Death of a Russian Doll (Vintage Toyshop Mystery #3) by Barbara Early @barbearly @crookedlanebks #bookreview #mystery

Title: Death of a Russian Doll

Author: Barbara Early

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: October 9, 2018

Page Count: 295

My rating: 4 stars

About the book:

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 toy shop 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.


Death of a Russian Doll by Barbara Early is the third book in the cozy Vintage Toyshop Mystery series. Each book in the series has it’s own case to be solved within the book so they can be read as a standalone if choosing to do so however there is character building carried over from book to book.

Liz McCall’s father used to be the police chief in their small little town but after retirement he decided to purchase a collectable toy shop. After opening though he realized he needed help and recruited Liz to help run the shop which she never expected but has settled into quite nicely.

Liz had been dating the current chief of police Ken Young until his estranged wife Marya came to town whom Liz had no idea even existed. Now Marya is working next door to the toy shop in the beauty salon and Liz has to put on a smile and be welcoming. As much as Liz didn’t like having Marya around however she never wanted her to become a murder victim with herself and Ken as suspects.

The Vintage Toyshop Mystery series is one that I have followed from the beginning and always enjoy reading the next installment. With Liz having such a connection to the police department it gives the stories that much more believablity. With the small town vibe, likable characters and interesting mysteries this is one series I will continue to return to with each new book.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon

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. This is her fourth mystery, and the third in her Vintage Toyshop series.

7 thoughts on “Death of a Russian Doll (Vintage Toyshop Mystery #3) by Barbara Early @barbearly @crookedlanebks #bookreview #mystery

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