A day in the life of Barbara Marr by Karen Cantwell

My name is Barbara Marr and I’m a soccer mom living in the boring, predictable suburbs. The only thrills in my day should be the frantic road races between ballet lessons and the much-too-closely-scheduled orthodontist appointment on the other side of the universe. But here’s the thing: my life isn’t so boring and definitely not predictable. See, I seem to have a gift for stumbling upon the messy remnants of lurid crime scenes.

I suppose my real problem in life isn’t the fact that I find dead people, but rather the chaotic events that follow. In fact, I have such a talent for attracting trouble, that my husband Howard has developed an emergency code system for alerting friends and family when danger is imminent. I was unaware of this alert system until the first time it was put into use. This is how the system works: A text goes out to my best friends Roz and Peggy, family friend and business partner, Colt Baron, and my mother and Howard’s mother who share a condo and are collectively referred to as “The Grandmas.” Code yellow is just a precaution whereas a code red basically means “Call in the SWAT team, Barb is at it again.”

So you may be wondering if all of my days are emergency alert days. No, but most are at least a little crazy.

A more typical day in my life goes something like this:

My eyes open at the break of dawn when the sound of a quacking duck awakens me before the alarm.

Husband Howard, nudges me. “Your duck is back.”

“Vito Corleone is not my duck,” I protest.

“You gave him a name, he’s your duck,” Howard says.

I crawl out of bed, knowing he’s right, but not without having the last word. “When a duck saves your life, you kind of have to give him a name, don’t you think?”

After taking Vito the duck back to his den on the lake, I return home to find my two youngest daughters sitting at the kitchen table eating cereal. Middle-schooler, Bethany, reads a book while she chews, and nine-year-old Amber is video-chatting with her big sister, Callie, a freshman in college.

My cell phone buzzes. It’s a text from my mother. I hear sirens. Are you okay?

I type back. Am fine. Not every siren means I’ve been kidnapped. Then I turn my attention to the video-chat.

Callie’s pretty face looms large on the tablet. “What is his name?” she asks Amber

“Marcus,” Amber answers around milk and corn flakes. “I love him.”

“Wait a minute,” I interject. “You’re nine years old, Amber. You can’t be loving any boys yet. Not allowed.” I wave at the tablet. “Hi, Callie!”

She waves back. “Before you get worked up, Mom, ask Amber to show you a picture of Marcus.”

Bethany lifts her gaze from the book long enough to add her two cents. “He’s disgusting. Don’t do it, Mom.”

Amber hands me a picture. “Meet Marcus, Mommy. Can I have him?”

The picture doesn’t give me much information. All I see is an aquarium without water. I pull the paper closer, finally spotting something suspicious. “What’s that brown thing? Is that a dried up banana peel?”

“That’s Marcus,” Amber says.

Callie bursts out laughing. “He’s a cockroach.”

“Hissing cockroach,” Amber corrects her, as if that makes it better.

I cringe. “No way, José. I found two ants on the kitchen counter last night—domesticate them, instead.”

“But, Mommy,” Amber urges. “Willow Jones can’t keep Marcus because her own mommy is allergic. Marcus needs a home.”

I sigh, wondering when Amber traded her fairy fascination for a twisted insect obsession. “Tell Willow Jones that your mommy is more allergic than her mommy. Now say goodbye to your sister. The bus will be here soon.”

Minutes after the girls head out for the bus, I am looking out the kitchen window drinking a cup of coffee. I spot a figure of a man dashing into the woods from the corner of our backyard. Howard enters the kitchen to grab his travel mug before leaving for the day. “What are you looking at?”

“I think I just saw Moyle,” I answer.

“The crazy guy who thinks he’s a time traveler?”

“Don’t be mean,” I say. “Moyle isn’t crazy. He helped me solved that murder case last year. He’s just unique.”

Howard gives me warm, enticing kiss. “Whatever you say. But stay out of trouble until I get home, okay?”

“I read my horoscope,” I tell him. “No dead bodies today.”

But two days later. . . well, that’s another story.


You can read more about Barbara in Dial Marr For Murder, the sixth book in the “Barbara Marr” mystery series.

A flu epidemic seems to have wiped out the volunteer force at the Rustic Woods Nature Center. Never fear, Barbara Marr to the rescue! When Nature Center activities director, Bunny Bergen finds herself without a crew to decorate for the annual Halloween Nature Walk, she dials Barb for assistance. Always the helpful friend, Barb rises to the occasion. Of course, this is Barbara Marr we are talking about. Five minutes into her task, and she discovers a dead body by the frog pond. Five hours later, she’s a trending hash tag. How does Barb do it? Read this sixth book in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery series, and find out! #ThatBarbaraMarr

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About the author
Karen Cantwell is a comedienne at heart. She loves to make people laugh with her Barbara Marr Murder Mystery series and Sophie Rhodes Ghostly Romance series. You can learn more about Karen and her works at KarenCantwell.com.

All comments are welcomed.

6 responses to “A day in the life of Barbara Marr by Karen Cantwell

  1. Sounds like a fun series.

  2. This sounds like a fun series. I am adding it to my TBR list.

  3. I’ve read all the books in the Barbara Marr series and Karen always makes me laugh. These are great cozy mysteries. I love Karen’s sense of humor and I am looking forward to the next book.

  4. Barbara Hackel

    I haven’t read any of this series for awhile. Looks like I need to catch up on the fun! Thanks for the reminder Dru Ann! 🙂

  5. 👍🏻can’t wait to read them all! Love your work 😊

  6. Gotta get this one.