Q is for Quarry (Kinsey Millhouse Mysteries)
Quarry, n. An open excavation.
Quarry, v. Transitive: To dig or take from. Intransitive: To delve into.
Quarry, n. An object pursued or hunted; prey.
She was a "Jane Doe," an unidentified white female whose decomposed body was discovered near a quarry off California's Highway 1. The case fell to the Santa Teresa County Sheriff's Department, but the detectives had little to go on. The woman was young, her hands were bound with a length of wire, there were multiple stab wounds, and her throat had been slashed. After months of investigation, the murder remained unsolved.
That was eighteen years ago. Now the two men who found the body, both nearing the end of long careers in law enforcement, want one last shot at the case. Old and ill, they need someone to help with their legwork and they turn to Kinsey Millhone. They will, they tell her, find closure if they can just identify the victim. Kinsey is intrigued and agrees to the job.
But revisiting the past can be a dangerous business, and what begins with the pursuit of Jane Doe's real identity ends in a high-risk hunt for her killer.
Colgate, the railroad tracks and the highway ran parallel to the ocean. To the north, the Santa Ynez Mountains loomed dark and gray, dense with low-growing vegetation. There were scarcely any trees, and the contours of the foothills were a rolling green. Much of the topography was defined by massive landslides, sandstone and shale debris extending for miles. Dolan and Stacey conducted a conversation that consisted of fishing and hunting stories – endless accounts of all the creatures they'd shot,
"Don't tell him. He can't wait to get down there and back to work." "So what's up?" "Nothing much. We're restless and bored. Hang on. Here's Stacey. He has something he wants to say." He handed the phone to Stacey, and we went through an exchange of pleasantries as though we hadn't spoken in days. Then, he said, "I've been thinking about this Baum guy and he bothers me. I got sidetracked and left without asking him for leads. Stands to reason she was killed by someone she knew, so let's
hollyhocks, hydrangeas, and phlox. I let myself through the gate and climbed the porch steps. The front door stood open and the screen was on the latch. From the depths, I could smell something simmering; fruit and sugar. The radio in the kitchen was tuned to a call-in show, and I could hear the host berating someone in argumentative tones. I placed a hand on the screen, shading my eyes so I could see the interior. The front door was lined up exactly with the back door so my view extended all the
back, he shot me a look that said, Help. I trailed after them, crossing a section of grass that butted up against the garages. A side door stood open and Cissy took us that far before scampering back to her post. Ruel McPhee sat on a wooden desk chair inside the door. A small color TV set had been placed on a crate and plugged into a wall-mounted outlet. He was smoking a cigarette while he watched a game show. Ruel was half the size of his wife, gaunt-faced and sunken-chested, with narrow bony
years ago, but his widow might be willing to help if his records are still in her possession. Dr. Nettleton's over ninety. He's reasonably sharp, but I doubt you'll get much." He turned to Mrs. Gary. "You know the family, don't you? Where's he living these days?" "With his daughter. She goes to my church." "Why don't you give Miss Millhone the information. Maybe he'll remember. It's worth a try, at any rate." "Thanks. I'd appreciate that." Mrs. Gary checked her Rolodex and made a note of the