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Dolled Up for Murder by Deb Baker
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Gretchen Birch mystery # 1 has Gretchen summoned to Phoenix by her Aunt Nina. A homeless former doll-collector has been found dead at the base of a cliff, an antique French doll’s parasol in her pocket, and a note clutched in her hand implicating Gretchen’s mother, Caroline, in her death. Now Caroline is missing and Aunt Nina insists that Gretchen come immediately to help solve the murder and clear her mother’s name.

I found the information on the dolls – given at the beginning of each chapter as excerpts from a book written by Caroline – very interesting. But the mystery plot didn’t really hold up. I realize this is a cozy and, like most of this genre, the amateur sleuth “stumbles” upon clues and hinders the investigation as much as she helps it. However, even a cozy mystery needs a good story arc to set up the mystery and explain the resolution. This seemed to be all filler. I never saw the reason for the purse-dog-training subplot, except to paint Aunt Nina as an eccentric.

And speaking of the characters ... Aunt Gertie was thrown in, played a small role and was promptly forgotten. There was not a normal person among all the doll collectors – every one was a gossip, an hysteric, down-on-his-luck, mentally unstable and/or homeless. Gretchen’s constant whining about her long-term boyfriend was tiresome. And the hunky police detective seemed to have nothing to do but follow Gretchen around. Most annoying to me, Gretchen, Aunt Nina and Caroline behaved in a manner that was just “too stupid to live.”

It’s a fast read and I finished it only because it fulfilled a challenge. Not likely to pick up another.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
See my review of another in the series. A themed mystery series where the theme is doll collecting and repair. Good characters, adorable dogs, and an interesting mystery! ( )
  terriko | Jul 2, 2011 |
Gretchen Birch goes to Phoenix when her mother disappears once she becomes a murder suspect in the death of a doll collector. ( )
  LesaHolstine | Jul 19, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425212637, Mass Market Paperback)

For Gretchen Birch, her mother Caroline, and her aunt Nina, doll collecting is a family affair. They may disagree on other things, but when it comes to dolls, they share a passion for the most exquisite (and expensive) creations in history. But they have never imagined that doll collecting could inspire foul play.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:34 -0400)

For Gretchen Birch, her mother Caroline, and her aunt Nina, doll collecting is a family affair. They may disagree on other things, but when it comes to dolls, they share a passion for the most exquisite and expensive creations, never imagining that doll collecting could inspire foul play.… (more)

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