USA Today Bestselling Author
Riches to rags …
Chaos is down …
Everyone loves sparkly rings …
Some more than others!
Who knew a simple trip to the consignment store would find Wendy being strong-armed by two strangers? So not allowed—especially as it could affect Doreen getting her month-end check! Trying to get to the bottom of this is one convoluted story to sort out. It involves Bernard—an eccentric and handsome older man, who had a very young fiancée in his life—the breakup, and the resulting theft.
Corporal Mack Moreau is not at all happy with Doreen’s new male friend, Bernard, who has the money to keep her in the style she was accustomed to. However, Mack is happy Doreen is staying out of his cases, if only she could stay out of trouble! Then again, Doreen can find trouble like this without any effort on her part. At least this time she also befriends another Kelowna icon, who lives behind Wendy’s store and who is well-known for her quince jams and jellies.
Yet a big shiny reward from Bernard awaits someone who solves the theft and how it involves Wendy and the jam icon. Maybe—just maybe—that someone could be Doreen.
I love the way this book opens with tea at Millicent’s. Macks mother is definitely encouraging a relationship between Mack and Doreen. There’s mention of Mack’s brother Nick moving back to Kelowna as well. When Doreen mentions going to the consignment store on their way to the beach, Mack discourages her by reminding her it’s Saturday and to wait until Monday to get her consignment check. He also mentions the Esther, and her famous Quince trees behind the store. It seems everyone loved Esther’s quince jam but she doesn’t sell it anymore.
We found out in the last book that Wendy at the consignment store has some shady characters coming around. This book gets to the heart of that issue. We all know Doreen supports her friends and Wendy’s store is where she gets part of her income. She’s not going to let anyone hurt Wendy, and she finally gets the story out of her. Apparently, a woman tried to get Wendy to buy a ring for cash, a lot of cash. Wendy doesn’t buy things she takes them on consignment. Not that she’d have the kind of money the woman wanted for it even if she did.
Doreen not only gets her check from Wendy but actually sees the men bothering Wendy and getting a photo of the van’s plates. Doreen tells Wendy to expect a visit from Mack. There’s no way Doreen wasn’t going to get him involved if Wendy is in danger.
After missing a call from Mack, Doreen calls Wendy on her way out with Goliath, Thaddeus and Mugs for another walk. She’s going to check out the alleyway and see if there’s any place the woman could have hidden the ring. That’s when she meets Esther and sees the murder of crows that inhabit the quince trees.
A trip to the library has Doreen find information about Bernard, his ex, Candy and the ring. She follows this up with a trip to the grocery where she runs into Esther. After seeing her purchases, Esther invites her to her home where she has plenty of jam to go with Doreen’s peanut butter. Doreen leaves with a lot of the jam everyone raves about as well as fresh fruit from Esther’s other trees.
We see more of the guys threatening Wendy and of course Doreen and Mack are involved with finding out who exactly they are. There’s also the problem of finding Candy who apparently disappeared right after the debacle of the ring.
Everyone’s reaction to Esther’s jam is hysterical and I think Mack’s was the best.
This is a favorite scene.
“I’ll stay safe,” she replied, yawning. “Besides, I mean, after being told I wasn’t cream pie either, that’s an insult that I’m still trying to get over.”
He chuckled. “Honestly? Sounds like it’s not a bad thing.”
“Says you,” she argued. “I don’t know what, but something’s going on with Richard.”
“For you, something always going on with everybody.”
“Yeah, but he’s … different.”
At that, Mack just nodded. “He’s definitely unique, but that doesn’t matter.”
“Maybe not,” she stated. “At the same time, he is a conundrum.”
“Uh-oh, that just means you’ll try and figure him out.”
“If he hasn’t done anything, I can’t really figure anything out, can I?” she asked, raising both hands in frustration.
“It sounds like you’re waiting for him to do something, so you can get into his life and tear it apart.”
“No, I don’t want to do that,” she stated. “Something’s sad about him. I don’t really want more sadness in my life.”
“Is this case getting you down again, like the others?” he asked, frowning at her. “Remember? You have to take this work in small doses.”
She smiled. “Yeah, how about we try paddleboarding or something fun again coming up? To take my mind off all this stuff.”
“Perfect,” he said. “Dinner tonight, and then we can go out paddling tomorrow, no better make it the day after.”
“And we make a day of it,” she offered. “We can go out paddling on Sunday and have dinner Sunday night.”
“And that works too,” he agreed. “Considering the work I’ve got, maybe that’s better,” he admitted. “It may end up being Monday even.”
“Good,” she replied. “I need to spend some time with Nan too.”
“I’ll let you know.” He looked around. “Hate to ask, but you got anything to eat?”
She laughed. “I’ve got toast. And jelly.”
He looked at her in surprise. “I haven’t had jelly in a very long time,” he shared in delight.
She rolled her eyes. “And I didn’t even know it was a thing until a couple days ago.”
“It’s not only a thing,” he explained, “it’s a heritage thing, especially when talking about Esther’s jam. But quince was never very profitable commercially, so it wasn’t something that anybody ever turned into something you’d find in the supermarket,” he noted, “but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less viable.”
“Well, if you say so.” She got up off the deck, walked back into the house, and then returned. “I do have bread and jam, and I even have peanut butter.”
“I’ll take it,” he said, standing up to join her in the kitchen.
She watched as he put four slices of bread in the toaster. “Wow, you are hungry.” He nodded. “I am. I’ll buy you another loaf of bread later.”
“No, you won’t. You’ve fed me more than enough times.”
As soon as the toast was done, he buttered all four and put peanut butter on half, and then she handed him the jelly jar. He looked at it, and his eyes lit up when he saw it. “Is this it?” he asked almost reverently.
She watched in astonishment, as he took the knife, dipped it into the jam, and then tasted it. He closed his eyes and almost swooned. “Good Lord,” she stated. “Now I know why they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”
“Absolutely. But you can get to my heart anytime,” he joked. And then he winked at her.
She flushed. “Now you’re just joking,” she replied, laughing.
“Oh no, I’m not.”
“You have to be,” she murmured. “You know what my cooking’s like.”
At that, he burst out laughing. “Good point.” He slathered jam all over his toast without peanut butter and took a bite. He sat down right in place. “Wow,” he muttered. “This has got to be Esther’s quince jelly.”
She stood here with her hands on her hips. “So not only can you tell that it’s quince, you know who made it?”
“Only Esther made jam like this,” he declared. “I used to go with my mom to the Kelowna market and get it from her.”
“Wow. Well, it is Esther’s,” she confirmed. “She gave me several jars.” He looked up at her hopefully. She sighed. “Apparently I didn’t get enough jars from her though.”
“No, there is no such thing as enough when it comes to this,” he stated reverently. And he sat here in peace and just finished his first slice, then the second with peanut butter, and then again had buttered toast with jam.
She smiled at him. “I’m glad that you really enjoyed that.” Seeing the look of joy on his face, she was happy that she could at least give him that much. She got up, walked over to the pantry cupboard, where she had put the jelly, and pulled out one jar, and handed it to him. “There. Now you can’t say I didn’t share.”
He looked at the jam hopefully. “Is this another one?”
She nodded. “It is. And it’s for you.” He beamed like a little boy. She shook her head. “And you promise to enjoy it all?”
“Not only do I promise to enjoy it all,” he said, chuckling, “I promise to not share.”
She rolled her eyes at that. “You better not. I do not have enough to give everybody in town a jar,” she exclaimed.
“Who else have you given them to?”
“Nan, and, boy, she had a similar reaction to you.”
“We were all heartbroken when Esther stopped making it. I mean, we understood, but, at the same time, you know, she had a heck of a market built up.”
“Sounds like she had a good thing going. She doesn’t look like she’s terribly flush with money, so I’m surprised she’s not still doing it.”
“I think it’s hard work, especially for just Esther to handle alone,” he noted. “And maybe she just doesn’t care to do that anymore.”
“Maybe. I know she told me that she had put away enough food for years and then amended that to say that, now that she’d reassessed her age and how much she had stored up, she’d put away enough for decades.”
He frowned. “If you ever have an opportunity to get more, get lots more,” he suggested, looking at her hopefully.
She shrugged. “She gave me enough that it would be suspicious if she were to give me more because I suddenly ran out,” she noted. “I’m hardly drinking this stuff.”
He looked at it and shrugged. “You know what? It’d be worth it. Can you imagine this with ice and some gin?”
“Nope, I sure can’t.” Doreen frowned and shook her head.
He grinned at her. “Well, you have definitely given me a trip down memory lane, and I will take the jar with joy,” he declared. And he snagged it up.
“Now sit there and finish your toast,” she said, as she walked over, grabbed the coffeepot, and topped up their cups. “And after you’re gone, I might have a lie-down and just let some of this stuff run through my brain.”
“At least you’re not getting into trouble.”
“Nope, I’m not,” she agreed, “at least not at the moment.” At that qualifier, he glared at her. She shrugged. “Hey, it’s early yet today. Who knows? Maybe all kinds of things can still happen.”
Dale Mayer. Quarry in the Quince (Kindle Locations 1968-2028). Valley Publishing.
We all know that quince is going to play a part in this story. I love the way things twist and turn between the past and the present. Every little clue dropped intertwines with both. Mack and Doreen’s relationship moves steadily forward is delightful.
I can’t wait for the next book in this series!
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.