A Quinn & Betty Moosebroker Mystery (1) Dy r,şt

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Quinn and Betty Moosebroker returned home from Italy. Their recent case had brought them there in the quest to return ‘The Chocolate Girl’ a painting that was stolen from Lotte Coppens’ family during World War II. To show her appreciation Lotte Coppens hosted the couple’s wedding and the village celebrated. Lotte hinted to Quinn that the frame the painting traveled in contained something of value and it was a shame he did not find the frame also.

The tired travelers found that they were generously rewarded for their honesty when they found three old metal cigar cylinders filled with diamonds hidden in the recesses of the carved out ornate frame. There was a fourth cylinder that contained an old key with a note attached that said, ‘Dy r'st’

Duncan-Waffles, their rescued dog, sat at Quinn’s feet as they stood by the stove; one frying bacon the other hoping for bacon. “Good morning sleepyhead,” he said to Betty as her nose leads her from the bedroom to the kitchen where a hot cup of coffee was placed in front of her.

When the sunny-side up eggs were done Quinn brought two plates to the table and sat down with them with Duncan-Waffles was not far behind. “You look beautiful this morning.”

Betty’s eyes smiled. “Moose, I am never going to let you forget that.”

“We don’t have to wait until your house is sold now before we start looking for something,” he told her.

“House, yes, we can contact a realtor and get that started. But I am so curious about that key and the note. Are you ready for another adventure?” She put a fork full of eggs in her mouth and wiped some yolk with the edge of her toast.

“That will likely mean returning to Europe. We should wait and see if we can find any clue at all? We sure do not have much to go on.” He drank his coffee. “I don’t want to leave Duncan-Waffles behind. I’ll call the airlines and see what it requires to bring him with us.”

“I know you have some misgivings about Major Garrity, but I am going to call him. I think we need his advice. I am sure he will be happy to see us.” She looked across the table at Quinn and winked. She got up and refilled both their coffee cups. “In the meantime we should find a place for us to stay. There is no real reason to impose on Kate now, is there?”

“No, I guess not. We can find something close by and temporary while the realtor does his work.” Quinn stood and brought his plate to the sink. “Go ahead and call the Major. Maybe he can help us.”

Early Tuesday Morning

Betty sat at the linoleum topped kitchen table spinning an eight carat diamond like a top. The tile of the floor was cold against her feet and her eyes gazed at the glittering shiny spinning stone and she tried to see into the future.

Quinn walked into the kitchen and Betty stood and gave him a quick kiss and poured him a cup of coffee. “You want some breakfast?” She asked as the stone twirled to a stop sending fiery light scattering against the walls.

“What time is the appointment with the Major?” Quinn looked at Betty and glanced at the stone on the table. “Are we going to show him the diamonds?”

“Just this one, this might be the biggest diamond in Clearview Terrace. Outside this house,” she added and took a deep breath. “I made an appointment for ten a.m. That gives us plenty of time for breakfast."

Major Garrity

The Major greeted them at the door and Quinn and Betty followed him to his den.

Betty again stood looking at the skin of a cheetah draped over a table, and a silver tray supporting nineteenth century cut crystal goblets. Being surrounded by leather books on strong honey oak shelves did something to her. Filtered light gave the room the abeyance of the previous century. The combination of antiques, stuffed animals, African spears all carried the senses to another time.

“What brings you two to my door? Betty I was both surprised and happy to get your call.” He waved his arm in invitation to find a seat.

“When you offered to purchase the painting we found, you brought a box of gemstones with you to barter with. You told us that each gem was worth at least $1,000. That leads us to believe you know something about the business end of… shall we call it the jewelry business.” Quinn began.

The Major pulled a cord on the wall and a manservant entered the room. “Bring in a tray of tea.”

Quinn sat up straight, wondering why everyone was offering him tea. And he wondered if it meant anything. “Like I was saying…”

Betty interrupted; she stood and crossed the room to the Majors desk, “We located this.” She dropped the eight karat diamond on the desk, while carefully watching his dark brown eyes and wondered what stories they held.

“We located this,” Quinn said mockingly to Betty’s back, smiling to himself. He stood and placed the key on the desk in front of the Major.

The manservant took that moment to enter with a tray of tea. He sat it on the desk, glanced at the diamond and turned and left the room.

Quinn made a note that someone else now knew about at least one of the diamonds.

“Can I pour your tea?” Betty asked the Major.

“Please.” He opened his top desk drawer and pulled a jeweler’s loupe out and examined the diamond.

Betty handed Quinn a cup of tea. Quinn always felt uncomfortable with balancing a cup and saucer. These items were much too delicate for his large hands.

“Do you two know anything about the diamond business? I suspect not. It is a very tightly controlled cartel; at the top of that cartel is De Beers. From the mine to the jewelry store the price may increase as much as tenfold as it passes along towards the display window and finally to the finger of some blushing bride, starlet or other peacock. This is a beautiful stone. I can go and fetch my carat scale and tell you exactly what it weighs and then estimate what said blushing bride would be asked to pay at a high-end store in the city. And the funny thing is that a couple of miles away in the diamond district she would pay half for the stone and get to select the setting of her choice.” He handed the rock and the loupe to Betty, “Take a look at the clarity. I am not a professional diamond grader, but that looks to me like a VVS2 which means with a 10x loupe like the one you are holding any small inclusions are visible from the crown.”

After taking a look Betty handed the loupe and the diamond to Quinn and he maneuvered for some light and peered into the glacial realm of the diamond in his hand. He felt deeply drawn into a world that he knew nothing about and wondered if this was what Alice felt like falling down the rabbit hole. He set the loupe and diamond back down in front of the Major. “You mentioned a carat scale.”

The Major stood and went to the bookshelf with two doors at the bottom. He opened them and returned with a weather-beaten wooden box and took his seat. He opened the box, lifted the arm of the scale. He placed the diamond on one side of the scale and set weight stamped coppers into the other side until there was a near perfect balance. “Looks like an eight carat stone.”

Betty smiled. She was not a student of diamond carats, weights, clarity, but as a young girl she had spent time looking through the windows of jewelry stores and dreaming.

“I know it is just a little after ten in the morning, but Quinn can I offer you a drink? You did not touch your tea.”

Betty reached into the cup of the scale and retrieved the diamond and held it.

Quinn set the cup and saucer down. “Yes, that would be fine.”

The Major stood again and went and lifted a bottle, returning and announcing, “God’s Elixir,” and poured two glasses with two fingers. He handed Quinn a glass and took his, “Cheers,” and took a sip. He twirled the remaining elixir in his glass and stared at the key.

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Comments 38 comments

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 22 months ago from South Africa

This is going to be a very interesting mystery in the Quinn Moosbroker series.

Brilliant description - ".....as the stone twirled to a stop sending fiery light scattering against the walls."

This one made me smile - "Quinn always felt uncomfortable with balancing a cup and saucer. These items were much too delicate for his large hands."

I noticed something interesting: You use the title 'realtor', while we down here call them 'real estate agents'.

Another grammar issue - I saw you wrote 'nineteenth century' instead of '19th Century', and 'ten a.m.' instead of '10:00 a.m.'. Now I really need to know the rule (in order to break it... lol!)

Thanks, Mike, for hooking me all over again on Quinn and Betty, and for all the technical lessons :)


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 22 months ago from Hereford, AZ

Wonderful beginning to a new story of the Moosebrokers. Note that a jewelers loupe is spelled differently. I am entranced with the thought of an 8-caret diamond. I think all women would be. I also like the imagery of Betty spinning it in the light and the rainbow lights scattered around the room.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Martie. Here both realtor and real estate agent are interchangeable. Nineteenth and 19th also. I am not so sure about the hour, minute issue, but I will look into it. Thanks for the visit this morning, I sure hope Quinn and Betty know what they are doing.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 22 months ago from Hereford, AZ

Delete this if you want, carats is with a c.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Becky. Thanks for catching that, I thought I had caught it and made the correction, but evidence says otherwise. I appreciate you stopping by this morning.

When I looked up karat and caret, karat won. I guess I should check that again.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hi Becky - things like this unnerve me, I was sure I looked that up. I have now made all the corrections that I could find regfarding carat and karat. Thanks for the help.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 22 months ago from Southern Illinois

I am happy to see another chapter in the Quinn Moosebroker series. You made this double interesting by an eight carat diamond being spun around. I can't imagine how big that would be. The video senery was beautiful. I am also happy that they took Duncan-Waffles along. He is a treasured part of this story. Beautiful in every way. Tweeted..


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 22 months ago from Hereford, AZ

Happy I could help. I know what a stickler you are for spelling errors. I just went and looked it up again, both carat and karat are correct. Just depends on where in the world you are.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Ruby, and thank you. Duncan-Waffles has become a part of the family. Pretty soon he will want a speaking roll. lol Thanks for the visit and the kind words.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hi Becky - I am sure that is what I found when I looked into it, and I just went back to a reference I was using and it had carat in the text, so I will go with that if the subject comes up again. I appreciate the help, I know little mistakes distract from the story.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 22 months ago from southern USA

Looks like Quinn and Betty are still delving into interesting situations and planning on traveling with Duncan Waffles too! My sister is in the jewelry business and I learned a lot from her I never knew before. I do know about the great markup prices!

I look forward to where this leads.

I hope your weekend is wonderful.

Up and more, tweeting, pinning and sharing


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 22 months ago from Nashville Tn.

An eight carat diamond! Betty actually held this in her hand. I would be shaking from head to toe!

I love this chapter of Quinn_Mossebroker_Mystery. Hoping the next chapter is well on it's way. Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful, interesting and sharing.

Thanks my talented friend.

Audrey


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Theresa, thanks for the visit this evening. We are certainly going to find out where this leads, because as of now, I don't know. I appreciate the votes and pins and sharing. That is very nice.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Audrey, Diamonds are a girls best friend, or so I have heard. I have a little head start on this particular story but there is a road block for me to work around. Too early to panic though. Thanks for all the votes and sharing, that is so nice. Wishing you a warm weekend.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 22 months ago from North America

And here I thought it was spelled "karet" all along, but that turns out to be a Hebrew punishment for many sins. Egad!

Anyway, this story is much fun already and I like the book cover posted. Very nice with the books and titles on the image.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 22 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

There sure is a lot of sparkle to this married couple.

I love to see my favorite duo back and ready to embark on another mystery.

Happy weekend to all. Excellent writing, Mike.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Patty. When I began this I thought I checked and found karat to be correct, but today everything points to carat, so carat it is. I plead quilty to the book cover design, the books were a natural, and I have been teaching myself the graphic software for a year or so. Thanks for the visit this evening.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello mar. Good to see you and see your wit is in tack. Sparkle to this married couple, yeah! Quinn and Betty have their bags packed and they are ready to go, they are just waiting on me to give them a hint as to whwere they are going, but hey, they are the detectives, maybe they can figure it out.

Thanks for the weekend wishes. I have to have my taxes done and with all the royalties from book sales, it could get complicated.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas

Oh good! The start of another adventure with two of my favorite characters. That must be one huge diamond they are showing around. I'm already suspicious of the manservant who eyeballed it and I have never quite trusted Major Garrity. I'm looking forward to more adventures for Quinn and Betty as they travel overseas and solve the Secret of the Old Key.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 22 months ago from Central Florida

I'm glad to see Quinn and Betty back in action. It was mighty generous of Lotte to hint at what might be found in the frame, knowing full well what was in there!

You left us with quite a cliff hanger, Mike. I look forward to the rest of the story.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Peg. What a keen eye you have. I sure hope Quinn and Betty know what they are doing. I also have my suspicions regarding the Major. He almost needs his own series.

Have a great weekend.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Sha - Lotte was a little tipsy and very relieved when she told Quinn about the frame. She had no way of knowing if Quinn had the frame or not, but she wanted to thank him. Thanks for staying with the story.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 22 months ago from Victoria, Australia

Well, they're barely getting settled into married life and there's another intriguing mystery in the offing. It looks so interesting, I hope I don't miss any of the installments. Looking forward to the next one - also wondering if the Major knows something about the key and whether he will divulge the information.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello BlossomSB. Yes these two know how to get into mischief. It looks like another trip is in store for them and even a road trip through Europe. Hope there is room in the back seat for all of us and Duncan.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 22 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

Stopping by to have some morning tea and company as PA looks at the groundhog's shadow and all that brings.

Happy Monday to all. Hugs, mar


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Good morning mar. Coffee coming right over. The weather has been so bad on the east coast. Happy Monday to you to.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 22 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

I’ve been in CA for the past week, so it will take me a little time to get caught up with all of the new hubs that have been published. My first stop is a delight. Quinn and Betty (Mr. AND Mrs.) are back, with Duncan Waffles at their side! A new mystery is definitely underway. Major Garrity is the person to see…especially with his extensive collection of gems. But I share in Quinn’s misgivings about this man. Betty’s spin of the diamond reminded me of the token used in “Inception” and stepping back, “carried the senses to another time” at Garrity’s house. Déjà vu with that tea tray; very clever. And the manservant also knows about this 8-carat “find.” Is Garrity more interested in the diamond or the key – or both? Love this mystery as it unfolds with enticing possibilities. The game is afoot! Thank you, Mike, for continuing this wonderful series! Voted up +++ and shared.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Genna. Welcome Home. I am glad you were able to escape the New England Winter weather if only for a week. I hope the California weather meet with your approval. Yes, Mr. and Misses Moosebroker are about to set off on an adventure. I am thinking of all kinds of scenarios and do not have a clear view of their journey. “Oh,” now that you mention it I recall that scene in ‘Inception’ and here I was thinking I may be borrowing to heavily from the plot of Da Vinci Code, lol. At least I am spreading it around. The manservant has barged into the story and may be my only lead at this point. Thank you for making Quinn and Betty an early stop in your efforts to get caught up.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 21 months ago from California

I thought I would try to catch this one at the beginning!


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 21 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Audrey. Thank you. One, two, and three are published at this point. I hope you enjoy this light story.


mary615 profile image

mary615 21 months ago from Florida

True to my word, I am trying to play "catch-up". I will bookmark this one to reread, and continue reading the adventures of these two!


btrbell profile image

btrbell 21 months ago from Mesa, AZ

Always late to the party seems to be my MO. Excited to start a new Quinn and Betty story, though!


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 21 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Mary. Thank you. I have tried to keep a weekly schedule with these stories.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 21 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Randi. Good to see you. I hope you like my story.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 21 months ago from Canada

Hi Mike, the music, especially Belgium-Stokkendans is providing some excellent atmosphere...Nicely done.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 21 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Thank you. I wanted to try different music.


suzettenaples 20 months ago

How did I miss this mystery? I am so glad to read a follow up novel to the chocolate girl. I love that Betty and Quinn are married.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 20 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello suzettenaples. I think working has interfered with your reading and your writing. I am glad that you came by for a light mystery. Onward.

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