey was not quite sure what to do. Should she try to revive Aunt Drama Queen, who would probably then just go limp again, or risk approaching the blue nosed clown to pull Max off him?
Liffey knew the clown was faking the pain because Max’s little jaws had very little clenching power. His tiny teeth were dull from years of chewing on socks. He never sharpened them on dog bones. Liffey decided she had better disengage Max from the wailing clown’s ankle.
THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING NOVICE
‘She must have gone up only one flight of steps,’ Liffey decided, when out of nowhere she felt icy cold, bony fingers clamping down on her neck and a hoarse voice asking: “Are you following me young lady?”
Liffey could hardly catch her breath. It was obvious that this lady knew she was following her. Liffey resisted the impulse to yank the thin, icy fingers off her neck and flee as she lied: “Following you? Of course not! Why would I be following you?”
“That’s what I would like to know. Now you listen to me, I may look old and feeble, but I am much more resourceful than you could ever imagine and I am warning you right now that if you slam into me or follow me one more time, you will deeply regret it.” Little pricking pins and needles began to run up and down Liffey’s back.
Liffey was speechless as the old woman released her finger claws and walked away slowly, pulling her crippled left leg up each step by using the stretchy fabric of her baggy slacks. She did not look like a formidable adversary. Dyed brown hair and overly tanned skin masked her true age.
“She’s probably over a hundred,” Liffey thought, feeling somewhat foolish as she watched the feeble woman struggling up the stairs with her bad leg. Still, Liffey had the strong feeling that this seemingly harmless old lady was a danger to someone. Liffey hoped it was not herself and quickly left the stairwell before the unpleasant woman had time to turn around to begin another verbal assault.
THE MYSTERY OF THE TEMPORARY TROPHY
She was not prepared for Mrs. Sherlock’s uncontrolled, violent reaction. Mrs. Sherlock grabbed Liffey by her short, blonde wig and yanked it right off her head.
“What in the world do you think you are talking about, Liffey Rivers?” she shrieked.
‘How does that witch know my name?’ Liffey felt like she might throw up.
There was a loud, disapproving outcry among the spectators surrounding the Murphy Family Perpetual Trophy stage.
The musician, who had already begun to play the intro bars to the Hornpipe for the first two dancers, stopped cold. Everyone was looking at the shocked girl in the black ribbed sweater dress whose wig had just been ripped off her head by the old lady sitting next to her. Heads were tilted to get a better look, and the audience surrounding the stage was whispering among themselves.
These are excerpts from the new book, Liffey Rivers: Four Mini Mysteries.
Brenna Briggs is the author of the Liffey Rivers Irish Dancer mysteries: www.liffeyrivers.com