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Publisher's Summary

Jolie Gentil gets tapped for some appraisal work at the 10th reunion of her Ocean Alley High School class. When appraising the vacant Tillotson-Fisher house, she finds the skeleton of Richard Tillotson hidden in an antique attic wardrobe. He vanished just after his sister married his business partner in 1929. Jolie sees a link to the Fisher family's Prohibition era business and works with friends Scoobie and Ramona to gather clues from old photo albums and ledgers. The photo albums lead her to Mary Doris Milner, Richard's girlfriend, who has fond memories of him and is certain of who murdered him. But, there was nothing to link her suspect to the murder then, and he's long dead himself.

Mary Doris' death means Jolie won't stop until she finds her killer, whether that leads to a culprit in Richard's decades-old murder or not. Did the secret she kept all these years finally kill her? Between running the food pantry at Christmas time, trying to avoid an annoying local reporter, and escaping a burning building, they hope to figure out who the modern killer is before someone else gets hurt.

Second in the Jolie Gentil Cozy mystery series. All four books in the series are set in this mythical New Jersey beach town, complete with colorful characters and a great coffee shop. Jolie and her multi-generational friends tackle things with humor, and they have a good time - almost always. Her name is French, and translates to "pretty nice." She's used to a bit of teasing.

©2011 Elaine L. Orr (P)2013 Elaine L. Orr

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A fun historical treat!

I enjoyed this story because it was a combo of a cozy mystery & also a bit of history. I like how things go back all the way to the 1920's, which make the new murder one that's cloaked in decades of history. I liked the narration & the reunion of old friends to solve the crime. It was an easy listen & a good cozy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Strong book!

As Elaine Orr’s Rekindling Motives opens, Jolie Gentil goes to the high school reunion in Ocean Alley, where she attended 11th grade, and she gets hired by former classmate Gracie Allen to perform an appraisal of the house she has just inherited from her grandmother. As the pair look through things in the attic, Jolie reaches into the closet and pulls out an old suit with a skeleton in it! The horror causes her to fall backwards and through the trap down of the attic and to the floor beneath. Gracie, already beneath her, manages to cushion Jolie’s head, but Jolie cracks her tailbone, getting her picture once again in the paper.

Everyone’s thoughts go to an old story that in 1929, Richard Tillotson escorted his sister down the stairs to marry Peter Fisher, tripping along the way and causing a fight between the two business partners. The newlyweds went off on their honeymoon, and two days later, people realized that Richard was gone, never to see him again. But maybe he now has resurfaced. Curiously, the skeleton is situated amid clothing from the 1940s and 50s. So if this is truly Richard’s body, what was it doing in the meantime?

This leads Jolie down a rabbit’s warren through the past. Finding the books for the bakery run by Peter and Richard in the late 20s, Jolie and her friends come to realize that the bakery was really a front for a bootleg business, making moonshine during Prohibition. She also discovers that Richard’s sweetheart, Mary Doris Milner, is not only still alive at 94, but very alert and living in Ocean Alley. Discovering what a delightful woman this former schoolteacher who had impacted so many lives is, Jolie gets her to reminisce about old times, learning that Mary Doris is certain Peter killed her Richard and never married out of faithfulness to Richard’s memory. Then, the next day, Mary Doris dies unexpectedly. Could there be a connection with the skeleton?

I really enjoyed the writing of this book. The characters are well-rounded, especially Jolie’s high school friend Scoobie, who has only recently gotten clean of drugs and alcohol and thus is learning to deal with life, and Jolie’s Aunt Madge. And even though we don’t get to spend a lot of time with Mary Doris, the love and admiration everyone around her feels for her transfers through to the reader.

My one dissatisfaction is the choice of murderer. But I can’t say more about that without giving away some plot points.

Paula Faye Leinweber provides strong narration for this book. I like her gentle voice that seems to suit the character of Jolie, the written narrator of the book. I felt I could picture the action as she read.

I also enjoyed the way the book works in poems written by the author’s husband, James W. Larkin, and father, Miles D. Orb.

Rekindling Motives kept my focus the whole way through, making me not want to put it down! I give it five stars!