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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Part 4--The Conclusion of Kiki Lowenstein and the Penny Pincher

By Joanna Campbell Slan

Editor’s Note: In Parts 1, 2, and 3, Kiki Lowenstein, owner of Time in a Bottle, has been teaching a two-session class called “The Double-Dip.” This week, her customers brought in one of their favorite dessert recipes to use in an 8- by 8-inch cookbook album. There's a bit of friction in the group because Iona Lippman and Lisa Ferguson both claim to make an outstanding red velvet cake—and now Iona's prized family recipe has gone missing! The arrival of Kiki's husband, Detective Chad Detweiler, has temporarily shifted attention away from the missing index card. Can he help Kiki find the keepsake that Iona holds so dear?


You can  Part 1 by read by clicking on the word and number or by going to ;  Part 2 by going to  and Part 3 by going to 


Even though he rarely wears his uniform (that's one of the perks of being a detective), my husband still looks like a cop. Iona took him in with a long, thoughtful glare. Then she lifted her chin defiantly. "It's about time someone from the law enforcement community showed up. You came about the theft, I presume?"

Chad Detweiler has the most amazing Heineken bottle green eyes. These he turned on Iona with a calm, appraising stare. "Ma'am? I don't know anything about a theft. I came by to say hello to my wife."

With that, he gave me a quick—but promising—smooch.

I could feel my face turn red as I explained, "This is my husband, ladies. Detective Chad Detweiler."
"Oooh," said Avery, fluttering her lashes. "I've heard so much about you."

The other women greeted him with similar approval. Detweiler is, in my humble opinion, gorgeous. I'm a very lucky woman. My customers evidently thought so, too. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Lisa Ferguson touching up her lipstick.

"What seems to be the problem?" he asked, keeping one hand on the small of my back. A subtle reminder, but a message nonetheless: "I've got your back." I felt a lot of the tension drain from my body.

Everyone started talking at once. You couldn't hear over the chatter. Finally, My friend Clancy broke up the hubbub with an ear-splitting whisper for attention. "Quiet!"

When my customers piped down, Clancy explained about the missing recipe card.

"I see," said Detweiler. "The card was here a little while ago, but it's gone now. Is that right?"
They nodded vigorously.

"Ladies, with your permission, I'd like to ask my husband to help us figure out where the card went. Is that okay with you?"

"He can pat me down any day!" Avery's offer was bit too enthusiastic for my taste, but it was a step in the right direction.

"How about this," I said. "We still have a lot of dessert leftover. Why don't we have a second helping with some fresh coffee while Detective Detweiler looks for the missing recipe?"

The scrapbookers seemed willing, so we took a break. As they got up from their chairs, I noticed that Lisa Ferguson hesitated.

Could she be hiding something? 

But that didn't make sense.

She had her own red velvet cake recipe. Why would she take Iona's?

While the women crowded around the food table, I motioned my husband over to Lisa's things. 

Trying to act casual, I said, "We've been working on a recipe album. Lisa? You don't mind if I show Detweiler yours, do you?"

She froze like a deer when your headlights hit it.

"Uh…no." Her words didn't match her body language.

I opened the album and went through it page by page. When I got to the red velvet cake recipe, I withdrew it and studied it. That's when I realized what was wrong.

"Lisa? I think you accidentally glued your recipe card to Iona's card," I said, peeling the two apart. "Iona? Here's your missing recipe."

Detweiler winked at me. "Good work."

To my horror, Lisa started crying. "I did it for your daughter-in-law Bethany. She and I have been friends for years. It's all your fault, Iona! Why couldn't you do the decent thing and share your recipe with her? Your son Mason is leaving Texas and going off to Afghanistan. All Bethany wanted was to make him one of his mother's famous red velvet cakes before he goes. But would you share the recipe with her? No. You're mean!"

All my scrapbookers turned on Iona.

"Is that true?" asked Avery. "You wouldn't let your own daughter-in-law have a copy of your recipe?"

Iona sniffed. "It's for the women in my family only!"

"Iona!" said one of the other scrapbookers. "How could you?"

A fat tear dripped down the woman's cheek. "Now that I see how all of you feel, I realize…I was wrong. That silly recipe doesn't matter that much, does it?"

We looked at her and shook our heads no.

"Kiki? Would you make copies of it for everybody?" Iona shoved the card into my hand.

"I'll be glad to."

"Since she's in such a generous mood, see if you can bring a couple of slices home with you tonight. I'm thinking I'd like to sit down with my wife after dinner and have a dessert," said Detweiler, and then he kissed my neck and added, "or two."

~ The End ~

You can get your copy of Iona's Red Velvet Cake Recipe by sending an email to

Joanna Campbell Slan is the author of the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series, featuring a scrapbooking mom. To see a list of all of Joanna’s books and short stories, go to Follow her on Facebook for more great crafting ideas at


Pamela Hargraves said...

I loved it!!!!

Joanna Slan said...

So glad! Mega hugs!

cflathers said...

Loved parts 1, 2 and 4, but for some reason, it won't let me into part 3. Any suggestions?

Kristen Heyl said...

I am with Cflathers...I can't read part 3 either and I want to badly!

Jess said...

I can't get to part 3 either. Another amazing short none the less! Thank you Joanna!!

Joanna Slan said...

Try the link below or go to the most recent blog post.