Craks in a Marriage Book 1

Renovating a restaurant is hard enough. Renovating it for your boyfriend who thinks his million-dollar smile will make up for his ever-changing whims is even harder. But running the job when a woman is murdered in a house your colleague is renovating? It’s almost more than Rowena Summerfield can handle—especially when she’s once again pulled into her old role of homicide detective to find the killer.

Ro dives in to clear her friend so she can go back to her real job, especially since the rocky renovation threatens to wreck her relationship with charming Chuck. But this mystery is anything but straightforward. The victim wore drywall stilts. Her nearest relatives are either uncooperative or dead. And everybody’s lying to Ro and her old partner, Herc. 

With support from her daughter and her finicky cat, Jason, Ro puts her new love and young company on the line to crack the case—even when the only solution seems to be a dangerous plot to entrap the murderer before the devious killer eliminates them.

Death by Drywall

Nailed It Home Reno Mysteries Book 3

By Barbara Barrett

I’d wait until after the investigating team left to tell Ryder that Herc was right; he was simply doing his job. For now, though, I needed to stick around and support Ryder. Learning that someone had been killed on his property had to be devastating. 

“Thanks for the update, Herc … and Al, but we don’t want to keep you from moving ahead with the investigation.”

Herc bit a lip. Al shuffled one foot. “Actually, we’re here for another reason,” Herc said. 

“What’s that?” Ryder asked.

Herc turned his attention to me. “We discovered this afternoon that Al is allergic to sawdust. A large part of our investigation could involve Ryder’s property, possibly other construction sites.”

“I, uh, can’t do the field work on this case,” Al said begrudgingly. “Herc needs a partner.”

No, not again. Surely this wasn’t happening so soon after the last time I was recruited to help Herc investigate a case. I gazed at Herc, who was staring at his feet. Both of us nearly bought it on that one. I’d vowed that my days as a homicide investigation consultant for the Shasta police force had come to an end. At least for some time to come. 

“I know your feelings about investigating again, Ro,” Herc told me. “But we really need you. And your construction expertise.” 

“Last time that was Val, not me.” Weak rejoinder, but I was punting. It wasn’t just Herc asking me. Now Al, the guy who was not my greatest supporter, had joined in the appeal. “Surely there’s someone else on the force who can assist you, Herc. I’m needed here. We still have a lot of work to complete before this project is finished.”

“That what you think, Ryder?” Herc asked. “You can’t do without Ro long enough to find whoever killed the woman? On your property?”

“The property that will carry the stigma of the murder unless we bring in the killer,” Al said, picking up on Herc’s theme.

Ryder didn’t reply immediately, but his eyes had narrowed and his lips firmed. “Their arguments make sense, Ro,” he said finally. “If you do this, you’ll not only be finding justice for that poor woman, you’ll be helping me keep my reputation intact.”

“I can’t leave you in the lurch with a project again.” Even as I said those words, I knew I was facing an uphill battle. 

“I know how you feel about getting back in the saddle, but there are good reasons this time,” Ryder told me.

“There were good reasons before. But good reasons can’t protect me from the wiles of killers.”

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Four retired senior sleuths augment their weekly mah jongg game investigating homicides in their small central Florida community of Serendipity Springs even though they occasionally are at odds with the local sheriff.

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