Feb 252016
 

speakers of the deadSpeakers of the Dead: A Walt Whitman Mystery
1st in Series
Historical Mystery
Setting – New York
A Plume Book
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Release Date – March 1, 2016
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0143128717
E-Book ASIN: B010N18IKO
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Speakers of the Dead is a mystery novel centering around the investigative exploits of a young Walt Whitman, in which the reporter-cum-poet navigates the seedy underbelly of New York City’s body-snatching industry in an attempt to exonerate his friend of a wrongful murder charge.

The year is 1843; the place: New York City. Aurora reporter Walt Whitman arrives at the Tombs prison yard where his friend Lena Stowe is scheduled to hang for the murder of her husband, Abraham. Walt intends to present evidence on Lena’s behalf, but Sheriff Harris turns him away. Lena drops to her death, and Walt vows to posthumously exonerate her.

Walt’s estranged boyfriend, Henry Saunders, returns to New York, and the two men uncover a link between body-snatching and Abraham’s murder: a man named Samuel Clement. To get to Clement, Walt and Henry descend into a dangerous underworld where resurrection men steal the bodies of the recently deceased and sell them to medical colleges. With no legal means to acquire cadavers, medical students rely on these criminals, and Abraham’s involvement with the Bone Bill—legislation that would put the resurrection men out of business—seems to have led to his and Lena’s deaths.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

J. Aaron Sanders takes a tragic time in history, bodies being snatched from their graves, and twists it just right with a young Walt Whitman on a quest for justice. Lena Stowe has been accused of killing her husband with not much evidence. Her friend Walt Whitman tries to plead her case but is unsuccessful the Lena is hanged in the prison yard. You need to know about Lena and her husband Abraham. They have opened the Woman’s Medical College of Manhattan. Scandalous because women are not allowed to be doctors and because the students dissect corpses to learn about the workings of the body. These corpses may have been donated to the college or stolen from graves and sold to the school. In those days people believed their loved one could only ascend to heaven if their bodies and organs were intact. There were rallies and demonstrations to close the school and to stop the body snatchers. There was also a bill, the Bone Bill, something the Stowe’s supported, in the works that put an end to the body’s snatchers altogether.

This was a truly riveting story. Organ donation and cadavers used for study is common place today, but in 1843 it was a sin and illegal. Walt knows his friend Lena, did not kill her husband and knows there is some deep dark secrets behind the story. He uses the resources he has available writing for the newspaper to ask questions and print articles that will incite the public and help him find the truth. This truth comes at a very high cost.

This is a work of fiction but some of the things that happen actually occurred which can lead you to almost forget it is fiction. Whitman is joined by Edgar Allan Poe at one point in the story too. This is had my scratching my head and trying to remember their writings for things that may have been inspired from these incidents. I must say here you do not have to have read Whitman’s work to enjoy this story. Without the background, you have a young man on a mission, a dangerous mission. The author surrounds him with amazing characters, like his estranged boyfriend, Henry, and Elizabeth Blackwell, a young woman studying to become a doctor who takes over the college when her mentors are killed just to name two. There are also the public officials, students, and the men stealing the bodies and so many more.

This story reminded me a bit of Death of a Schoolgirl by Joanna Campbell Slan. In that story she turned Jane Eyre into an amateur sleuth, just as Sanders does with Whitman here. The story also reminds me of the Lady Darby Mysteries by Anna Lee Huber, as women in this story buck tradition to take on something only males are allowed to pursue.

This mystery gets quite intense and has some wonderful twists so that at times we don’t know the good guys from the bad ones and neither does Walt.  Throughout the story we have political corruption, fights between religion and science, and some organized crime.

This author takes us a quite an adventure. He also gives us a man that goes to great lengths to prove his friends innocence and redeem their names and show the importance of their work. Work he wasn’t totally supportive of when they were alive but came to understand very quickly after their death.

I am excited that this book is the beginning of a series. I really want to see where the author takes this character. He is off to an excellent start. Did I mention this is the author’s first novel? He is a wonderful storyteller.

 perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

*There were a couple of parts of this story that were difficult for me to read due to how my son died last year but I don’t feel that impacted my review in any way.

 

About This Author

Aaron Sanders is Associate Professor of English at Columbus State University where he teaches literature and creative writing. He holds a PhD in American Literature from The University of Connecticut and an MFA in Fiction from The University of Utah. His stories have appeared in Carolina Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Quarterly West, and Beloit Fiction Journal, among others.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Feb 222016
 

It's Monday! What Are You ReadingIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
Hosted by Book Date

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

Happy Monday Everyone!! 

We had our granddaughter stay over Friday night and our oldest grandson stay over Saturday night. A great weekend for me!

Here’s what I read and what I have planned for this week.

FINISHED

One Foot in the Grape (A Cypress Cove Mystery)

Release Date – May 5, 2015
My Review
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Fogged Inn (A Maine Clambake Mystery)

Release Date – February 23, 2016
Review will be up tomorrow
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No Cats Allowed: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery

Release Date – February 23, 2016
I will feature this book on Cozy Wednesday this week.
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Edgar Allan Cozy: Wicked Short Stories

Release Date – January 16, 2016
Review will be later this week.
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Speakers of the Dead: A Walt Whitman Mystery (Walt Whitman Mysteries)

Release Date – March 1, 2016
Review will be up Thursday!
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ON DECK THIS WEEK

I need to choose a Flashback Friday book for this week!

Between a Book and a Hard Place: A Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery

Release Day – March 1, 2016
Denise will be my guest for Cozy Wednesday next week!
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Deadly Scandal (Deadly Series Book 1)

New Series from Kate Parker
Release Date – February 25, 2016
The Great Escapes Tour starts February 29 and stops here March 3.
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escape

Click Here To See All My Current Giveaways!!

Happy Reading!!
Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Oct 252013
 

17707771
Throw the Damn Ball: Classic Poetry by Dogs
A Plume Book
Published by The Penguin Group
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Hardcover: 128 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0142180853
E-Book File Size: 44041 KB
ASIN: B00C5R73HY
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“Dogs seldom make passes
At dogs passing gasses.”

Are these the words of Dorothy Parker? Ogden Nash?

Nope, the author is Sparky from Milton, Pennsylvania. Sparky, Snowy, Tucker, Louie, these canine laureates have written a volume of poetry displaying the brilliance and wit we’ve always suspected our dogs were hiding from us.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
While the pooches in the pictures are adorable I didn’t “howl with joy, bark with laughter or beg for more” as the back cover says I would do. Yes, a couple of the “poems” were clever most just left me shaking my head, thinking am I really taking time to read these. I can truly believe they were written by dogs so I guess the human authors/editors accomplished what they set out to do.  The introduction as us to “Be open-minded. Embrace the dogs efforts to be better understood.” I know the point is humor and not actual literature, it just wasn’t the book for me.

Here’s a sample:
My Big Bone

Chew, chew, chew, chew
Lick, lick, lick, lick
Gnaw, gnaw, gnaw, gnaw
And so it goes
My big bone

~Mickey

(Picture shows a cute medium size dog with a big bone.)

Many people keep books like this in the bathroom. That is where I think it belongs. Maybe read in small doses it would be more enjoyable.  And I do love dogs!! I will take doggy hugs and kisses anytime, they just don’t have to try to impress with any type of poetic verse.

Note: While the dog pictures are very cute this is definitely NOT a child friendly book!! 

should have stayed home2 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About the Authors

R. D. Rosen is the Edgar Award-winning author of Strike Three You’re Dead and other Harvey Blissberg mysteries, plus several nonfiction books.

Harry Prichett has written and performed for the improv comedy group Chicago City Limits, and is the voice you often hear on television and radio commercials.

Rob Battles, who has written and produced for public radio stations and National Public Radio, is a senior vice president for a large, forward-looking media company.

Together, Rosen, Prichett and Battles wrote the bestselling Bad Dog, Bad Baby, Bad President, and (with Jim Edgar) Bad Cat.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sep 262013
 

09242013
The Double Wedding Ring:
A Someday Quilts Mystery Featuring Nell Fitzgerald

5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Plume (September 24, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0452298798
E-Book File Size: 819 KB
ASIN: B00C5R757M
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It’s murder before marriage in book five of the Someday Quilts series…

Nell’s future is on her mind, and it looks as though the pieces are coming together like a perfectly made quilt. Her relationship with police chief Jesse Dewalt is heating up, she’s thinking of starting her own business, and Grandma Eleanor, is about to get hitched. But just as the future seems sewn up, Jesse’s former NYPD partner turns up–dead. Nell has to scramble to keep the wedding on track, her relationship from falling apart, and herself from being the target of a stranger with a secret.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
After two novellas to get us Someday Quilt Series fans back in the groove, Clare O’Donohue is back with a full length mystery and I am thrilled. I am so happy to return to Archer’s Rest, New York and my quilting friends.

Eleanor is getting married and that means her friends are planning a wedding quilt and a shower plus Nell is helping with all the wedding details.  Nell’s parents even come home but not for the reasons you may think.  Jessie is having a hard time dealing with his old partner’s death but he is also hiding something. Jessie tells Nell to stay out of the investigation but she just can’t.

Again we are drawn right into the story. Ducking bullets, shivering from the cold, and enjoying that wonderful smell and feel of new fabric. It really makes me miss being able to sew and quilt.

I am so impressed with the way I feel when reading these stories. They touch my heart but also test my mind as I follow the clues. Big changes are coming to Someday Quilts as Eleanor takes this big step.  I have to say I am a little concerned but trust Clare O’Donohue to keep bringing me the stories I love! This will be just another twist!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To Find Out More About This Wonderful Author Visit Her Webpage here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Aug 172013
 

cover34129-mediumStreak of Lightning:
A Penguin Special from Plume  (July 30, 2013)
(A Someday Quilts Mystery)

E-Book File Size: 946 KB
ASIN: B00938YEES
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A stand alone story for mystery fans that will also tide over series fans over until O’Donohue’s next novel, The Double Wedding Ring, this October.

Nell and Jesse are finally taking some time off to celebrate New Year’s in the Big Apple. They really need a romantic weekend away. Nothing is going to ruin their plans. BUT before they even get off the train in New York City they are called back to Archer’s Rest.

A man in jail for disorderly conduct has been found dead in his cell. Jesse had left his most trustworthy deputy in charge. This freak event sets the town abuzz like a streak of lightning. He has no choice but to go back and find out what the heck happened!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
A wonderful short story to bridge the gap between full length novels. These are great characters and the story has a very interesting twist which I loved.

Add this one to your e-reader today and head to the beach. A fun, quick read even those not familiar with the series will enjoy! Fans of the series will be counting the days until The Double Wedding Ring hits shelves. Amazon says September 24!!

just you and a friend
4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To Find Out More About Clare Visit Her Website http://clareodonohue.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

readalattechallenge_zps01d248d02013EbookChallenge

Apr 132013
 

the dark winter
The Dark Winter:
(Detective Sergeant Mcavoy)

Police Procedural/Suspense
New Series
Plume (March 26, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0142196977
E-Book File Size: 545 KB
ASIN: B0085DOVWC

The Dark Winter (Aector McAvoy, #1)

A series of suspicious deaths have rocked Hull, a port city in England as old and mysterious as its bordering sea. They have captured the attention of Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy. He notices a pattern missed by his fellow officers, who would rather get a quick arrest than bother themselves with finding the true killer. Torn between his police duties and his aching desire to spend more time with his pregnant wife and young son, McAvoy is an unlikely hero: a physically imposing man far more comfortable exploring computer databases than throwing around his muscle. Compelled by his keen sense of justice, he decides to strike out alone—but in the depths of the dark winter, it’s difficult to forget what happened the last time he found himself on the wrong side of a killer’s blade…

About This Author David_Mark
David Mark has been a journalist for over fifteen years, including seven years as crime reporter with The Yorkshire Post. He is married with two children and lives near Hull. Dark Winter is his first novel. The follow up,Original Skin, will be available May 16, 2013.

 

 

 

 

Thanks to the people at Penguin
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Feb 092013
 

my one square inch of alaska

My One Square Inch of Alaska: A Novel
A Plume Book (January 29, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0452298767
E-Book File Size: 542 KB
ASIN: B008JHXSM8

My One Square Inch of Alaska

A pair of siblings escape—along with a Siberian Husky—the strictures of their 1950s industrial Ohio town on the adventure of a lifetime.

Donna Lane has been saving her money and working hard so that when she graduates she can head to New York to study fashion design. Her younger brother Will is obsessed with the with the television show Sergeant Striker and the Alaskan Wild. The show is running a contest with a very special prize that Will intends to win. He just needs 10 cereal box tops to get his own square inch of the Alaskan Territory. Then he is going to travel there with a beat up and abused Siberian Husky from the local junkyard to stake his claim.

Then Will gets sick and Donna decides to put her dreams on hold so she can fulfill her brother’s dream instead. They are soon packed up in her mother’s old yellow convertible, pulling a small camper, with Trusty the husky in the backseat, and a road atlas to guide their way. They are off on the adventure of a lifetime.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I first became acquainted with this author through her cozy mysteries. I saw on Facebook awhile ago that she had a new book in the works in a totally different genre. That story was finally released last week. It is a beautifully written inspiring story.

Donna Lane has strength and courage way beyond her years. Taking care of her dysfunctional father and her brother was hard enough, but then to pack up a car and travel thousands of miles to make her little brother’s dream come true leaves me awestruck. So many things could and did happen on their travels.

My heart was warmed by the hope that both Donna and Will had but also by the hope MayJune and Miss Bettina had as well. None of them had an easy life. They just took the lemons of their life and made lemonade. They kept pushing forward trying to make each day better than the last.

My emotions ran wild while reading this book. Laughing, crying and panicking too at a few harrowing incidents. Sharon Short takes us on an incredible journey with Donna and Will. Readers from young adults to senior citizens will enjoy this tender story.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Sharon Short on her blog here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Dec 142012
 

the cat the came home

The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas: How a Cat Brought a Family the Gift of Love
Non-Fiction/Autism
Plume (September 25, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0452298781

The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas: How a Cat Brought a Family the Gift of Love

George was a handful at first, crying for hours on end, never sleeping. Julia tried everything to please her son. He then grew to be withdrawn and quiet, in his own little world. George was finally diagnosed as autistic and even with a diagnosis things didn’t get any easier. Until one day a small black and white stray cat appeared in their garden and George’s face just lit up. He named the kitty Ben and George started to open up to his mother. He was like a different little boy. Until one day when Ben disappeared.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This was a very heartwarming story. Animals can have a profound effect in people no matter what they may be facing. 

As a mom with several cats in residence this is very clear to me and when one disappears it can break your heart. This happened to at our house twice this year. Back in the summer heat my cat Sherlock got outside and was missing for about a week. When he came back he was very sick and dehydrated. That was when we were receiving record high temperatures. Today he still has little wombles but he is back at my side every day. I missed him so much.

My daughter with the original Watson.

My daughter with the original Watson.

Then about 6 weeks ago my daughter’s cat Watson went out exploring. He did this a lot and was always waiting on the porch the next morning. But not this time. He has still not come home and we have posted notices, call the vets in the area and the humane society’s and posted online at missing pet sites. Last week we were sent a picture on Facebook and we were sure it was our Watson. My daughter rushed to pick him up. When she arrived she knew it wasn’t him but the people didn’t want this cat so she bought him home. She calls him Watson 2.0. He has not taken Watson’s place but he has healed her heart a bit. After reading this story I am still holding out hope the our Watson will make his way home to us. What better time than Christmas.

Julia goes way beyond anything we did. She never gave up and answered every call and kept searching. My only question I had was how George blamed his mother totally for Ben’s disappearance when the cat was in his father’s care at the time. His father was not a constant figure in his life so maybe he didn’t feel he could last out at him the same way as his mom. There is still so much we don’t know about autism but Julia gives us an inside look. 

Looking for a stocking stuffer for cat lover, this book would make a great gift. You might want to include a small box of tissues.

just you and a friend
4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Dec 072012
 

Cathedral Windows:
A Someday Quilts Mystery (A Penguin Special from Plume)

Short Story (E-Book)
It’s a chance for folks unfamiliar with the Someday Quilts gang to meet them, and for fans of the series to catch up with old friends until book #5 is released in the fall of 2013.
Plume (November 13, 2012)
80 Pages
File Size: 725 KB
ASIN: B00938UPUU

CATHEDRAL WINDOWS
It’s the holiday season, but things are heating up in Archers Rest.

Christmas is just around the corner in the Hudson Valley. Nell and her friends at the Someday Quilts shop should be making eggnog and finishing up the stitching on their last homemade gifts, but when an arsonist strikes and a beloved teacher becomes a suspect, the ladies rally behind him to clear his good name. Will they succeed in time for him to spend Christmas among loved ones or will this be a chilly winter for the town of Archers Rest?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A holiday bonus trip to Archer’s Rest with a bit of a message too!

Just because a person is a bit of a mystery doesn’t mean there is anything sinister afoot. Charlie is a veteran who has returned after serving in Afghanistan and is now a teacher in Archer’s Rest. Nell meets him when she is doing a quilting project with the kids at the school. He doesn’t stick around while she is in his classroom even though a little teacher participation would have been appreciated. She understands he is adjusting to his non-military life but others seem to think his is strange because he keeps to himself. When his house starts on fire many suspect him of arson because his failure to acclimate to civilian life. Nell decides to get to know him a little better and maybe find the real culprit that started the fire. It is then that she learns about Charlie’s grandmother and her Cathedral Windows quilt.

A quilt has a way of bringing people together. The story behind it, the quilters that put it together, or even quilters sitting together working on their own projects. Those sewn seams can bind us together. That is what happens in this wonderful story. A perfect read for the holidays.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Oct 162012
 

Blackberry Winter: A Novel
Plume (September 25, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0452298385

Blackberry Winter

Seattle, 1933. Single mother Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, goodnight and departs to work the night-shift at a local hotel. She emerges to discover that a May-Day snow has blanketed the city, and that her son has vanished. Outside, she finds his beloved teddy bear lying face-down on an icy street, the snow covering up any trace of his tracks, or the perpetrator’s.

Seattle, 2010. Seattle Herald reporter Claire Aldridge, assigned to cover the May 1 “blackberry winter” storm and its twin, learns of the unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth. In the process, she finds that she and Vera may be linked in unexpected ways…

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What a wonderful story! A story that was inspired by a song the author just happened to hear one day on the radio. I am amazed how authors take just a couple of words and create such wonder for us to read and enjoy.

A mystery entwined with emotions so raw. Mothers will feel this story not only in their hearts but in their souls. The love a mother has for a child cannot be measured. The lengths that mothers will go to for their children is infinite. The loss of a child leaves an imprint on your very being. Nothing is ever the same. Jio takes us into the lives of two women that are grieving, just trying to get through the days.

The main characters of Vera and Claire are fleshed out and so real. I was also drawn to Charles. His heart was in the right place but circumstances of the times made things difficult. I had hoped for a little different resolution but as I kept reading and the story started to mesh the pages couldn’t turn fast enough. The story had to play out just as it did for the surprise at the end.

This is a book you are going to want on your keeper shelf. It along with the other books by this author are going to become the classics of this time. Stories we want to share and read over and over again.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about this author check out her webpage here.

Murder on the Toy Town Express: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery by Barbara Early Get Your Copy Today!
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