Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Source: pr firm in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: October 11th 2016
Challenges: NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
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Blurb from goodreads:
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.
My first holiday story of the winter season! And I have another one this Friday. Yes, I know it's only October but they're being released already. smh Anyway, this story, though set at Christmas, doesn't revolve around Christmas but the holiday does add a little flavor to the story.
"Death of a Toy Soldier" introduces us to the McCall family - retired police chief Hank McCall, his daughter Liz, her brother Parker, and Parker's wife Cathy. Liz and Cathy help Hank run his toy store. Hank, though officially retired, can't quite keep out of business police and has a habit of making citizen's arrests. This time however he would need to arrest himself for a murder that occurred at his shop, where he's found standing over the body. Hank and Liz, with assistance from Parker and Cathy plus an old flame of Liz's, set about trying to solve the murder and some other, possibly related, mysteries.
Though definitely a cozy mystery, "Death of a Toy Soldier" is not cute, and I liked that. Some cozies try too hard to be cute. This was a cozy in the true sense of being solved, partially anyway, by an amateur sleuth. Liz is an amateur even if her father isn't but neither has any official standing to be solving crimes. Liz is funny, smart, skeptical, and not too proud to ask for help; Hank is sneaky, persistent, a pun connoisseur, and unwilling to let go of what he sees as better days. They work together well even though they sometimes keep secrets from each other. Cathy is more comic relief but she is enthusiastic and also capable of being sneaky.
"Death of a Toy Soldier" gave us a complicated and twisty mystery, entertaining characters (I hope we see more of the sisters, Irene and Lenora. I loved the Arsenic & Old Lace references), a hint of paranormal, some romance, and a good set-up for future stories. It was interesting learning more about old toys and I love the idea of the weekly board game nights the store has. "Death of a Toy Soldier" is a good start to a new series and I'm looking forward to more.