The show must go on

I have friends who are devoted Mah Jongg players and friends who are active in community theater so I had to share this one.

Jokers Wild (Mah Jongg Mystery Series)
by Barbara Barrett

About Jokers Wild

Jokers Wild (Mah Jongg Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: Bowker (July 5, 2020)
Paperback: 232 pages
ISBN-10: 1948532220
ISBN-13: 978-1948532228
Digital ASIN: B0856RP32V

“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.

Though not known for his pleasant disposition—her relationship with him had been tense since nearly ramming into his car in a parking lot, but after all, he was the director—who would have wanted to murder him? Surely no one in the production crew, cast or the staff of the community center where the play was to be staged. Maybe it was the wife, who Marianne had overheard arguing with him. Or perhaps someone from his theater connections back in the Big Apple.

Since she was there when the body was discovered, Marianne is considered a suspect. That doesn’t mean she can’t help her three Mah Jongg friends—Syd, Micki and Kat—assist the sheriff with the investigation. But who’s there to help her when her path crosses the murderer’s.

About Barbara Barrett

Author Barbara Barrett. Photo by Chris Kridler,

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 in human resources for Iowa State Government. After releasing eleven full-length romance novels and two novellas, 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.

Jokers Wild, the sixth 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.

Barbara is a member of Sisters in Crime, Sinc-Iowa, Romance Writers of America and the SpacecoasT chapter of Romance Writers of America.

She is married to the man she met her senior year of college. They have two grown children and eight grandchildren.

Now retired, she is a resident of Florida, although she spends her summers in Iowa, her home state. She earned her B.A. degree in History from the University of Iowa and her Master’s Degree in History from Drake University.

When not in front of her laptop creating her next story, she plays mah jongg, travels and enjoys lunches with friends.

Author Links


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About Dee

"What if?" Those two words all too easily send Devorah Fox spinning into flights of fancy. Best-selling author of “The Redoubt,” voted one of 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading 2016, and three other books in The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam epic historical fantasy series. She also co-authored the contemporary thriller, Naked Came the Sharks, with Jed Donellie. She contributed to Masters of Time: a SciFi/Fantasy Time Travel Anthology and has several Short Reads to her name, including Murder by the Book, A Mystery Mini. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives in The Barefoot Palace on the Texas Gulf Coast with rescued tabby cats ... and a dragon named Inky. Visit the “Dee-Scoveries” blog at
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5 Responses to The show must go on

  1. I so appreciate your spotlighting “Jokers Wild” today and for not only mentioning how the book features mah jongg but also community theater. I identify in some way with each of my four protagonists. With Marianne, it’s not only because she’s short like me but also because I’ve written a one-act play myself, which is what gave me the idea for this book.


    • Dee says:

      My mom played mah jongg. I have her set which I suspect is older than I am. I never did learn how to play, though. My mah jongging neighbors are eager to have me join them and are happy to teach me. However, it’s hard to break away from writing. As for community theater, a very dear friend is an avid community theater actor. It’s such a pleasure to delight in his performances. I always walk away thinking that I should try writing a play. Maybe one day I will!

      • That is so neat that you have your mother’s set. Maybe someday you’ll be looking for new adventures and will learn how to play. It really keeps the brain sharp, well, not enough for my books to basically write themselves, but you know what I mean.


  2. Pingback: Enjoy A Recipe: Un-Spicy Chili by Barbara Barrett – I Read What You Write!

  3. Pingback: Jokers Wild by Barbara Barrett Book Spotlight - Christy's Cozy Corners

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