Three Strikes Is Not the End of the Game:

Joanne sat on the chair in the sunroom, surrounded by flowers and beautiful sunlight. The idea of starting another business percolated in her mind. She had tried a bakery, a flower shop, and an antique shop, none of which had lasted more than two years before she had to close them.

After the demise of her third business, her husband, Frank, had said, “That was your third strike. Give it up and come and work in my family’s company.” But, she knew that even though three strikes meant you were out, it did not mean that the game was over.

The other businesses had been suggested to her, for no one liked her idea of starting a bookstore dedicated to women writers and protagonists of murder mysteries and thrillers. Of course, she would include male authors as well. But, her mother-in-law laughed at the very idea, and said, “Who is going to read women as detectives and police officers? That’s just plain silly!”

But, as she looked at the lists of women authors and their female detectives, she knew that there was a market for these very books. What an achievement it would be to prove them all wrong, to show that she had what it takes to be successful.

It took having a passion for what you sell, and she loved V. I. Warshawski, Kinsey Milhone, Mrs. Jeffries, Goldy Shultz, Hillary Greene, and Hannah Swensen, just to name a few. Not to mention that every baker and flower shop owner in small towns in the United Kingdom and America were now solving cozy mysteries.

Just saying their names was euphonious to Joanne, who loved the explosion of women solving murders and crimes. Her bookstore would be called Murders S(heroes). She would have book signings, themed book club meetings, trivia contests with prizes, and on Halloween, she would have a contest on who most resembled their favorite woman detective.

Sitting there like a bovine resting in a field of flowers, Joanne felt at peace. She made the decision to use her inheritance from her aunt, the one who first introduced her to Miss Marple, to start her shop, knowing that she would give it all she had to be successful. Who knows, she may even solve a mystery or two herself, just like her favorite bookstore owner, Annie Darling.

Written for Story Starter Challenge #4 from the Haunted Wordsmith: That was your third strike.

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