The morning of the 'Perfect Spring Storm', as it was later dubbed, dawned dark and warm.
Of course, that depends on your definition of dawn. Or even warm, for that matter.
To me, Maggy Thorsen, 'dawn' means whenever I have to wake up to stumble out of the house, usually into the dark, to open my coffeehouse, Uncommon Grounds, in Benson Plaza.
That May day, my dawn was at 5:00 a.m., the sun not even a faint glow on the horizon. And while 'warm' was technically a matter of degrees—Fahrenheit, in Wisconsin—I measured it more in degrees of undress.
Sticking my nose out the door as my sheepdog Frank watered the hyacinths, I decided it was a T-shirt and jeans day. Which, just west of Milwaukee, qualifies as warm.
'C'mon, Frank, hurry up,' I said in a stage whisper, so as not to disturb my neighbors. I liked to think the whisper was quieter than my normal speaking voice—probably deluding myself, like the 'shushers' in theaters, who make more noise than the people they're shushing.
'Shush!' came from the direction of my neighbor's bedroom and then the window slammed down. Three dogs started to bark at the sound and Frank joined in.
'Shush, Frank,' I said in another stage whisper.
I herded my sheepdog up the porch steps, neither of us commenting on the irony.
A freak snowstorm in early May strands coffee house proprietress Maggy Thorsen in her store, Uncommon Grounds, with no power and no plows in sight. There's not much to do but commiserate with the other tenants of the strip mall and wait. That is, until she stumbles over the dead body of her landlord, Way Benson, face down in the white fluff with an axe in his back.
The tall, rugged and tattooed victim was a ladies' man and all-around cheating jerk. His ex-wife, Aurora, a leggy local TV meteorologist, would second that. Snowbound during her morning coffee run, Aurora, sadly, becomes the next to die. Maggy's not about to stand still while some psycho picks them off one by one. But the killer, like the weather, is proving dangerously unpredictable.…