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Death of a Russian Doll
Vintage Toyshop Mystery #3
BY Barbara Early

Crooked Lane
October 9, 2018/ ISBN 978-1-68331-702-9
Mystery/Cozy /Christmas

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Liz McCall manages her father’s vintage toy shop, Well Played, in East Aurora, New York. Along with her sister Cathy, and some other volunteers, she’s also working on a project to refurbish old dolls for needy children. This is quite an undertaking (as is working at Well Played) because of her fear of dolls! One of the volunteers is Marya Young, the estranged wife of Police Chief Ken Young, a man Liz has been casually dating for about a year. Having Marya around is not exactly on the top of Liz’s wish list, but she can do doll hair, and they do live in the same town, so she’s going to grin and bear it.

Marya is a beautiful Russian immigrant who hopes to rekindle her own relationship with her husband (the police chief). But when Marya is found murdered in the barbershop where she works, Chief Young is the prime suspect, so Liz’s father comes out of retirement from the police force to investigate.

Although Liz believes that Ken is not a killer, she’s still upset that he kept the fact that he is married from her until he was forced to tell the truth. He says he took Marya back because he felt sorry for her. Surely there must be someone else with motives for getting rid of Marya permanently. Then she realizes that she’s just as likely a suspect as Ken is. So it’s time to put her sleuthing hat on and find out what really happened and why.

This is a solid mystery, very well written and with strong characters. In addition to the murder and intrigue, you’ll find plenty of romance and humor. If you have read the first two books in the series, you’ll dive right in as you remember past events in the lives of the main characters, but if this is your first foray into the Vintage Toyshop Mystery series, it is fine as a standalone read.

This is absolutely a winner in the cozy genre with something for everyone. Super highly recommended for everyone’s holiday reading list.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Murder on the Toy Town Express #2
Death of a Russian Doll #3

Reviewed 2018