The Dragon Lady Gets Her Due

Puzzling Mysteries

The Mah Jongg Mysteries Barbara Barrett

Mah Jongg Mystery Series

The Mah Jongg Mystery Series is set in the fictional central Florida town of Serendipity Springs. It features four retired women who meet playing the game of Mah Jongg, and from there develop a strong friendship. Two have been married several years and have grown children and grandchildren, one is divorced and one has never been married. In their earlier lives, all had rewarding careers, but that doesn’t mean they’re content to sit back and relax now.

As the series progresses, each pursues new interests, Kat Faulkner as a songstress, Marianne Putnam writing one-act plays, Micki Demetrius as a freelance journalist, and Sydney Bonner interior design.

In their community, they engage in such activities as a social group for those over 50, numerous stops at the local coffeehouse, classes and other activities at the local community center, and even a shopping trip to Naples. Syd’s husband, Trip, and Marianne’s husband, Beau, are golf buddies who spend many a day on the course. When not there, Trip is busy seeking to build a new post-retirement life, and Beau, a former botanist, is often prevailed upon to join in Trip’s latest activity. Sheriff Rick Formero, a widower, intrigued by Kat, presses for her to make more of their relationship and Kat slowly comes around. Micki, burned by her former spouse, isn’t ready for a serious relationship, at least that’s what she claims, but retired attorney, Guy Whitney, also a widower, tries to convince her to think otherwise. Kat has lived a frugal life until winning big in a lottery shortly after her mother’s death; suddenly, Kat has money and doesn’t know how to spend it. But her pal, Micki, does, even if it’s to guide Kat through a makeover and wardrobe change for her lounge act.

The four don’t seek out murders to investigate; somehow the circumstances and those affected drag them in. To their surprise, they like investigating homicides, and they’re good at it, although along the way, following a few lucky escapes from near-death situations, they discover they must learn self-defense. But it takes time for them to sell their skills and special abilities as civilians to the sheriff.

A Mah Jongg Mystery by Barbara Barrett

Craks in A Marriage

Book 1

When Sydney Bonner overhears a fellow mah jongg player arguing on the phone with her husband, she realizes the couple’s “perfect marriage” isn’t all it appears to be. A few days later, the husband is found dead, his head bashed in. Fearing she’ll be considered the most likely suspect, the widow prevails upon Sydney and her three friends—Marianne, Kat and Micki—to find out who really killed him.

Bamboozled

Book 2

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.

Connect the Dots

Book 3

How could a thirty-something man fall to his death from a fourth-floor balcony he knows is defective? That’s the question freelance writer Micki Demetrius is asked to answer by the man’s grieving mother, Clarissa White, who refuses to believe his death was an unfortunate accident. But when the authorities determine it was homicide, Micki is shut out of her investigative efforts.

Beware the East Wind

Book 4

Beware the east wind! It’s hurricane season in Florida, and everyone’s attention is focused on preparing for the latest tempest. But in Serendipity Springs, mah jongg pals Marianne, Sydney, Micki and Kat are caught in a different kind of whirlwind—a mesmerizing murder case involving a slain hypnotist/chef and the woman police suspect of doing her in, her embittered catering partner, Portia.

Flower Power

Book 5

Kat Faulkner can’t wait to relaunch her singing career at Lombardi’s Supper Club. Even mystery man Roger Flower, the new owner of the restaurant, has brought an entourage to her packed opening night. But her triumphant return to the stage is scuttled when the much-hated Flower drops dead at his table.

Jokers Wild

Book 6

“The show must go on.” That applies even to playwright Marianne Putnam, when the director of her one-act play, “Jokers Wild,” fails to show for curtains up on opening night at the community theater in Serendipity Springs, Florida. When the director’s wife begs Marianne to accompany her to their home to check on him, they find the man floating in his pool. Dead.

The Charleston Challenge

Book 7

Oh, her aching feet! Micki Demetrius questions her sanity for agreeing to compete in Serendipity Springs’ Annual Charleston Challenge when clearly she and her partner, Guy Whitney, have no chance of winning or even placing. Just ask the reigning champion, who points out their low odds of taking home the trophy every chance she gets.

The Dragon Lady Gets Her Due

Book 8

When the dragon lady down the street invites Sydney Bonner’s husband to join the block’s holiday lighting extravaganza, Syd figures the venture will distract him while she manages Sheriff Rick Formero’s election campaign. But Trip’s merry mission ends abruptly when the diva suffers a dramatic demise.

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