As Ro, a former homicide detective, comes to terms with the deal, she gets a shock when the former owner—and madam—turns up dead. Soon someone from Ro’s past shows up at the work site: her ex-partner, who needs a temporary sidekick to help him solve the case. Reviving their investigative team isn’t easy, especially when Herc gets jealous of the hunky deli owner who takes an interest in widow Rowena. Until now, she was fine with one man in her life—her cuddly cat, Jason.
Ro and Herc discover the previous residents of the house, including the victim’s daughter, have less than fond memories of their former boss. The bordello’s old customers have a lot to lose if their secrets surface, and the unhappy neighbors still bear a grudge. As the sleuths dig deeper, they unearth a flimsy foundation of anger, greed and fear framing the walls the suspects have built around themselves. Can Ro and Herc find the culprit before someone plays another deadly trick?
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.
Measure Twice, Murder Once is the first book in the Nailed It Home Reno Mysteries Series. It features Rowena Summerfield, a retired homicide investigator who teams up with her daughter, Valerie Kowalski, to start their own home renovation business. After struggling to keep afloat the first few years, they are now building a solid reputation. That is, until Ro’s former partner, Herc Morgan, comes calling and begging her to help him solve his latest murder case, that of the woman who sold them their current project.
Though not an interior designer, that occupation has always fascinated Barbara. Her father was a carpenter and her husband has his own woodworking business. Exposure to their work got her interested in watching numerous home improvement shows on HGTV. Ro and Val are an amalgam of several HGTV hosts. She used that combination of personality traits and turned her into a female sleuth who rehabs older houses.
Barbara is a member of Sisters in Crime, Sinc-Iowa and Florida STAR Fiction Writers.
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, watches TV detective shows and enjoys lunches with friends.