Killer in the Kiwis (Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 11)
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About This Book
A new cozy mystery series from USA Today best-selling author Dale Mayer. Follow gardener and amateur sleuth Doreen Montgomery—and her amusing and mostly lovable cat, dog, and parrot—as they catch murderers and solve crimes in lovely Kelowna, British Columbia.
Riches to rags. … Chaos again. … Winning is important, … at least for some!
Doreen is overwhelmed with joy when she sees all the volunteers who show up to help get her deck addition built. Most of the men are cops, friends of Corporal Mack Moreau’s, and are happy to help Mack’s special friend and the lady who has helped solve so many crimes for them with a spot of home renovation.
But before the deck improvement can be finished, duty calls, and the cops are called away on a case. Another gray-haired lady has dropped dead. Yet another heart attack victim is added to the long line of previous ones. And, of course, neither of these recently deceased women had a heart condition that would explain their sudden demise.
With her animals at her side, Doreen is determined to figure out what the ladies had in common, plus why and how kiwis keep popping up in this case. As she digs into the ladies’ lives, the things Doreen discover are shocking, … but not as shocking as the answer is to this riddle …
Wednesday Late Afternoon …
Arnold and Chester prepared to leave, each one of them holding on to one of Heidi’s arms.
“That was a good thing you did,” Mack said quietly to Doreen.
Doreen gave him a quiet smile. “Someone needed to help Aretha. Now, of course, I don’t have a case to work on …” She looked at Mack hopefully.
He stiffened and glared at her. “None of mine.”
“Don’t you have another case in progress?” Arnold asked her.
“No,” Doreen said with a big smile. “I figured I’d look into these old ladies dropping dead.”
“You are the gardener,” Chester said, with that fat smile of his. “If anybody can figure out what kiwis have to do with that damn case, I’d like to know.”
Doreen stared at him. “Kiwis?”
Mack sent a warning look to Chester, but it was already too late. Chester was too far ahead.
“Yep,” he said. “A kiwi in the mouth.”
“But only one of the women’s mouths?”
He leaned forward and said in that thick heavy whisper, “Yes, but all three had one on their person.”
Doreen grinned. “Killer in the Kiwis. I love it.” That was so her next case.
Mack shot her a hard look. “You stay out of it,” he said. “Cold cases are one thing, but my cases are another.”
She grinned up at him impudently. “No problem,” she said. “You’ve got, let’s see, what? Twenty-four hours?”
Mack jammed his hands on his hips, as Arnold started to chuckle. Whistling, he and Chester loaded Heidi into the back seat of their RCMP patrol car, leaving Doreen with Mack.
Doreen turned and looked up at him. “So?”
“So, what?” he growled.
“Twenty-four hours? Forty-eight? How much lead time do you need?” she asked hopefully. He took a hard step toward her, but she no longer felt threatened by Mack. She looked up at him and grinned. “Come on. Forty-eight hours it is then. It’s a deal. I’m on the Killer in the Kiwis case.”
Laughing, she raced into the kitchen. She heard the front door slam as Mack walked out, and she knew he had to leave. He now had even more work to do at the police station. And that was fine.
She’d give him the two days but not a minute more.
Forty-One Hours and Counting …
Friday mornings were usually spent at Millicent’s garden, and Doreen needed something to do anyway, as she awaited the end of Mack’s head start on the kiwis case.
Calling the animals to her, she put some coffee in a thermos and walked over to Millicent’s garden.
Millicent sat outside, and, as soon as she saw Doreen, Mack’s mother bounced to her feet with what seemed like endless amounts of energy for someone Doreen’s age, let alone someone of Millicent’s age. “Oh, it’s so good to see you,” she said. “Mack told me about what happened with the jewels I found.”
Doreen rolled her eyes. “I’m happy to let that case go,” she said. “That was a little rough.”
“Hey,” the older woman said, beaming, “I really appreciate what you did though.”
Doreen smiled and nodded. “I didn’t expect it to come out the way it did. I still need to have a talk with Nan about Aretha.”
“Well, we haven’t heard all the details yet,” she said. “So, if you want to fill me in …” She gave Doreen an enticing smile, hoping that she could coax Doreen into sharing more info. Doreen was happy to oblige. As she weeded in the garden and cleaned up the beds, she told Millicent all about the case.
“That’s so hard to believe,” the older woman said in amazement. “And why would the jewels end up under my juniper?”
“Now that,” Doreen said, sitting back on her heels, “I really don’t know, except that Reginald hid them around the city.”
“And is this the last of them?”
“Well, it’s the one he came back to get,” Doreen said. “And they were gone.”
“Of course they were,” Millicent said. “The tree he was looking for was gone.”
“And, therefore, he probably didn’t know if he had the correct location or if the tree had been downed and then the jewels could have gone into a compost bin or were tossed into the dump or something else. But he couldn’t find them. He did look for his landmark, apparently around your place, as far as I understand though. And he did give it a good search, but it was rough going.”
Millicent nodded. “We had pulled the tree out after the