A Day in the Life of Elizabeth McCall by Barbara Early

death-of-a-toy-soldierBefore you ask, yes, my dad named me after the famous Betsy McCall paper dolls, and he somehow managed to sneak his intentions right past my mother. It’s a little too cutesy for me, though, so please call me Liz.

Today is proving to be a busy day at Well Played, our vintage toyshop. Leaves are past peak in East Aurora, New York, thanks to the heat we had this summer. And the tourists are spending a little less time gawking at bare trees and more time coughing up cold, hard cash. Most of the leaf chasers walking around the store are senior citizens, and that’s fine with me.

Did you hear that squeal from the back of the store? Someone just found the Partridge Family lunchbox she carried in third grade. Sometimes browsers just like to see our merchandise, maybe snap a picture of a toy they played with as a child. But the little white-haired woman with the cat sweatshirt and a twinkle in her eye plops it down on the counter. “I’m not going to lie and say it’s for my granddaughter,” she says. “David Cassidy was the living end.” The man in the growing line behind her is carrying Rock’em Sock’em Robots.

Of course Dad is wandering the shop, which isn’t hurting business a bit. I often tease that he’s become eye candy for the AARP set. They even laugh at his dreadful puns. “Nostalgia,” he once told me, “is the backbone for our business.” This sent him on a run of skeleton puns that he insisted were very “humerus,” but made me groan. “Sorry,” he said, “I have a bad tendon-cy to do that.”

See, it was Dad who first had a passion for collecting and restoring vintage and antique toys. I think the hobby was a big stress relief for him, especially during those years where he was serving in the high-stress job of chief of police. The shop was his retirement dream, and since he wanted to focus on the restoration part of the business, he instantly promoted me to manager. Or maybe he did that to distract me while he sneaked out to continue to patrol the streets, something which I’m not too thrilled with—and neither is the current chief of police.

Not that our small village has a lot of crime. Knock on wood.


Death of a Toy Soldier is the first book in the NEW Vintage Toyshop mystery series, published by Crooked Lane Books, October 2016.

Liz 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.

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About the author
Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, only to discover that she hates math. She was a teacher, a pastor’s wife, and an amateur puppeteer before settling on murdering fictional people. She and her husband live near Buffalo, NY, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies and campy seventies television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. She authored the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen) and now writes the Vintage Toyshop Mysteries. Connect with Barbara at barbaraearly.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a super swag pack—a tote bag including a book, a Scrabble tile necklace and an assortment of small toys. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 13, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

59 responses to “A Day in the Life of Elizabeth McCall by Barbara Early

  1. This sounds like an awesome book!

  2. Barbara Hackel

    i HAVE to read this book! My parents were toy dealers and all this sounds so familiar-well except for a murder! Thanks Dru Ann for today’s feature! Thanks Barbara for the chance to win what sounds like an amazing swag bag! 🙂

  3. Back when I was very young, around 4-5, my mother had a yarn shop a few doors down from the family real estate office. My father shared the space and did TV installations and put up the antenna systems. When it failed that store became Maxie Bader’s Toy Shop. I used to love going in to see what new things he’d get every week or so.

    I’d love to win a book which features a toy shop. Toss my name into your magic hat please Dru.

  4. This sounds like a great new series! I can’t wait to start reading.

  5. Pauline Barlow

    The swag bag sounds like a delightful prize. Any hint as to what the book is about/, perhaps toys.

  6. This book sounds like the beginning of a delightful series, and I’m old enough to have played with “vintage” toys. The swag bag is intriguing. Thanks for the chance to win!

  7. No need to roll the dice on this book — already on my Kindle! LOVE LOVE LOVE the premise and this excerpt is fabulous. Take a chance and stroll down Boardwalk and Park Avenue to the Well Played shop in East Aurora!

  8. Sounds like a good book. Thank you for the chance.

  9. I can’t wait to read this, it sounds great!

  10. Candace knight

    This sounds like a great book. I can’t wait to read it.

  11. Carly McEathron

    So looking forward to getting my hands on this book! 5$3 rest of the giveaway is pretty sweet, too!

  12. Would love to read this book!

  13. I can’t wait to read this book.

  14. Those who were lucky enough to get an advanced copy have all said this book is awesome!!! Dru Ann had a great review over the weekend. I cannot wait to get my hands on this book! Thanks for the giveaway! Fingers crossed! Congrats to Barb for finding a home and continuing to share her talent with the readers. I hope this series has a nice long life. She deserves it!

  15. I love this book!

  16. This book sounds so good. I can’t wait to read it. I love the idea of a vintage toy store for the setting.

  17. Brian Frauenknecht

    I can’t wait to read this book. It is just the kind of book i love. Thanks for the chance to win Dru!!

  18. Yvonne Gilbert

    I read Death of a Toy Soldier, it is a great book. I love the idea a of the vintage toys and the father daughter team sharing the business. With the brother and sister in law in the mix thiswill be a very good series. I love all the puns. My Granddaughter is now reading the book and we enjoy laughing at the puns. Swag would be fun. Thank you for the great read and the chance to win swag!

  19. Missy VanHoose

    I have to read this!! Sound very interesting 😀 Going right now to get my copy. Thank you 😊

  20. What a delightful and unique book which I would enjoy. Thanks for this great giveaway.

  21. I can’t wait to read this book. It sounds great. I may be 50 but I still love toys! This series sounds like it’s going to be one of my favorite. Thanks for the chance. 🙂 Congratulations on your new series!

  22. I’ve been waiting for this one to come out. Looking forward to reading it.

  23. I would love to read this book, and since the drawing closes on my mom’s birthday, I think it should be mine – along with all the swag, of course.

  24. Brittany Abbott

    I am so excited to read this book. I love Barbara Early and I love vintage toys,what could be better.

  25. Really looking forward to reading this one!

  26. Vickie Williams

    I am looking forward to reading this book!

  27. Thanks for the chance to win a book. Looking forward to reading it.

  28. Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the chance to win.

  29. Peggy Hyndman

    This sounds like an awesome book and I’m looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the chance to win this great swag pack.

  30. I LOVE the concept of this book! Having 8 kids, this is right up the alley for me, lol 😉
    Cheers-
    Kelly Braun
    Gaelicark(at)yahoo(dot)com

  31. Great idea for a series. Another for my t-b-r list.

  32. Your selection of a toy shop to focus around for your book is really a great idea. I am looking forward to getting the book to read. Thank Dru Ann for including it on your blog.

  33. Sounds like a great read and a wonderful beginning of a series.

  34. Denise M Austin

    I am so excited to start these books! Thank you for the review!

  35. Brings back memories of a toy shop I visited with my Grandfather – adding to my list.

  36. Sqeee! Being of an age myself, I would love to browse this store. What a great premise for a cozy mystery.

  37. This book is on my tbr list.

  38. What a wonderful setting for a mystery — Death of a Toy Soldier sounds like a wonderful trip down memory lane with all of my favorite games and hobbies to grow nostalgic over ~ Thanks for the giveaway!

  39. A love the idea of an antique toy store. I’d be in big trouble if I found one.

  40. Oh this sounds like it will be fun, I’m sure it will bring up a lot of memories.

  41. Kathy Gonzales

    I can’t wait to read this book , love the premise !

  42. an exciting new series…and about antique toys…I’m in heaven! Thank you for the chance!

  43. Oh my goodness…. I used to have a Betsy McCall doll! (and maybe I still do). I have a feeling the vintage toys in this book will be quite familiar to me. It sounds like a fun series and I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the intro to Liz and her shop.

  44. Sounds like the start of a great new series. I think the vintage toy shop is a great storyline and I can’t wait to read the book.

  45. Love this giveaway! Thanks for the chance!!

  46. This sounds like such a great book. I can’t wait to read it.

  47. David Cassidy is still one of the best!

  48. Been looking forward to this book!! would love to get it!

  49. Michele Hayes

    Sounds like a great book.

  50. It has been so much fun already to compare toys we grew up with and loved. Now I have to dig out those I kept.

  51. Brittany Abbott

    I’m just getting more and more excited to read this book.

  52. Donamae kutska

    Wow! This book sounds awesome and fun to read!!

  53. Marlene Ezell

    I so want to read this book. I love vintage toys and enjoy visiting vintage toy shops.

  54. I KNOW I will enjoy this book!!
    thank you for the giveaway……..

  55. Sounds like a great relationship between Liz and her Dad. I am so looking forward to reading this, thanks for the chance to win!

  56. A lovely giveaway. Have yet to read this author. Only learned of her a couple months ago. Thanks for the chance to get this lovely items.

  57. Thanks for the chance to win a give away.

  58. I’m looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the chance to win such a generous gift.

  59. Would love to read this book