Six Cloves Under: A Garlic Farm Mystery By Gin Jones: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

May 16, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Food Fun, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa
& Gin Jones

This week we have a review of the first in another new food series, this one by Gin Jones. We also have a fun guest post about the series and a recipe from Gin. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win either an ebook or audio book copy of Six Cloves Under, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

Six Cloves Under: A Garlic Farm Mystery by Gin Jones
Review by Kathleen Costa

Mabel Skinner has inherited her Aunt Peggy’s garlic farm appropriately, but oddly, christened “Stinkin’ Stuff Farm.” She knows how to code and create apps, a solitary career that fits her personality, however, it is in stark contrast to her Aunt Peggy’s community involvement and plethora of friends in the small Massachusetts town of West Slocum. Mabel has no clue how to manage her aunt’s farm—without internet access, I might add—which includes growing, harvesting, and marketing acres of prized garlic. She does get an early morning introduction to Emily Colter, the neighbor next door raising goats and cheese, Rory Hansen, Community Supported Agriculture organizer, and Rory’s right-hand woman Bettina Parker; all were well-liked by her aunt. Mabel learns many are counting on this year’s premium garlic crop, like the CSA co-op, and many are willing to provide assistance. She needs to get the crop harvested in just a few days, before a predicted storm, or she’ll lose the crop and her aunt’s spot at the Farmers’ Market. Well, she’ll do her best to get this crop in and to market as the last way to honor Aunt Peggy’s memory and uphold her reputation, but selling the farm and returning home to Maine, may be Mabel’s best answer…unless karma offers a different one.

Six Cloves Under earns 5+/5 Garlic Scapes…Deliciously Entertaining!
Mabel is struggling to “fill her aunt’s boots,” trying to do her best to honor her aunt’s memory, and preparing to harvest the crop, but she’s fallen into some contentious issues with Kyle Sherman wanting a place with the CSA, Larry Rose wanting a space at the farmers’ market, and she discovers the lawsuit against Al Soares is still pending. Mabel has so many questions with no easy answers, and her suspicions make her doubt the verdict her aunt’s death was accidental. Where is her aunt’s cell phone? What are the strange noises heard late at night? Why has the farm been seeing a steady drop in profits? Could someone truly have done Aunt Peggy harm? Why? Mabel is set to find the truth, but her safety may also be in jeopardy.

Aromatically Brilliant! Gin Jones is a favorite author who has again made me a fan of her new Garlic Farm series with Mabel Skinner, a character with whom I can identify; we’re both “…Virgo. Detail oriented, and love to have facts at [our] fingertips…” Mabel may feel comfortable with her life creating apps back in Maine, but the garlic farm changes everything…for the better. Having friends and connecting, even with an orange tabby, may be the life Mable needs. Along with a third-person narrative, sensory-laden language, and clever banter, the mystery Mabel uncovers about her Aunt Peggy’s death was very compelling, complex, with an ending that I didn’t see coming. Although it took time to unfold since it wasn’t obvious that anything was untoward, I was totally engaged with getting to know Mabel as well as issues with the farm and local residents. It was hard to put down. I was greatly intrigued by all the fascinating information of the “stinking rose” woven into the drama…who knew one could eat the scapes or even what is is. Google was a friend showing me the loopy stalk topped with the flower can be eaten just like one eats asparagus, but with a “light garlicky flavor.” Enjoy: YouTube/Clean Slate Farm: Scapes & What to Do with Them.

What a cozy! Engaging. Informative. Entertaining.

Bonus! What’s a cozy without recipes…I don’t know, it’s scary to think there’s such a thing. Gin provides three tasty easy to-follow recipes perfect for garlic lovers everywhere: Roasted Garlic Bread, Garlicky Chicken and Rice, and Pickled Garlic.

Sneak Peek Alert! Rhubarb Pie Before You Die is the next book in the Garlic Farm Mystery series. “It’s fall, more than two months after Mabel’s first garlic harvest, and she still hasn’t found a buyer for her aunt’s farm, so she may have to stick around to plant the next year’s crop rather than leaving it for a new owner. While out on a midnight run to collect bagged leaves (to mulch the garlic fields) in a neighborhood with chemical-free lawns, Mabel encounters another local farmer who claims the leaves are his, and angry words are exchanged. And, of course, things get worse from there.” Preorder HERE.

Be a Big Gin Jones!
USA Today bestselling author Gin Jones writing several cozy mystery series. She is part of two multi-author series: the three-book Danger Cove Farmer’s Market Mystery series and also the four-book Danger Cove Quilting Mysteries featuring quilt-appraiser-turned-amateur sleuth Keely Fairchild. She also penned the six-book Helen Binney Mysteries. All well worth spending one’s time!

Website – Gin Jones

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.

Here’s to the “Stinking Rose”
By Gin Jones

I didn’t really have to do much research, since I’ve grown my own garlic for years, probably twenty years now. I’m a bit obsessive about studying anything I do, so I’d already done a lot of reading before planting my own garden. Then when I was working as a tax preparer many years ago, one of my coworkers mentioned that he did the taxes for a garlic farm in the part of Massachusetts where I live. I knew it wasn’t just possible to grow residential quantities here, but also commercial quantities. I figured I knew a lot about garlic, so why not write about it? Even the way the farm in the book features interplanting of crops, garlic and butternut squash (another favorite, and I’m hoping to do something with that crop in a future book in the series), is based on what I do in my home garden. In the northeast (I think the timing is different in California) garlic gets harvested in July, and squash isn’t ready until September or October. It felt like a waste to have the ground bare for all that time, so I started growing them together, and found that they work really well together.

My father didn’t do a lot of cooking, but the one thing he did make for me and my brothers was fried egg sandwiches with lots and lots and LOTS of garlic powder. Thinking of him inspired me to add garlic to an otherwise classic spinach quiche although I opted for the milder, sweeter roasted garlic. This quiche is particularly nice in the summer, when I can use chard and tomatoes from my garden, along with the home-grown garlic.

Spinach, Cheese, and Garlic Quiche

1 head of garlic (or two, if they’re small)
olive oil
single pie crust
1-1/2 cups grated cheese (Swiss or cheddar), divided
10 ounces spinach or Swiss chard
cherry tomatoes, cut in half (optional)
5 eggs
1 cup cream or evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste

Cut off the top 1/4″ of the head of garlic to expose the cloves, and drizzle a little olive oil on the tips to keep them moist. Wrap the head in aluminum foil. Roast at 350-degrees until soft (depending on size of the head, about 20 to 40 minutes). Let cool and then separate the cloves and squeeze out the mushy garlic. Set aside in a small bowl like a custard cup.

Using a pre-made pie crust or your favorite recipe, make one crust. Partially bake in a 10″ pie plate for ten minutes at 350-degrees until just beginning to brown.

Prepare the spinach or chard. If it’s fresh, discard the stems and tear the leaves into small pieces. If it’s frozen, make sure it’s thoroughly thawed and then drain and dry it so it doesn’t make the quiche too wet.

Reserve 1/4 cup of cheese for sprinkling on top, and then layer the crust first with the rest of the grated cheese and then the prepared spinach.

Mix the eggs with the cream or evaporated milk. Add 1/4 teaspoon of the roasted garlic to the egg mixture and mix well. (Spread the rest of the garlic on fresh bread or mix with a little olive oil and refrigerate for use later.) Add salt and pepper to taste, and then pour the mixture over the spinach. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake 30 to 40 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven, until set and an inserted knife comes out clean.

To enter to win either an ebook or digital copy of the audio book copy of Six Cloves Under, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “cloves,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 23, 2020. US only, and must be 18 or older to enter. AND BE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT AUDIO BOOK OR EBOOK. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase this book from Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting. I’ve been to the Garlic Festival in Gilroy. Count me in for the physical book, please.

  2. This sounds like a fun start for a new series! Would love to ‘read’ an audio version. Congratulations on the new series!

  3. I used to drive through the garlic fields in Gilroy, CA – the garlic capital – i love garlic in a lot of food, and the wonderful smell of it growing – completely different – I need to read this series – thanks for the chance to own one of the books.

  4. This sounds interesting. Thanks for the giveaway. Take care.

  5. Sounds like a fun new series. I would like to read an ebook copy. Thanks for the chance.

  6. Love the name of the farm. Can’t wait to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win a free copy.

  7. I definitely use garlic in my cooking. Garlic enhances the flavors in any recipe. This book has been added to my to be read list. Thank you for the chance.

  8. Calling your farm “Stinkin’ Stuff Farm”
    doesn’t sound like something that
    would encourage customers but it
    must since everyone is depending
    on its success. Great to get in
    on the beginning of a series.
    Sounds like a fun read.
    thanks txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  9. We have a winner!


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