Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am excited to feature Barbara Early’s new book, Death of a Russian Doll today!
Death of a Russian Doll: A Vintage Toy Shop Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (October 9, 2018)
Kindle ASIN: B078M3KG1Q
It’s all fun and games with toyshop owner Liz McCall until deadly secrets are unwrapped upon the eve of the holidays.
Who knew? Liz McCall is not thrilled when her boyfriend Police Chief Ken Young introduces her to his estranged wife Marya. The model-quality Russian immigrant, back in East Aurora to rekindle their romance, will be working as a hairstylist at the barber shop next door to Well Played, the toyshop Liz manages for her dad. When Marya offers to help with the shop’s doll rehab project, Liz can’t help but offer up only a weak smile, but her secret hesitations are for naught when Marya’s body is discovered in the barber shop with a hair dryer cord wrapped around her neck.
Liz’s dad, retired from the police force, is asked to investigate since Ken is the prime suspect.The whole town is abuzz with the scandal and Liz has a few questions of her own, wanting nothing more than to forget the loud argument she overheard between Marya and Ken the night before. There could have been other motives… Was Marya going to cut into a competing hairstylist business? Who is the bumbling private investigator hanging around and why won’t he explain himself?
All eyes are on Liz, including those of an odd matryoshka doll in the shop which seems to move of its own accord, to unravel this entertaining riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma that is Death of a Russian Doll.
So Liz McCalls’ and Ken Young’s romance hit the skids when his estranged wife Marya arrived in town. Liz has been dealing with the complete shock and the fact Ken lied to her. Then the Russian immigrant Marya starts working at the barbershop right next to Well Played and she even volunteers to help on a new project the shop has started repairing used dolls and sharing them with needy kids. Liz puts on a happy face and is on her best behavior during the meetings.
The Marya is found dead – in the barbershop – strangled with the cord from a hair dryer . . . and Police Chief Ken Young finds himself at the top of the suspect list. Removed from his position pending completion of the investigation Liz’s dad comes out of retirement to take his place. Liz did hear Ken and Marya arguing but she can’t see him killing her. There must be other suspects. Liz decides that she needs to find out more about the woman she didn’t even know existed until about a year ago. She needs to get this case wrapped up so her dad can get back to his retirement and the toy shop before the holidays.
Barbara Early has penned a captivating cozy in this 3rd installment of this delightful series.
I really like Liz. She is a smart protagonist that thinks things through before she leaps into action. She works so well with her dad and he values her input. She also gets some assistance from a certain FBI accountant that would really like to move their relationship out of the friend zone. All the characters are realistic and I love the dialogue.
The toy shop Liz manages for her dad, Well Played, is more than a place to buy the toys of yesteryear. It is a gathering place with its weekly game nights and now with the restore doll project. You get a real sense of community from the people who enter the shop, especially during the holiday season. East Aurora has a real small town feel.
Ken’s wife being a Russian immigrant brings a current hot topic into play and it is hard not to feel for the woman. It also brings Ken’s sisters to town and they are two formidable women with the brother’s best interests at heart but their overbearing nature is a bit much for even Ken. Liz finally gets them to open up and gets information to move the investigation along.
The story is full of twists and some real surprises. At one point I think I screamed out at the exact time Liz did. It takes an extraordinary author to have a reader get that deep into a story. The plot came together with another surprise, I was totally wrong in my pick of the killer. The story finishes with another little twist that leaves me very excited about the next book in this series.
Drama, humor, a touch of romance come together with great characters to make this an excellent read. A perfect escape as we head into the holiday season!
About The Author
Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, but after four years of doing nothing but math, developed a sudden allergy to the subject and decided to choose another occupation. Before she settled on murdering fictional people, she was a secretary, a school teacher, a pastor’s wife, and an amateur puppeteer. After several years living elsewhere, she and her husband moved back to her native Western New York State, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies, and campy seventies television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. She writes the Vintage Toyshop series and the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen).
Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
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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.”