Review of Death Of A Russian Doll

Death Of A Russian Doll
Vintage Toyshop Mystery, Book #3
Barbara Early
5 Stars


Just in time for the holidays, fans of Leslie Meier and Vicki Delany are going to want to pick up the charming third installment in Barbara Early’s Vintage Toy Shop mysteries.

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, the third jolly Vintage Toy Shop mystery from Barbara Early. (Goodreads)



I just love this series: the characters, the setting and the mystery. Anyone who wants to get lost in an enjoyable read, this is your book.

The characters are well rounded and well developed. I just love the relationship between Liz and her dad. Their bickering and banter and their one line jokes were so funny. All of the characters add so much to the story and I love getting to spend time with them.

The writing style flows smoothly and it defines the characters very clearly by their actions and words. The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and it helped me form an explicit picture in my mind of the toy shop and the community.

The mystery is well plotted and had enough clues to sift through and suspects to consider. There were enough twists and turns and red herrings thrown in and the mystery was not an easy one to solve.

I would highly recommend this book (and series) to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery. I liked everything about this book and I am already looking forward to read the next one, when it is published.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley, which I greatly appreciate.