By Lauren Carr
This guest post features an introduction to Doris Matheson, mother of Chris Matheson of Lauren Carr’s Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Rather than tell you about her, I thought it would be better to show you.
The Jefferson County sheriff deputy, Mitch Dawson watched the blue Malibu speed past him and turn onto the freeway leading to Harpers Ferry.
Sixty-eight miles and hour in a fifty-five zone.
Deputy Dawson flipped on the lights and pulled out onto the freeway to fall in behind the sedan. With a wave of her hand, the blonde-haired driver crested the top of the hill and turned on the light to signal a left turn.
Assuming she was leading him to a more convenient place to pull over, Deputy Dawson followed the Malibu to the next intersection where she turned left and kept on going.
“Where is she going?” He radioed in the license plate to run a check on the driver.
The Malibu made its way through Bolivar and turned left again with the cruiser, lights flashing, following her.
Deputy Dawson turned onto a side street next to the middle school when the sheriff’s voice blasted from the radio. “Dawson, what are you doing?”
“I’m trying to pull over a car for speeding,” Deputy Dawson said as the sedan pulled into a library parking lot.
“Don’t do it!”
“Why not?” Deputy Dawson pulled into the parking space next to the blue Malibu.
“Do you know who that is?” the sheriff asked as the woman, her blonde hair cascading down to her shoulder, clad in a black leather jacket with high fashion black boots, slid out of the driver’s seat of the Malibu.
“No, that’s why I radioed in her license plate.”
“That’s Doris Matheson! Get out of there! Get out of there now!”
Too late! She was standing next to Deputy Dawson’s cruiser.
“Why hello there, Deputy. Am I glad to see you?” Her broad toothy smile was brilliant. The laugh lines about her mouth and eyes added character to her lovely face.
Hand resting on his service weapon, Deputy Dawson eased out of the cruiser. “I—I clocked you at going sixty-eight miles an hour back there.”
She batted her eyes, which he saw were gray. “Really? Come inside and we’ll talk about it.”
Before he could object, she spun on her high heeled boots and trotted up the steps into the library.
“But I really need to be going.” With her running away, he had no choice but to follow her.
“I’ve been working here at this library for forty years,” she said while unlocking the library doors. “I was only eighteen years old when I married Kirk Matheson and moved up here to Harpers Ferry to live on his grandpappy’s farm.” She led him into the reception area where she tossed her handbag onto the counter. “My late husband was in law enforcement.” She hurried into the spacious sunny area of the children’s library.
“Was he really?” the deputy rushed to keep up.
“Kirk worked his way up to local captain of the state police. We had Christopher right away. He just retired from the FBI a couple of years ago.” With a sigh, she went to a tall pile of beanbag chair and tossed one to the deputy. “Help me put these out to form a big circle.”
Uncertain about whether he should object or do as he was told, Deputy Dawson stared at her with the beanbag filling his arms.
“Don’t just stand there staring like a boy at his first school dance,” Doris said in a firm tone. “Story Time starts in five minutes. We need to get ready. I’ll toss the bags to you and you make the reading circle.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He placed the bag where he was told and turned in time to catch the next one and next one while she continued.
“We had a good life,” she said as she tossed the bags to him. “It broke my heart when Kirk had that heart attack and a couple of years ago.”
“I’m sorry for your loss, ma’am,” the deputy said. “But about your speeding―”
“Just the year before Kirk passed away, my daughter-in-law Blair was killed in that awful terrorist attack in Nice. I thank God that Christopher and the girls had decided to stay here in the states when Blair took that job with the state department. Otherwise, they would have been there. That was hard enough. But when Kirk died, everything fell into place. Christopher always loved the farm. He’s happiest out there working with the horses. How many seats do you have?”
“Fifteen,” the deputy answered.
“That should be enough.” She hurried through the reception area and into a small kitchen. “Now we have to get the snacks ready.”
“Ma’am, you were speeding.”
In the kitchen, she turned took a canister of cheese crackers from counter and held them out to him. “Excuse me?” She gazed at him with soulful gray eyes.
“You were going thirteen miles over the speed limit.”
The corner of her mouth kicked up. “Goldfish?”
Unable to resist, he reached into the canister and removed a small handful. “I’m going to have to give you a ticket.” He tossed a couple into his mouth and offered an apologetic grin.
“You don’t want to give me a ticket.”
Deputy Dawson stood up tall. He squared his shoulders. “Yes, I do.”
“When was the last time your radar gun was calibrated?”
Deputy Dawson blinked.
“Take these out and put them on the snack table.” She held out the canister of crackers and a bowl to the deputy.
He carried them out to the children’s library.
She followed with an armload of package of Oreo cookies and a platter. “Did you know that generally, a radar gun needs to be calibrated every thirty to sixty days? Different states have different requirements. In some states, the unit must be calibrated every time a ticket has been issued.” She paused in arranging the cookies on the platter to turn to him. “Did you issue a ticket today?”
Deputy Dawson stammered out that he had given out a ticket an hour earlier.
“You only determined my speed by that gun,” she said. “Did you know that there are exactly five ways to determine the speed of a car? You used radar. But there is also VASCAR, pacing, airspeed detection, which I know Sheriff Bassett doesn’t use, and laser. Now that radar is the most unreliable method used and you haven’t calibrated that gun since the last time you used it.” She folded her arms, “Now, Deputy Dawson, here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to fight that ticket, which will mean you will have to go into court and tell Harold—”
“Judge Taylor,” she said. “Harold is going to have to listen you tell your pathetic story about how you stopped in here at the library to help yourself to a snack.”
“You offered. You didn’t pull over and I had to chase you in here!”
“And I guess you’re going to tell the judge that while you were in hot pursuit, I forced you to help me set up the library for Story Time?”
“Now wait a minute—”
“Let’s suppose Harold did believe your story,” she said while picking up a cookie, “What are your friends going to think when they find out that a sixty-five-year-old woman outran you?” She bit into the cookie.
Staring at her, Deputy Mitch Dawson tried to sort out what had just happened.
She picked up the platter of cookies and held it out to him. “Help yourself to a cookie.”
He took a cookie and shuffled toward the door. As he opened it, a mob of young children and their parents spilled inside.
“Thank you for your help, Deputy Dawson,” Doris said.
“Don’t mention it,” he muttered.
Click here to visit the tour tour and read reviews, more guest posts and enter the giveaway.