"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Dolls To Die For Mystery Series by Deb Baker Takes Us Traveling Through Tuesday

This is a meme hosted by Lori's Reading Corner.  It is a weekly event where the location of the books is spotlighted.

The Dolls to Die For Mystery series takes place in Phoenix, Arizona.  It is almost a separate character in these stories, described so vividly, I felt like I was actually there, feeling the 114 degree dry heat and climbing the beautiful Camelback Mountain.  I have never been to Phoenix, but now I surely want to visit.

"Doll collectors are perceived  by some as crazy old ladies who have nothing better to do than talk to dolls.  In reality, this stereotype constitutes a very small percentage of serious collectors.  Typically, doll collectors come from all walks of life and backgrounds.  They can be biologists, high school principals, lawyers, nurses. novelists, computer programmers, or actors.  Occasionally, however, you will still run into the crazy old lady."
From World of Dolls by Caroline Birch
Excerpt from Goodbye Dolly

Dolled Up For Murder (A Dolls to Die For Mystery)
Dolled Up for Murder

In the first book of the series, we are introduced to Gretchen Birch, who has been dating a jerk for seven years, and who has just lost her job in Boston.  She is getting several calls from her Aunt Nina,who trains small dogs to ride in purses, telling Gretchen that her mother, Caroline, who restores dolls for collectors, is missing.  She fails to believe her aunt, who keeps calling every hour on the hour until 3 a.m. when she actually listens and finds out her aunt has bought her a plane ticket to Phoenix leaving in the next few hours. Gretchen finally agrees to come and help find her mother.

When she arrives in Phoenix she finds that her mother is under suspicion of pushing one of her friends, a former doll collector, off of Camelback Mountain to her death.  And now she is missing.  Gretchen and Nina know she is innocent, but without her there, it is hard to prove it.  They start by investigating the dead woman's life and find she had a vast doll collection before she lost everything.  This leads Gretchen to meet the Phoenix Dollers and quite a few other quirky characters.  Can they find the real killer so they can clear Caroline's name and she can come home?

Goodbye Dolly (A Dolls to Die For Mystery)
Goodbye Dolly
The second book in the series finds Gretchen attending an auction without her mother, she bids on the right dolls but is given the wrong box when she pays for her purchases, and while she is  trying to straighten it out one of the auction workers is hit by a SUV and killed.

Gretchen is traumatized but pulls herself together to man her first major doll show without her mother, but of course Aunt Nina volunteers to help, while trying to drum up new clients for her dog purse training business.  To make matter worse her sleazy ex-boyfriend from Boston shows up to win her back.  Everything is going fine until some slimy reporter is killed and Gretchen's ex was seen arguing with him shortly before he died. Now two deaths, are they connected? 

Gretchen starts to receive little packages holding little Kewpie dolls, with cryptic, threatening messages hidden inside the dolls.  The "dollers" and friends all try to help solve the mystery and just when Gretchen thinks she has it all figured out she finds herself needing a few repairs of her own.

Dolly Departed (A Dolls to Die For Mystery)

Dolly Departed

The story takes us into the world of miniatures, dolls that fit in doll houses, and all the furniture, clothing and accessories that go with them.

Gretchen receives an invitation to attend a party being held at a Doll Shop she has not yet visited and can't wait to attend.  However, when people start to arrive the shop is locked up tight.  A man who works with the owner shows up with a key and when to door is opened Gretchen finds herself right in the middle of yet another murder mystery.  

Gretchen's mother was a good friend of Charlie Maize, the shop owner and decides to honor he friend they will put her last project back together.  (She fell on it when she died.)  It was a series of rooms each depicting a different scene, Gretchen, Nina, and April are having a hard time until Gretchen shows a certain handsome detective, who is still awaiting his pending divorce, some street signs she has found.  He recognizes one immediately as the address where Lizzie Borden "gave her mother 40 whacks and her father 41".  It is then the "dollers" figure out each boxed scene represents a murder site.  After a little research they are able to put four of the five boxes together, but the fifth one has them stumped.  If they figure out that box will they find the killer or will the find so much more?

Ding Dong Dead (A Dolls to Die For Mystery)There is one more book in this series which this reviewer has not yet read, but it is on my Wish List.  Ding Dong Dead looks even better than the first three.

These stories are very face paced and impossible to put down.  I thought with nickname like Dolly, I had to read these books.  I learned so much about doll collecting in addition to being entertained by the stories.  I loved all the characters, although I wanted to jump into the book and knock Gretchen's old boyfriend into next week.  I am hoping in the last book the romance between Gretchen and Matt, the detective, can finally take off.  The plots were great, the setting divine, the characters charming in their own way. These stories were fun to read. My favorite character in this series has to be Daisy.    
I really liked these books.


Author of these wonderful books will be here on April 14 to tell us about her new series by alter ego Hannah Reed, and many other things. I am very proud the host this amazing Wisconsin Author.  To find out more about Deb Baker you can check out her web site http://www.debbakerbooks.com/ or her blog http://debbaker.blogspot.com/

My Twinn Baby Doll


Jeanne C. said...

ooh, I LOVE this series! Great review!

Jeannie @ Pine Cottage Books said...

I haven't even heard of this series! They sound good and now I'm going to have find them to read :)