They knew they were close to exposing the murderer, but someone was holding all the jokers.
In June of 1956, Lilly and her sister-in-law Syd are looking forward to another blissful summer with their families at the Bungalow Colony in the Catskill Mountains. But their hopes for a tranquil vacation are shattered when Lilly accidentally stumbles on secret information, and a dead body is discovered in an abandoned bathtub. As the body count rises, Lilly, Syd, and their mahjongg partners Ruthie and Mary, uncover a sinister web of blackmail and intrigue with roots in the lingering dark shadows of World War 2. Careful not to expose the secret, or further endanger the innocent blackmail victims, the "Mahjongg Ladies" sift through a surprising number of people who could be guilty. All the while doing their daily chores, attending the children's day camp events, creating the Saturday night extravaganzas, and most especially not missing even one their daily Mahjongg games
Drawing on the ten summers she and her family spent at a bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains, Ms. Bernfield has crafted a charming memoir/mystery. In 1950's America Jewish families were still excluded from many summer resorts; to avoid the heat they escaped in droves to a vibrant community in the beautiful Catskill mountains. In towns like Monticello and Ellenville, alongside flashy hotels like The Concord, Grossingers, and Kutchers, dozens of cozy Kuchelans (Bungalow colonies) had sprung up to welcome them. It is in one of these that the shocking events in Mahjongg and Murder take place.