Daisy Belle Kicks Open the Cozy Mystery in “Happy to Help”


When I think of the character Daisy Belle, I think of a charming maniac who sees herself as the protagonist in a cozy mystery.

She is not.

I also think of a kind of unhinged Nancy Drew with substance abuse issues and a set of social skills that are set slightly askew.

She appeared first in my short story “Nothing Doing” and now she’s been published a second time in “Happy to Help.” Both stories have been published in Mystery Magazine. “Happy to Help” appeared in the November 2021 issue which can be purchased here: Mystery Magazine Nov. 2021. Hard to believe that was a year ago and I’m just getting around to posting about it.

In her latest ill-advised adventure, Daisy Belle is hell bent on helping her friend Ray, whether he likes it or not. In this story she’ll encounter a murderer, a stalker, some exotic pastries and a car chase.

It’s nothing Daisy can’t handle, and besides, she is always happy to help friend.

Read an Excerpt from “Happy to Help”:

There’s something my dad always says—If everyone cared more about being helpful and less about being happy, we’d all be a lot happier. But I guess some people think they can be the happiest on Earth and they make themselves miserable trying to get there. Or maybe a person’s levels of happiness and helpfulness come down to brain chemistry—it doesn’t really matter. I’m just saying it’s good to be helpful. And that’s exactly what I was trying to do.

I had just left from visiting my dad on his houseboat. I was walking out to my car when I saw one of Dad’s neighbors who I knew. He was standing next to a giant olive-green car, some vinyl top land yacht from fifty years ago.

Ray Gage was jiggling the door handle and saying something like, “I mean it. I’ll wait until you run out of air, kid. I don’t care.”

There was a towheaded little kid inside the car with a gappy grin and a thousand-yard stare. I said hi to Gage.

“Huh?,” he said. “Oh hey, Daisy.”

I asked him what was up.

Gage told me the “little jackelope” had locked himself in the car with the keys.

I said, “This is your car?” and laughed.

Gage told me to get bent, the car was a classic. Then he flipped the kid his middle finger through the car window. The kid laughed. It was just another gorgeous quiet day down by the marina. Squalling seagulls, whispering palms, wispy clouds, the whole deal.

“Who is that kid anyway?” I asked Gage.

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