top of page
  • N. N. Light

The Dragon Lady Gets Her Due by @bbarrettbooks is an Indie Reads event pick #cozymystery #giveaway

Title: The Dragon Lady Gets Her Due

Author: Barbara Barrett

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Book Blurb:

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.

Syd and her mah jongg friends Marianne, Micki and Kat see a chance to make their amateur sleuthing official with their contributions to Sheriff Rick’s campaign platform. But they’re just as interested in why the skipper of the spectacular light show met her shocking end. Putting their political proposal into action, Syd rides shotgun with Rick as they interview a stocking full of suspects.

Serendipity Springs’ secrets come to light as they unravel the mystery against the backdrop of a contentious campaign. From the standoffish widower to the resentful volunteers, it seems everyone on the committee had a problem with the queen of Christmas. As the naughty list grows and the neighbors string the investigators along, can Syd and her friends nail the evil elf before a deadly decorator turns out their lights for good?


Cora’s complexion was growing redder by the second. “I’m paying attention all right, as I hope the rest of this group is. You can’t keep making decisions as big as this one on your own, Eleanor. The rest of us need some say in how the event will be run this year.” As she said this last part, her eyes searched those of the rest of the group. Only Serena gazed back at her, nodding. The others glanced away or studied their hands.

“As much as I appreciate your contributions to this event over the years, Cora, your outbursts and accusations about my integrity as your leader are becoming too frequent to be dismissed as simply your unique nature. If it’s my leadership you’re questioning, perhaps we should take a vote of confidence and see where everyone else stands.”

Cora seized upon the idea. “Good idea. Let’s do that. Right now.”

“Oh, c’mon, ladies. Let’s not let this get out of hand,” the woman Trip remembered as Connie Reposo said.

“Connie’s right,” Pete Johnson added. “I hate to see our little group grow so combative.”

“No, Pete and Connie,” Serena said, “it’s been coming to this for a long time. It’s time we see where everyone stands.”

Eleanor lowered her lids as if putting up with this behavior was a strain. “Very well. Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you still have confidence in me as your committee chair?”

Almost everyone’s hands went up, including Trip’s. He had no reason at this point to want the woman out. The vote was ten to two, the two being Cora and Serena, no surprise.

Cora glared at her fellow committee members. “What a bunch of gutless wonders. You complain about her high-handedness when she’s not holding court in these meetings, but when it comes to laying your real feelings on the line, you give in to her. Well, fine. I don’t have to be part of this any longer.”

She started for the door but turned back when she seemed to realize she was alone. “Coming, Serena?”

“Running out won’t solve this issue, Cora. We need to stay and continue to express our lack of support.”

“Not me,” Cora called. “Go on, all of you. Follow the leader. We’ll just see how this year’s event turns out.”

With that, she was out the door.

Trip wondered how much drama he’d be dealing with before his holiday display was ever lit.


“Did Trip decide to join your block’s lighting display committee?” Kat asked Syd before they got down to business.

“After considerable back and forth discussion between the two of us, yes, he did. In fact, he’ll be attending his second meeting with the group in a little while,” Syd replied. “He even visited with four of the other five homeowners on our end, and they also agreed to join. The fifth is in Europe and hopefully will join once they’re back next month.”

Marianne sipped coffee while she gazed fondly on the Danish she’d passed over. “I can’t wait to get the skinny on what goes on behind the scenes to get that production up to snuff each year.”

“Have you ever met Eleanor Gilchrist, the committee chair?” Syd asked all four of them. “From what Trip says, she’s a bit of a tyrant. But I guess she’s the reason behind the event’s success.”

Like the last time, Kat settled on the couch next to Rick. “I take it this is his newest project since his chili cook-off days have come to an end?”

How to answer? Trip was usually much more enthusiastic about his projects, but he had more control with those. “For now. He didn’t find this one, like is usually the case. It found him. Time will tell how he likes it.” She caught Rick unobtrusively glancing at his watch. Time to get going. “Anyway, we wanted to update you on a few items we’ve been working on. Marianne, why don’t you brief us on the paperwork to get him on the ballot?”

“I’ve managed to locate all the forms necessary to register you. Everything is complete except for one. Meanwhile, I need your signature on these.” She opened a folder she’d brought and handed him the forms.

“Have you and Kat discussed the proposal I laid out for you the other day?” Syd asked.

“At length. It’s really risky, Syd,” he said. “I’d be putting my whole career on the line.”

She wasn’t surprised. She’d probably have the same reaction if placed in his position. “Is that a no?”

He shot a look at Kat. “Not yet.” He held up a hand. “I know, we have to decide soon. Just give us another day or so to think about it.”

She was about to say something when his phone rang. The sheriff popped up and bounded out of the room. He was back within a minute. “I’ll have to cut this short, ladies. Got a homicide to investigate.” He patted down his pockets, apparently checking for his phone and other lawman paraphernalia. He was about go when he stopped. “Don’t you live on Sabal Palms Terrace, Syd?”

“Yes?” A sharp pang of fear shot through her. A homicide on her block?

“That name you mentioned earlier? The woman in charge of the committee?” the sheriff asked.

“Eleanor Gilchrist. Why?”

He pursed his lips. “This is still all confidential, but since you live there … she was just found dead in her backyard. Electrocuted. All signs point to murder.”

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

Amazon digital

Amazon print

BN digital

BN print




What makes your featured book a must-read?

Christmas memories. Christmas traditions. The Christmas light show is both. Who doesn’t stop in their tracks when they come across their luminous glow in the night? The Dragon Lady Gets Her Due begins with that theme in mind. Sabal Palms Terrace in Serendipity Springs, Florida has been putting on quite a show for years, thanks in large part to the leadership of Eleanor Gilchrist. It has brought attention to both her and the community. But it has come with a price: Eleanor has turned into a tyrant to keep her pet project going, insulting her neighbors at the same time she demands more and more of their time, energy and money. What reader hasn’t come across at least one Eleanor in their life? That identification is the very reason this is a must-read. Except in this case, one person carries their resentment of this despot too far. Check it out to discover who brought a shocking end to her life and why.

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $35 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win. Runs December 13 – December 21, 2022. Winner will be drawn on December 22, 2022.

Author Biography:

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.

The Dragon Lady Gets Her Due, the eighth 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 and Sinc-Iowa.

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.

Social Media Links:

Newsletter subscription:


bottom of page