Death of a Toy Soldier by Barbara Early is the first book in the NEW “Vintage Toy Shop” mystery series. Publisher: Crooked Lane Books, October 2016

death-of-a-toy-soldierLiz McCall grew up in a playful winter wonderland but it was never her dream to manage her father’s vintage toyshop. However, after he sank his entire police pension into the business, someone needed to help him turn his dreams into reality—and keep him from sneaking off to patrol the not-so-mean streets of East Aurora, NY.

The mood goes from nice to naughty when a nervous man, who was trying to have his antique toys appraised, is found in the shop with a lawn dart through his chest. Suddenly, Liz’s business plan is plunged into deep freeze, while she and her father find themselves toying with a cold-blooded killer who’s playing for keeps.

Now, it looks like Christmas might be cancelled for the neighborhood kids if Liz can’t wrap up the case in Barbara Early’s delightful debut Death of a Toy Soldier.

I like it. This is such a friendly read that I fell in love with Liz, her dad, her sister-in-law and the people they interacted with in this delightfully entertaining whodunit. Who murdered the dead man found in their store? Is his death related to the demise of his employer? Who is he? These are the predicaments facing Liz and her retired police-chief dad as they seek clues to these questions and what they find is a trail of intrigue involving vintage toys, dysfunctional family members, inquisitive neighbors and a haunted house or is it?

This was a nicely done, put together light drama that had a comfortable tone and had a nice tempo to the way the story was presented. The mystery was very satisfying as it kept me reading and I enjoyed the mini-plots contained within the narrative. Who killed the man? Well, the author did a great job in providing a slew of people who could have done it, but it was the dogged pursuit from our heroine that made this an enticing tale that kept me engrossed in all the action. I enjoyed getting to know a little about the main characters and the role they played in unmasking the killer, and boy was that an interesting discovery. Boasting a lovable cast of characters, engaging dialogue and the perfect backdrop of a vintage toy shop, this was wonderfully lovely story and I can’t wait to read about their next adventures.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

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