A Day in the Life of Carrie Martin by Debra H. Goldstein

Should Have Played Poker “The first time I thought of killing him, the two of us were having chicken sandwiches at that fast-food place with the oversized rubber bird anchored to its roof. It didn’t seem right to kill him in a place that closes on Sundays.”

“Probably not.” I pushed a cup of coffee across my desk to a woman I hadn’t seen in twenty-six years.

“Besides Carrie,” she said, “being a lawyer, you can understand I didn’t want to do prison time. I decided it would be better to divorce your father.”

In all the ways I imagined reconnecting with my mother, I never thought it would be in my office discussing why she once wanted to murder my father. I rummaged in my desk for a packet of sweetener, wondering how anyone, especially my mother, could think of killing my father, the former minister of Wahoo, Alabama’s Oakwood Street Church.

Rather than ask, I waited. One thing I discovered before I washed myself out of the police academy to go to law school is that there’s no reason to rush. You can often learn more from silence than by asking endless questions. Still, I was curious how this blue-jeaned woman carrying a large plastic bag found out I’m a junior attorney for Carleton Industries or that I’d be in my office on a Sunday. When she placed a sealed envelope on my desk, I broke my rule.

She laughed. I had a faint recollection of a sound I last heard when I was three. “I asked around,” she said. Her finding me at work today instantly made sense. Wahoo is the kind of town where everyone is aware my father traded his pulpit for assisted living after we learned he was in the early stages of dementia. They also saw me grow up and know, other than my daily visits to my father, I’m a typical Carleton Industries employee – every day is a workday.

After my mother left, I fingered the sealed envelope. I owed it to my father to talk to him before I opened it. I should have gone to Sunshine Village immediately, but even on a Sunday, I had a project deadline. Consequently, I shoved the envelope into my pocket, pushed my mother from my mind, and finished my assignment before driving to the retirement home.

Signs everywhere announced today’s Sunshine Village Halloween children’s carnival, the brainchild of Carolyn Holt, my favorite retired children’s librarian and the one who most provided a woman’s touch in my life. She moved into Sunshine Village a few months after my father and immediately came up with the carnival idea to subtly encourage children and grandchildren to visit their older family members. Normally, I would have checked if she needed help with the carnival, but the envelope in my pocket spurred me toward my father’s room. I passed the people in the lobby, including a few tables of poker players displaced because the game room was being used for ghost stories. As I punched the elevator button, one of the poker groups invited me to play a few hands, but I declined.

I expected to be met by silence when the elevator doors opened on my father’s floor. Instead, a chaotic Code Blue was underway. Realizing the room number being called was Carolyn Holt’s, I pushed through the crowd and slipped by the Sunshine Village Mah jongg players guarding the door. Immediately, I knew the knife protruding from the woman’s Burberry clothed back would make CPR difficult and that my day had just gone from bad to worse.


Should Have Played Poker is the first book in the NEW “Carrie Martin And The Mah Jongg Players” mystery series, published by Five Star Publishing, April 2016.

Carrie Martin’s precarious balancing of her corporate law job and visiting her father at the Sunshine Village retirement home is upset when her mother appears, out of the blue, in Carrie’s office twenty-six years after abandoning her family. Her mother leaves her with a sealed envelope and the confession she once considered killing Carrie’s father. Carrie seeks answers about her past from her father prior to facing what is in the envelope. Before she can reach his room, she finds her mother murdered and the woman who helped raise her seriously injured.

Instructed to leave the sleuthing to the police, Carrie’s continued efforts to discover why someone would target the two most important women in her life quickly put her at odds with her former lover–the detective assigned to her mother’s case. As Carrie and her co-sleuths, the Sunshine Village Mah jongg players, attempt to unravel Wahoo, Alabama’s past secrets in this fast paced cozy mystery, their efforts put Carrie in danger and show her that truth and integrity aren’t always what she was taught to believe.

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Meet the author
Judge (ret.) Debra H. Goldstein is the author of Should Have Played Poker, a Carrie Martin and DebraGoldsteinthe Mah Jongg Players Mystery (Five Star Publishing – February 2016) and the 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue, a mystery set on the University of Michigan’s campus. She also writes short stories and non-fiction. Debra serves on the national Sisters in Crime, Guppy Chapter and Alabama Writers Conclave boards and is a MWA member. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, Joel, whose blood runs crimson.

Links: Website | Facebook

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a signed copy of Should Have Played Poker. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end April 28 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

46 responses to “A Day in the Life of Carrie Martin by Debra H. Goldstein

  1. Sounds like a fun and interesting read! It is now on my tbr! Thanks for introducing me to a new author!

  2. Barb Goffman

    Congratulations on the new book, Debra! (No need to include me in the giveaway. )

  3. The title alone would have enticed me to pick this book up and read it.

  4. This certainly sounds intriguing. Hope I win!

  5. Please let me win this one. It sounds wonderful.

  6. I love fast paced mysteries with lots of twists. And Mah Jong is one of my favorites too. I want to find out how Carrie solves the case. Thanks for the chance!

  7. Great blurb! I’m hooked. Thanks!

  8. Peggy Hyndman

    Should Have Played Poker sounds great. Thank you for introducing me to Debra Goldstein’s books.

  9. Sounds like a fun read. Love cozies that have humor in them.

  10. My, this does does sound interesting.

  11. I have been waiting for this book with much anticipation. Congratulations, Debra! (No need to put me in the drawing for the giveaway.)

  12. Love the book. My son is Joel. This author is so talented and this book captivating and funny. Thanks.

  13. Yes please Dru, I’d love to win this one. It has all the elements of a fun read. It has dead bodies, dementia patients, a mysterious letter from the mother she hasn’t seen in 26 years and a party, all together. Please toss my name into the magic hat.

  14. Barbara, Barb, Dianne, Gail, Amy, Donna R, Donna G, Peggy, Jackie, Libby, Linda, Elaina, and Nora,
    Thanks for stopping by those who know me….and for being curious and wanting to know a new author those who don’t. The fun thing about Dru’s Musings is how many writers she introduces all of us to….I regularly add to my tbr list from her guests. Good luck to all of you!!!!!

  15. I’ve never played Mah Jongg and the thought of a mystery being focused around it sounds very interesting. Thank you for the chance to enter this giveaway. robeader53@yahoo.com

  16. Sounds like a great read.

  17. Susan Slovinsky

    This is most definitely a different and intriguing plot – You have me hooked. Have to add this to my TBR list.

  18. Heidi Parrish

    Ooh, this book sounds like a fun read!

  19. elainehroberson

    Sounds interesting. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  20. New-to-me author—looking forward to giving this book a try. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  21. This sounds like an intriguing book. A really different story line. Looking forward to reading.

  22. It certainly grabs my attention. Can’t wait to read it.

  23. Doward Wilson

    Great review. Thanks for the chance to win.

  24. love the title and the description of the story line has me hooked. thanks for the chance

  25. It’s a pretty safe bet that the butler didn’t do it. Now to find out who did!

  26. Barbara Hackel

    I used to play Mah jongg, never learned poker, but have learned what a good book introduction sounds like! This sounds like a winner and one I will have to read. Thanks Dru for the introduction! Thanks Debra for the opportunity to win a copy of “Should Have Played Poker.” 🙂

  27. Haven’t we all fingered a sealed envelope? I became a master at steaming when my sons’ college acceptance letters started coming in. SHHHHHH! Fabulous post. Great character!

  28. Exciting days she has…I’d like to read about more of them.

  29. This sounds like lots of fun, thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  30. I would love to win a signed copy of Should Have Played Poke. Thank you for the chance.

  31. Mary Jane H.

    Sounds great!

  32. It sounds fabulous, Debra! I’m so happy for you! Don’t enter me in the contest.

  33. This sounds terrific! Thanks for giving us a chance to win.

  34. Sounds wonderful.

  35. Patricia Lafferty

    What an eclectic mix of subjects! I really want to read.this book. Thank you for the chance.

  36. Thank you for the chance to win this first in the series! The teaser got me!

  37. Vicki Highley

    This is an awesome sounding book. Hopefully I can win.

  38. Rita, Patricia, Rhonda, Karen, Mary Jane, Cathy, Carl, Gram, Lala, Barbara, Jo, Johnna, Doward, CJ, Dianne, Linda, Elaine, Heidi, Susan, Rita, and Ro, Thanks for your words of excitement and good luck with your entries. Sherry, thanks for the kind wishes and good luck with your new book.

  39. This sounds like an awesome book. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  40. rosemary pfeiffer

    you just keep finding the most awesome and exciting books to win..thanks for the chance..

  41. This sounds fantastic! Right up my alley. I will def be reading this one 🙂

  42. Brooke, Rosemary, Alicja,
    Hope you will read this one….and enjoy it! Thanks for entering to win a free copy and keep reading Dru’s Musings!

  43. Merry Chapman

    Wow this book sounds fantastic! Definitely need to read this one. My mom is in an “independent” living community and has been playing Mah Jongg for more than 50 years! So much in common with this read, sans murder of course!

  44. Merry and any of you who don’t win the free copy, if you do read Should Have Played Poker and would like a free bookmark, feel free to drop me a note DHG@DebraHGoldstein.com and I’ll be glad to send you one. Dru, thanks again for having Carrie visit and for the kind review.

  45. Sounds like a Awesome Book 👍👍 Thank you for a chance to win 💟