Bamboozled (The Mah Jongg Mysteries) by Barbara Barrett
Cozy Mysteries 2nd in Series
Self Published (April 3, 2018)
Paperback: 272 pages ISBN-13: 978-1948532037
Digital ASIN: B07C9CLL4R
Essential oils distributor Dorcas Wiley is the boss everyone loves to hate. So when she turns up dead, killed by her own trophy, disgruntled saleswoman Cathy Broderick is the obvious suspect in her murder. Despite opportunity, motive and incriminating evidence, Cathy declares her innocence and enlists her mah jongg pals—Sydney Bonner and her cronies Marianne, Micki and Kat—to help save her from the death penalty.Hot off a recent and nearly deadly investigation, the women are cautious about putting themselves in peril again. Syd’s spouse isn’t thrilled about another mystery in their lives, either, but he can’t resist the plea of Cathy’s husband. Soon, Syd is leading the way as they tangle with grumpy salespeople, the victim’s estranged husband and boyfriend, a mysterious housekeeper, a litigious customer, an annoyed sheriff and Cathy’s own arrogant lawyer.The women have their own issues to deal with in their central Florida town of Serendipity Springs. Kat faces a health challenge, Micki fields a mysterious inquiry from her ex, Marianne has a chaotic anniversary and Syd wrestles with her husband over who’s really in charge. But nothing puts everyday life into perspective like the moment when their investigation brings them face to face with danger.
Continuing on where Craks In A Marriage left off, (but this can be read as a stand alone,) several months have passed since the Mah Jongg playing ladies did their first investigation to clear someone of murder charges. At that time, the husbands were very much against the ladies placing themselves in danger and sticking their noses in where they should not tread.
This time, the husbands are the ones to get the investigating started! From this we learn more about relationship dynamics and different ways brains process information and make plans.
This second book in the series has several plot lines converging. One of the members is diagnosed with cancer and as she must learn to deal with her reality, her friends must figure out how to help without suffocating her or being taken aback by her mood swings and redirected anger.
Husband Tripp is also once again taking on quite a large project to fill his retirement time. The idea is to make a cruise more affordable by lining up a number of participants. He soon finds that you can't please everyone ANY of the time, and most of the people... well, it is another learning experience. And of course there is a murder or two as well as some con games going on.
I am enjoying getting to better understand the characters of this series.
This is not a simple cozy mystery set up. This is not simple anything. Well thought out and well entangled. Even if you figure out who did what, you want to understand why!
Previously in this series:
New cozy series excite me. This one is a little different than my usual, as the main characters are somewhat wealthy retirees. Well, one is a lottery winner, but all have winning personalities and a competitive streak.
Not only do these senior sleuths repeatedly remind each other that they don't really have a clue how to go about this, they decide not to tell their husbands what they are up to. Of course, they must also stay out of the way of law enforcement, doing their own investigation.
A fun read that is a great start to a delightful series!
Read my full review here.
Purchase from Amazon.
About the Author
Barbara Barrett started reading mysteries when she was pregnant with her first child to keep her mind off things like her changing body and food cravings. When she’d devoured as many Agatha Christies as she could find, she branched out to English village cozies and Ellery Queen.
Later, to avoid a midlife crisis, she began writing fiction at night when she wasn’t at her day job as a human resources analyst for Iowa State Government. After releasing eleven full-length romance novels and one novella, she returned to the cozy mystery genre, using one of her retirement pastimes, the game of mah jongg, as her inspiration. Not only has it been a great social outlet, it has also helped keep her mind active when not writing.
Bamboozled, the second book in her “Mah Jongg Mystery” series, features four friends who play mah jongg together and share otherwise in each other’s lives. None of the four is based on an actual person. Each is an amalgamation of several mah jongg friends with a lot of Barbara’s imagination thrown in for good measure. The four will continue to appear in future books in the series.
Anticipating the day when she would write her first mystery, she has been a member of the Mystery/Romantic Suspense chapter of Romance Writers of America for over a decade. She credits them with helping her hone her craft.
Barbara is married to the man she met her senior year of college. They have two grown children and eight grandchildren.
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