Beware the East Wind
Four Central Florida senior sleuths investigate the murder of a local hypnotist/caterer to prove the innocence of the victim's catering partner. With no law enforcement authority, they must go underground to gain information about potential suspects. And suspects abound, because the murdered woman was keeping notes on her private clients' secrets revealed while under hypnosis. More
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.
Tasked by Portia to help clear her name, and at the risk of infuriating Kat’s sheriff boyfriend, Marianne and her friends discover there are more than enough suspects—and secrets—to go around. Wary of getting themselves into more dangerous situations, Marianne and Syd agree to let their protective spouses join the hunt, even if their scheming husbands are really in it for the action, not bodyguard duty.
As they dig into the hypnotist’s explosive files, more and more questions arise. Was she blackmailing her clients? Did her husband knock her off to gain access to those secrets? And is Portia telling them everything she knows? The sleuths pile their own deceptions on top of the suspects’ lies as a dangerous storm gathers steam offshore. When will the east wind strike, and will the hurricane’s merciless eye reveal a killer?
This cozy mystery, the fourth of the Mah Jongg Mystery series, again is titled after a term in the game of mah jongg. The first three books, Craks in a Marriage, Bamboozled and Connect the Dots, used the names of the three suits of tiles. Another group of tiles is named after the four winds. The East Wind in mythology and literature has a delicious reputation destruction or for bringing change. In this story, the East Wind is gathering its forces out in the ocean to the east of Florida, signaling a brewing storm, or worse, a hurricane.
The Mah Jongg Mysteries feature four retired amateur sleuths who live in the small central Florida town of Serendipity Springs, all female and all friends who play the game of mah jongg together. Though they don't set out to investigate murder, others come to them for help investigating homicides and questionable accidents. In this story, Marianne Putnam takes the lead; the four protagonists share this role in other stories. Marianne, along with Sydney Bonner, is married, Micki Demetrius is divorced and the fourth, Katrina, “Kat,” Faulkner has been single all her life while she tended to her ailing mother and now finds herself the object of the sheriff's attention.
Even in the midst of their investigations, life goes on in their community and in their own lives in such activities as a social group for those over 50, numerous stops at the local coffeehouse and a local rodeo. Sydney's husband, Trip, and Marianne Putnam'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 is often prevailed upon to join in Trip's latest activity. Both would rather their wives stay as far away from murder as possible, but they, too, get involved in the investigations eventually, one way or another. 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 freelance journalist, Micki, does, even if it's to guide Kat through a makeover, wardrobe selections for her lounge act and redecorating her McMansion.
Prior to beginning this series, Barbara Barrett was already published in contemporary romance with eleven novels and two novellas. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and its Iowa chapter. She is also a member of the Mystery/Romantic Suspense chapter of Romance Writers of America, Iowa Romance Novelists and Spacecoast Authors of Romance. Like her protagonists, she is retired and a resident of Florida, although she heads back to her home state of Iowa for “cooler” weather in summer. She spent over three decades as a human resource management analyst with Iowa state government. www.barbarabarrettbooks.com.
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