A Quinn Moosebroker Mystery,The Case of the Chocolate Girl (1)

Source

Allentown


Lorcan Bacalao scratched another name from his list. His list had grown since the first call from Dolan Ó Braonáin. Lorcan did contract work and business had seen a spike since the FBI raided the Ó Braonáin businesses. With the four Ó Braonáin brothers in custody Dolan was exercising a fierce strike at those he felt involved in his capture.

It had taken Lorcan ten days to track down the location of Quinn Moosebroker. He first persuaded the proprietor of the Bethlehem Motor Court to give him a copy of the register for the evening that the six assailants fought and lost a battle with Quinn and Betty. Then he scoured every lodge, inn, hotel and motel in the general area. Quinn Moosebroker, Clearview Terrace and Betty Atwood, Clearview Terrace caught his attention, it was just the information he felt he needed.

He still needed to locate Jarrod and his three women. Dolan was sure Jarrod was involved. There was a line through Aengus Ó Braonáin’s name. First he would eliminate a possible witness named Mario Garza then Lecherous Leprechaun.

Clearview Terrace

Betty sat at the kitchen table sipping her coffee as Quinn finished up the dishes after cooking her breakfast on their first Saturday morning after two long back-to-back cases. She reached over to a kitchen drawer and grabbed a pair of scissors and cut a coupon for a discount at a thrift store. “Honey, after we are done here there is a grand opening of a thrift store over on Bastionbury. Want to take a ride over and see?”

“Sure, I’ll be done in a minute. What do you need?”

“Need, I just want to look at stuff. You never know – you might find a treasure,” she smiled and got up to go get dressed.

Thirty minutes later they arrived at the front door of the thrift store. Betty had the coupon stashed in her purse. The morning was glorious and Betty was very happy they were not chasing down someone or sitting in bus stations.

When the doors opened Betty and Quinn were among the first inside. There was an air of excitement in the store.

Quinn went one way and was amused that Betty went another. He walked to the back and looked at two bookcases filled with old books. Above one book shelf leaning against the wall was an old painting. He reached up stretching and took slight hold of the lower corner and lifted it and took it down. A man standing close by waited impatiently to see if Quinn would put it back down. The man had spotted it, but could not get to it in time.

Quinn held the painting that was unsuitably framed; he continued to look at the book titles. He spotted a copy of The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth and grabbed it for his bedside table.

Betty arrived at his side, “There is a small table over there. I thought we could refinish it together and use it in the empty corner in your den. It has a drawer you can store your paints in when you are not using them. Come on, I want to show it to you.”

Quinn and Betty got the book, the painting and small table with a drawer into the back of the Town and County. Betty did not forget to use the coupon.

Upon returning home the table went into the one car garage where the Town & County felt most at home. At the moment the front right panel lay against the side of the wall while Quinn searched for the shimmy he heard coming from that side ever since the accident in North Carolina.

“Can I treat you to dinner over at The Frosty Mug?” Betty asked. She was again at the kitchen table drinking coffee. “Let’s call Kate and see if she can join us. Maybe see a movie; does that sound OK to you?”

“I am going to stop over and talk to Blake Knightly the owner of the local bookshop, see if I can poke through some of his art books, maybe find out more about the artist. Do you want to join me?” Quinn responded.

Betty lowered the crossword puzzle page of the paper and looked over at Quinn. “Are we on for dinner and a movie? Should I check with Kate?”

“Diner and a movie? Ah, sure. You going to call Kate?”

Betty shook her head and smiled, “Yes, I’ll call Kate.”

Quinn rummaged through the hall closet and found the Polaroid camera. He wanted to carry a couple of snapshots with him. He placed the painting near the window to maximize the light and took his photos.

Quinn left for downtown. Upon entering Knightly Books he noticed that Blake had rearranged the front of the store. There were new bookcases of what looked to Quinn to be American black walnut. “Where did you get these?” Quinn asked.

“Hello Quinn, they were picked up at an estate sale. It was a ton of work to get them here but they changed the whole appearance of the place. Just look at them. Of course the pine shelves are just one step away. How have you been?” Blake asked, not rising from his seat behind the counter.

“Good thanks, where are your new arrivals? And I need a favor. Can I browse through your art books? I found a painting earlier at the new thrift store on Bastionbury. Quinn reached into his pocket and took out the Polaroids and handed them to Blake.

“That’s very nice. It looks like a Dutch painting to me. What do you judge the age to be?”

“To me it looks over a hundred years old. But I am no expert in these things.” Quinn looked around and spotted the art section. He was at a loss as to where to start. “What do you think? Dutch did you say?”

Blake got up and came around to stand next to Quinn in front of a very weak art book section. He reached and took down two volumes. “Try looking through these.”

After an hour of searching through the two volumes Blake handed him and two others, Quinn found nothing to help him identify the painting or the painter. He returned Dutch Painters of the Nineteenth Century and Painters of the Dutch Flemish Schools to the shelf where they came from and browsed until he found a nice first printing of Mr. Roberts and purchased it for himself and as a thank you to Blake. He and Blake were the only ones in the store.

Betty had reached Kate and she was able to join them. When Quinn returned home, Kate was sitting in the den with Duncan-Waffles sitting on her lap.

“Hi Dad, I like the painting you found. Did you go and search for information about it at the book store?” She glanced over at him; Duncan-Waffles’ tail was moving a mile a minute at Quinn’s return.

“Blake told me that he thought it might be Dutch, so I spent an hour looking through books about Dutch painters, but I did not find any helpful information,” Quinn told her.

“It’s beautiful. Though I am not sure I like the frame.” Kate was now standing in front of the painting with Duncan in her arms.

“I thought the same thing.” Quinn walked over and stood next to his daughter. They both were absorbed looking at the painting.

At The Frosty Mug, the waitress whose name tag said ‘Charlie’ placed a schooner of beer in front of Quinn and glasses of beer in front of both Betty and Kate. “Your double burgers and onion blossoms will be right out,” she said turning back toward the kitchen.

“That painting really isn’t a painting is it?” Kate asked her Dad.

“It is a pastel. It is a very good pastel. I wished I could have found out a little more about it this afternoon.” Quinn said.

“I know an adjunct professor over at the college. She teaches art history. Do you want me to see if I can set you up with an appointment, or maybe invite her to the house to see it. What do you think?” Kate said after taking a sip of her beer.

Betty took a sip of beer, “Maybe we should know something about the painting before we invite people to see it. What if it is valuable?”

“Ok, I will call my friend; her name is Paula Joyfelt she’s very nice. I’ll make an appointment when she is available. Maybe we can meet here.”

Charlie came to the table balancing three plates loaded with burgers and sizzling onions.

“What movie are we seeing tonight?” Kate asked as the first onion ring was popped into her mouth.

“It just came out with Al Pacino, a Mafia movie called The Godfather.

“My kind of movie.” Quinn said and took a long pull at the cold schooner of beer in front of him.

More by this Author


Comments 53 comments

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

Something tells me the pastel is very valuable. Perhaps there's a secret hiding behind it. The mention of the non-complementary frame has me thinking it was hastily slapped onto the painting to hide something.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello bravewarrior, You can trust your instincts about the value. Thanks for greeting this new series with such a nice comment. Happy weekend.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 2 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I love the Dutch Masters. Their interpretations are very beautiful. I am delighted to find this story on here today. It brings joy to my week to know that I will get to see this on a weekly basis.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Becky, I also like the old Dutch paintings. As the story progresses we will see it is not Dutch, but certainly has that richness. What a very nice thing to say. Thank you.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

I have the same idea about the painting. Betty is my kind of girl, there's nothing I like better than a thrift store, I've found some treasures in the past. You mentioned one of my all time favorite movies, ' Godfather ' I think I've watched every one at least three times. I listened to the video, I've never heard that song before, it reminds me of the street music back in the sixties. I'll be glad when they take the picture out of that frame...Enjoyed..


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa

Mck, your stories are for the author as well as the reader typical escapes from reality. Don't we all need this?

I just know I am going to love this story...

Quinn is such a gentleman - preparing breakfast AND doing the dishes... Well-well...

Catch the Wind - one of my favourite songs.

Thanks for reminding me how much I love the Godfather's theme song - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9vA7L8H4nc

Looking forward to the next chapter...


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

"Catch the Wind".........sheesh, I wanna 'catch a clue' about that PROPOSAL from the last story...which I clearly have not forgotten, like Duncan-Waffles with a bone!! Hmmm, a one car garage, Betty is starting to decorate "Quinn's" house... OK, my mind is all over the place but what the heck, Friedman...?? Do I hafta go 'Godfather' here to get some answers...because like Ruby, I am exceedingly familiar with this movie series (LOL).

In any event, hallelujah, that you are back and I am heading to the Frosty Mug myself to go over these clues one more time and say HI to the cast of characters...

I have a feeling The Case of the Chocolate Girl is gonna be SWEET but like any delicious candy bar, jammed with yummy surprises at every bite, I mean installment! Now why the heck do I have a craving for a Snickers??

Voted UP and UABI and sharing...and TGIF ...Hugs to all, mar


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Listening to Donovan brings back such wonderful memories and also makes me think of the first time I ever saw The Godfather on the big screen. So happy to see another mystery is in full bloom along with those onions at The Frosty Mug. Makes me hungry for more. Mind if I pull up a chair and sip on a Coke?

Betty is my kinda girl with her thrift store coupon and going the other way in the store. Boy, that sounds just like me and my friend from Florida when we would rummage around in those second hand stores so prevalent there. Such wonderful nostalgic memories and a great start of a new series with familiar characters. What a way to start a weekend.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Ruby - I spent so much time ‘scouting’ thrift stores. I actually had ‘all’ my best book finds sitting on a shelf waiting for the title to ‘Register’ as I scanned for collectible titles. I was overseas when the Godfather came out. It scared the heck out of me, like so many others. Donovan? – You never heard that. I must be soooooo old. Thanks for stopping by this fine Friday afternoon.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Martie, You are so right – when I am sitting in front of the screen writing I do escape from the mountains of ‘life’ that seem to heap itself on me. Now as for Quinn cooking and cleaning up the dishes – doesn’t everybody? Well, maybe not. I re-discovered Donavan on my search for music for this piece.

As always, thanks for your support. I am glad I could offer a brief escape this afternoon.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello mar, Proposal? Oh, the proposal, now you know I am going to tease the heck out of all of you over the proposal.

Now I hope Ya’al are not thinking I am going to go all Mafia on you in this story. That is not where it is leading me so far. You are right Betty is sort of making herself at home with Quinn and by extension Kate.

We are all waiting over at the Frosty Mug. There the glasses are iced over and makes such a refreshing drink on a hot afternoon. I may need to think over the course of this one, I think everyone may be ‘on-to-me’ and my way of writing. Happy Friday.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Peg. When I think about music I immediately go back, well to many years, to mention. Today’s music does not grab me, but likely I never gave it a chance. I know where and when I saw the Godfather. It was such a powerful story and became quite the franchise.

Grab a chair I’ll call over to Charlie to bring you a Coke in a mug with a crust of ice.

I thought you might like the thrift store angle. We share that trait. The turn ‘thrift store run’ was invented at my house, even before the book business. That is when I had sense enough to go to a thrift store in search of reading material.

Thank you for starting your weekend with a Quinn Moosebroker Mystery.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

TGIF! I like the way you have continued the previous mystery into the new story with Lorcan; this makes for a fascinating subplot. And “Jackal” is about a professional hit man. Betty likes thrift stores…she is so cool! “You never know – you might find a treasure.” She is trying to invigorate their lives back into normal life, family and routines. So the painting is oddly framed, and Quinn wasn’t the only person interested in it. It was nice to see other characters (Blake Knightly) from Clearview Terrace brought back. And Duncan Waffles is still by their sides. (By the way, the name of the waitress, “Charlie” is my granddaughter’s nickname.) And they are going to see “The Godfather.” Now how cool is that? We have an inkling of what may be about to unfold, and are glued to our seats. Great writing, Mike. Voted way up and shared.


btrbell profile image

btrbell 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

Yay. A new one! This is starting out great with all kinds of possibilities. Thanks for sharing, Catch the Wind. It's been a long time since I've listened to Donovan.

Have a great weekend!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota

You had me at the first paragraph. Can't wait to see how this all unfolds. I'm home with a cold and sinus infection, so I'll keep watching for the next chapter. Hope all is well my talented friend.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 2 years ago from North America

Yippee, Quinn Moosebroker and Betty Atwood, new story!

I recall seeing Dutch Masters' paintings on TV at age 5 and asking, "Masters of what?"


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hi btrbell – thanks for the weekend wishes. It is supposed to be 108 here today. I can only imagine how hot Arizona is going to get. I rediscovered Donovan while looking for something to accompany this first episode. It seemed to fit and oh the flashbacks – just kidding.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Minnetonka Twin, Good to see you on this side of town. I see you in passing from time to time in Twitterland. I sure hope your cold goes away quicker than this story unfolds. I kind of meander around a bit looking for inspiration. Thank you very much for the visit today.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Patty Inglish, Your comment made me smile. Thank you for finding your way to this new beginning of a Quinn Moosebroker mystery. And who you remembered Betty’s last name. The second time I needed that information it took me a half hour to find it. I had not used it since the very first story.

I believe that curiosity you showed at age five is still with you as I begin to read some of your presentations.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Great read on a lovely Saturday afternoon, Mike! Your title certainly draws one in, so interesting as is the new reinvented series here going off in an intriguing direction. I love Donovan, and am also now remembering Atlantis.

Up +++ tweeting and pinning

Hope your weekend is lovely.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hi Theresa nice to see you this warm Saturday afternoon. So much of this story came together so quickly. I am glad to see you are coming along for this latest adventure. I had forgotten how much I like this song and a few others by Donovan. Thanks for the votes, tweets etc. - much appreciated. Pleas do enjoy your weekend.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 2 years ago from Canada

Hey mckbbks, "Betty sat at the kitchen table sipping her coffee as Quinn finished up the dishes after cooking her breakfast on their first Saturday morning after two long back-to-back cases". If it wouldn't be too much trouble, where can I find one of these Quinn type guys to cook and do dishes? Still reading...So happy to see a new story!


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 2 years ago from Canada

DeeDeedeDee...


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 2 years ago from Canada

Oooo, nice to have a day off in the Mystery Breaking job. I wonder what rare painting Mr. Moose has found? I wish I could find one of those! Nice to see a new story started mckbbks...DeeDeedeDee.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello snakeslane. I thought everyone did this? No? haha. Ok, back to reading and being happy about the guy at the sink! Good to see you on this blazing Saturday afternoon. I hope you enjoy the story.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Part of the mystery will be finding out about the painting. Enjoy the journey.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Good morning Genna. (This comment seems to have evaded me all day, so my apologizes Genna.) Betty is indeed trying to get things back to normal, with a quiet yet active routine. But alas, no luck with that, she and Quinn are going to take us for a little trip. Get your passports ready. (lol) And I did go back to the local bookshop to borrow some information but the local bookshop owner – well you know how those guys are. Thanks for the compliment and votes.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

Can you hear the sound of my hands clapping! What a treat to have our favorite friends back including, or should I say especially, Duncan-Waffles.

Of course you are leading us by the nose again. Just enough information about Quinn and Betty's life to make them even more relatable (if that's possible) and the questions about the ugly framed painting. We're off again and waiting for more!

Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and waiting for more.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Good morning tillsontitan, thank you for the time to read my opening episode. I certainly hope it lives up to that applause. Duncan-Waffles has a big smile on his face and his tail is going a mile-a-minute. I hope to spend some time today working on the story. Have a peaceful Sunday.


suzettenaples 2 years ago

I'm with mar; I want to know more about that PROPOSAL too. LOL! I love the Dutch master paintings also and this art angle really has me interested as well as the Mafia angle too. You have quite the imagination and I love these Quinn and Betty mysteries. Looking forward to another stellar tale!


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello suzettenaples. Patience, patience, this is a mystery and there are many mysteries going on. But rest assured. I am glad that I have intrigued you with the first episode. Now I may have to go rethink the whole thing. Maybe they should have gone to see "Cabaret" This story is moving along. I have bumped into a wall, then told myself it's fiction. So on we go.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 2 years ago from Texas

Well, way to leave it hanging. ;)


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello shanmarie. The pace of these story's builds as I figure out how to get us to the conclusion. I appreciate you stopping by this first episode of 'The Case of the Chocolate Girl'

Have a great week and hopefully we will see you back here next Friday.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

I am with Ruby (always exploring), you never know what you will find in a thrift store.

Hurry up and write the next chapter. I don’t get where the Chocolate girl comes in.

Forget the fried onions try the fried pickles.

Voted up, ABI and shared.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Shyron. Thank you for joining us on this Quinn Moosebroker Mystry. You are right there are often treaures to to found at Thirft Stores. You just have to train yourself to see them. Many do and many do not. I have not tried fried pickles they sould like something you would find in a Fair Grounds concession stand. Thanks for the votes etc.

Oh, The Chocolate Girl, that information will arrive shortly after all this is a mystery.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Seems like an interesting mystery is upon them. Perhaps an original in disguise. Looking forward to more. passing this on


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Good morning Gypsy. Thanks for the visit this morning and thanks for the Tweets. I hope you enjoy this little story.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

A great beginning Mike ;I am already engrossed and cannot wait to find out more about this painting. Here I now head on to Part 2.

Voted up and thoroughly enjoyed.

Eddy.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Good morning Eddy. Thank is very nice of you to say. I appreciate the support.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

I am liking this already!


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Audrey. Thank you for stopping by my little corner of Hubpages. My hope is that you will enjoy this Quinn and Betty adventure.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 2 years ago from North Carolina

Old books, Dutch Masters, Al Pacino and the Godfather movie. Right up my alley Cap'n Mike. Can only stand to miss so much of your fiction and am mighty glad to start again with Case of the Chocolate Girl.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Alastar. I have shot off a couple of emails in your direction, but they must have gone off into the gallaxies. Thanks for the visit this evening. I hope you are well.

This is the first of two now published in The Case of the Chocolate Girl and is earmarked to be a ten episode story.


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

Mike!

You have done it again dear man! So glad to see Betty in this new series.

Just an exciting and captivating read!

Looking forward to reading part 2! Shared, up and tweeted.

I think you are one of the greatest authors since Baldachi! :-)


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Jo. Wow, what a nice thing to say. Hey we made it to the weekend. So much to do and so little time. I see you have published two hubs this week.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 2 years ago from South Carolina

Dear Mike,

Looks like I'm slow in finding this new case, but not slow in getting drawn into it. You took me right back to the Opening of "The Godfather" and Donovan's "Catch the Wind" (which I always loved) completed the trip down memory lane.

Now...onto the mystery!

Love & Hugs,

Gail


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Gail. You are getting to the story at a good time. Since I am near the end, you will not have to wait for a weekly release. I hope you enjoy this little adventure.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 2 years ago from South Carolina

I agree. I've never had much patience with waiting for the next installment of a good story. I think that's why I never got hooked n soap operas! LOL


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

I never got hooked on a soap opera either, go figure. Enjoy the story. I try to answer the questions and observations of those who read as I go. So if a question arises, it may be answered in another episode or in the comments.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I'm lovin' this story Mike! Betty and I would get along great. Looking forward to part 2 and more so if you'll excuse me, I'll be on my way. Want to spend more time with The Case of The Chocolate Girl. Great stuff!

Hugs,

Audrey


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Audrey, nice to see you. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and I just read your holiday gift idea hub. I hope you enjoy my story.


DDE profile image

DDE 23 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting and so wonderfully written.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello DDE. With all the hubs of mine that you visited recently, I feel 'discovered'. Thanks for your time.

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