In Gallup, Cinnamon and Burro had traced Momma through an old roommate named Mirage. And Mirage reported that Momma had moved to Albuquerque. “Look, if she moved to Albuquerque, why not? Magan only recently moved out of Southern Ridge, a group of low-end apartments in SE Albuquerque. We think your mother was low on money when she left Gallup, so it makes sense.” “Have you got Magan’s phone number?” “Of course – and his address. He said it was fine to visit. He’s intrigued.” “I’ll look into it this week.” Cinnamon finished the last of the pastry. “Burro and I Cinnamon finished the last of the pastry. “Burro and I have a new case in Albuquerque.” “Burro told me about it – a disturbed man named León who looks for a baby in a dumpster. Pretty odd.” Alice said. “Burro will get one of his visions, and we’ll start there.” Cinnamon’s partner had treatable schizophrenia. The solutions to their cases were based on the clues he noticed in his visions. Alice offered a small hug and left the Counterculture patio. Cinnamon stayed behind, ordered another coffee, and watched the black and brown dogs, who remained with their owners, sleeping under the table, completely trusting that they would be cared for and loved each and every day.
León was about six feet tall, wore a denim vest and a yellow oxford shirt, and stood in the center of the dumpster with his hands in the air. A police car was parked across the street, lights blazing, and an officer stood by the open door. It was the first Monday in October, and the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta was in full swing. Colored globes, launched against a crisp, blue sky, surged over the man’s head, A blue and yellow balloon sank low into the neighborhood, breathing hot gas like an asthmatic troll.
“Baby in the dumpster!” shouted the man. Cinnamon watched Burro creep around a tree near the trash container to try to get a better look. Red and blue flashing lights made a pattern on his cheeks and in his blond braid.
A local teacher, 5’ 2” with a discrete mustache, stood next to her on the sidewalk. “This happens every day,” Martin Trujillo said. All three were focused on the man in the dumpster. Martin had brought Cinnamon and Burro here to investigate the incident. “First,” Martin continued, “León Baca climbs inside the trash bin and begins to search through the rubbish. Next, Officer Chip Anderson shows up in the police car with the lights going and starts screaming at León.
My students see this every morning out the window of our math classroom. It drives me crazy.”
“How does it end?” Cinnamon asked.
“Watch,” he said. “Get the hell out of there,” Anderson yelled. From the street, a man in a gray sweatshirt and woman in electric blue spike heels entered the scene. “Leave him alone,” the man yelled at Anderson.
“That’s Booth Baca,” Mr. Trujillo said. “He’s León’s brother. The woman is Angela, Booth’s wife.” “León, honey,” Angela tottered slowly towards the dumpster. “There’s no baby there. You’re okay.” “There’s a baby in here.”
Anderson drew his weapon. “Get out of the dumpster, León.”
“You stupid idiot,” Booth called out at the cop. “Let us take care of this. He doesn’t understand.”
“He needs to stop this. There’s no baby.” The officer’s arms tightened at the elbows.
“He doesn’t have the right to shoot him, does he?” Cinnamon asked.
“No,” Trujillo answered. “But one day he might do it anyway. He draws the gun every morning, and if the principal of my school knew, we’d have a lockdown at 9: 00 am every day.”
León moved side to side and started to moan. “Come on, honey,” Angela said. Booth moved closer to the policeman.
“Put your gun away, dimwit.” “Okay, León, come on now. Get out.”
Angela spoke in a low voice.
“León is mentally ill,” Trujillo told Cinnamon and Burro. “He hears a baby in this dumpster every night.” León swayed for at least another minute, but he was moving towards the edge of the dumpster now, squatting low. Booth moved closer to Anderson and the cop car as if to redirect the cop’s attention away from León.
“Angela has him now,” Booth said to Officer Anderson. “León will leave.”
Anderson glanced at the trash container where León was stepping out with Angela’s assistance. He lowered his gun and returned it to the holster. “You need to take care of this guy. There’s no baby in the dumpster. The neighbors complain.”
“Screw the neighbors.”
“Easy for you to say, Booth. Half of them think he’s a nuisance, and the other half think there really is a baby...
Rainy Blue shot back. “But, I do want to catch the Special Shapes Glodeo in the evening. They light up all the balloons on the ground at dusk, as I’m sure you know. It happens Wednesday. You want to go?”
“I’d go anywhere with you.” He looked at her with glazed over blue eyes, and she saw the beads in her earrings reflected in his eyes. “You’re beautiful,” he said. (Burro has found a friend!)
In Albuquerque, Abandoned
By Tower Lowe
Cinnamon and Burro are a wonderful team... Because their jobs in relation to schools in the area, takes them all over, the two can easily merge in the tracking of Cinnamon's mother as they "go to work..."
And, somehow, they always get hired for additional jobs that lead to a mystery... Cinnamon is driven, and believes she actually saw her mother in this book...as she was leaving...so we already know where they are headed next!
But the mystery in Albuquerque is really cool, and certainly character driven...The characters have become the overall series triumph in my opinion. Once readers become personally involved with the characters, you want to read more...
You see, I think, the characters created by Tower Lowe remind us of people we know...maybe even ourselves...or they are people that have been affected by today's culture, such as using drugs, and readers watch to see how each individual deals with their particular quirks. Cinnamon is obviously obsessive, but also a caring and inquisitive individual who also becomes driven to find out what is happening and solve the latest mystery that comes along... Burro, on the other hand, has been diagnosed schizophrenic, but that has also given him some paranormal gifts that result in visions regarding his surroundings.
In this story, there is also another schizophrenic man who Burro personally takes under his wing, trying to help him via their mutual issues...
|Burro turned to Cinnamon |
and Mr. Trujillo.
“There is a baby,” he said.
Cinnamon and Burro come into the picture because Leon has been hearing a baby cry every night...and linking it with a newspaper clipping of two boys actually finding a baby in a dumpster in another city... In his mind he'd developed the theory that this baby he was hearing was in a nearby dumpster...and every morning he would go directly there, get in and try to find the baby... agitated and unable to think rationally about the baby never being there, no matter how many times he searches...
It was disturbing to the class in the nearby school, and the teacher, who had known Leon, hired Cinnamon and Burro to help...hopefully to find the baby he was hearing, or to prove to Leon that there was no baby...
While the dumpster dips continue daily, a local cop has come to be there every morning and starts to hassle Leon, oftentimes pulling his gun and causing more trouble than he's helping... Yeah, meet Chip...he has some issues...
Then there is Booth, Leon's brother, who has gotten into some criminal activities, while Angela is having an affair...all this surrounds Leon, but nobody considers that Leon is intelligent and, most times, he realizes there is no baby, and he hears things that are happening all around him...
Then Booth is killed...and Leon disappears...
There are many more people involved in the various story lines running through the book and so many angles that increases the complexity of the mystery, or should I say mysteries, that are also running concurrently... But, the real kicker was in the climatic ending, which, I guarantee, will be a total shock to all readers! (Let me know if you guessed it!)
The merge of various cultural norms is prevalent in the book and especially adds to the intrigue since there are obviously differences that are not necessarily known before you read
about them. I was enthralled enough to easily ignore that it will take the entire series to maybe find Cinnamon's Mom...but, in the meantime, readers will be heading to Taos next!
Highly recommended! I think you'll love unique the characters as much as I do!
Tower Lowe (aka Donna Tower Pecherer) is published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and is the author of mystery novellas and full-length novels featuring Cinnamon and Burro. Her new series of historical mysteries features Cotton Lee Penn and Max Mayfair. She lives in New Mexico and grew up in Homeville, Virginia.
Contact her at towerlowe.com