Bamboozled by Barbara Barrett
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Great Escapes
About The Book
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.
If you like playing Mah Jongg maybe it will be time to search for another hobby… Because after reading Bambozled and how this group of friends that love to play Mah Jongg are always the main suspects to a murder investigation doesn’t sound really promising to me… and you?
This book has so many plots intertwined with the mystery that I couldn’t put down the book! Because what makes a book interesting is not only the mystery or how is solved but how you can relate to and feel the characters, and let me say that this group of friends is kind and sweet, of course all of them have their own problems but this doesn’t mean they will not try to help each other in the moments of need, and that’s what made this book interesting and real.
If you want to know a little bit of the murder, let me say that the victim is not a very loved person, has a few enemies… they just have to find which one is the real killer! 😉
I have to admit I haven’t read the previous book, but this one was good to read as standalone, let me admit that I can’t wait to read their new adventure!
Ready for a dangerous play?
The Essentials on Essential Oils
In Bamboozled, my second book in The Mah Jongg Mystery series. I wanted to feature a small area business where the boss gets killed and her sales force become the primary suspects. I initially considered some well-known home product sales businesses structured along the pyramid model but rejected them as being too recognizable. In researching the essential oils business, I discovered there were several, so I could generalize.
This article isn’t meant as an advertisement for essential oils. What I hope to do isshow how and why this business has grown in popularity and why I felt it was a suitable backdrop for this story.
In this story, it is important that the boss have the lock on distributorship, so her people have to go through her to get the product. I also wanted something where sales areas were split among local towns, so no two sales representatives’ territories overlapped.
Although my family and friends have used essential oils for some time, I hadn’t, so I had some research to do before I could finalize the manuscript. Here’s a “duh” moment I experienced once I starting looking into this business: the name comes from the fact these are the “essence” of various plants, oils that have been extracted. “Essential” doesn’t refer to being “absolutely necessary,” although it does lend itself well to the premise of the product. I know, a huge admission of ignorance from a supposedly hip and well-schooled author, but like I said, I’d never paid much attention to them before.
Once I got past that discovery, the next thing I learned was that they have a multitude of uses, their fragrance being the most obvious. They can be used as personal scents or aromatically to freshen rooms and other surroundings. But that’s just the beginning of the list.
Essential oils also have many therapeutic properties when used topically such as soothing muscles, easing joint pain and addressing skin irritation. When used in food or water, they can help with digestive problems as well as enhance the digestive system. They can also boost moods when diffused or inhaled. They can even add flavor to certain foods like salad dressings or smoothies.
Primary essential oils include frankincense, lavender, lemon, peppermint, lemongrass, cedarwood, juniper and wintergreen. But there are many more.
My daughter-in-law has used essential oils to fight against and lessen the effects of winter colds for my grandchildren particularly to support the respiratory function and soothe scratchy throats.
My daughter uses lavender as a calming agent for her teenage son, who is a bit high strung, to help him relax and go to sleep. Her other teenage son uses a blend with coconut oil as an all-natural muscle relaxer. Her college-aged daughter uses spearmint to keep spiders out of her dorm room.
Like one of the characters in the book (though not planned that way), a mah jongg friend sells essential oils. From her I received the “skinny” on how her set-up was organized, suggesting I use the term “team members” rather than sales representatives. Also, her business relationship is a little less structured than I made the arrangement between the boss and her team in this book. I wanted the team members to be more bound to their business commitment so they would resent the boss more.
I have to admit to being a tad skeptical about essential oils, especially after hearing friends rave about their many uses and successes with them. But I recently attended an outdoor showing of a popular film which was shown just as the mosquitos and other tiny flying things were coming alive for the night. I’d forgotten to bring my bug spray (which isn’t that far off from an essential oil), so the woman next to me let me apply to my ankles and hands a few drops of the oil she’d brought with her. To my amazement, both body parts survived the night bite-free. I became a convert.
I’m also trying a few drops of lavender on my pillow case at night to help me sleep better. So far, it still takes me a while to drop off, but once I do, I’m waking less frequently. We are also applying orange essence to the pad of our robotic vacuum to deodorize as it cleans.
About The Author
Barbara Barrett characterize herself as a contemporary culture junkie. Translated: she changed her undergraduate major from anthropology to American history when she learned she’d have to do field work (no air conditioning) to obtain my graduate degree, but she never lost my interest in observing current lifestyle trends. She’s a TV addict. Sitcoms are her real passion, sitcoms done well, with ensembles that click and witty writing that never fails to amuse. She loves to bake chocolate chip cookies and spend her spare time playing Mah Jongg.
In her former life she was a human resources analyst, so the jobs of her heroes and heroines almost become secondary characters in my contemporary romance novels.
She was married on D-Day, June 6 (her degree’s in history, remember), and have two incredible grown children and eight grandchildren who make life worth living. She spends her winters in Florida (her office allows a view of four palm trees) and her summers in her home state of Iowa.