Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Dolled Up for Murder by Deb Baker
Title: Dolled Up for Murder
Author: Deb Baker
ISBN: 0425212637, Berkley Prime Crime, 2006
Genre: Cozy, Amateur Sleuth, #1 Dolls to Die For mystery
Source: Paperback Swap
First Line: Head buried under a mound of pillows, Gretchen Birch struggled to ignore the phone's incessant ringing.
I've been waiting for someone to cough up the first book in Baker's Yooper mystery series for months and months. It seems as though this series is so good that no one wants to turn loose of their copies. I wasn't quite ready to buy my own, so I ordered Dolled Up for Murder instead, and I'm glad I did.
That sounds like a very strange thing to say right about now when I tell all of you that I almost stopped reading the book a few pages in when I identified the Bad Guy. (The author and I like the same Peter Sellers films.) What kept me reading? Oh... things like Baker's writing style, the Phoenix metropolitan setting, and the "doll angle". My grandmother collected antique dolls, and I picked up a lot of knowledge by osmosis.
Anyway... Gretchen Birch gets a phone call from her Aunt Nina in Phoenix. A homeless woman who had previously collected dolls was found dead at the base of a cliff. She was clutching a note in one hand that certainly seems to implicate Gretchen's mother in her death. To make matters worse, Gretchen's mother, Caroline, has disappeared. Gretchen packs a bag and catches the next plane to Phoenix. (Why do I feel as though I'm about to channel Glen Campbell?)
One of the first things Gretchen does when she settles down in her mother's house is to hike up Camelback Mountain. In July. In the afternoon. I began to think this young woman had a few too many screws loose. Then her Aunt Nina who trains purse dogs made an appearance, and the two of them were off to the races, driving all over the Valley checking in with other doll collectors and trying to avoid the detective who's following them.
I'm very glad I didn't stop reading when I figured out whodunit. I'm very glad I remembered that it's not always all about WHO; many times HOW and WHY are every bit as important in a mystery. Gretchen, her Aunt Nina and her mom Caroline were all engaging characters, and I really enjoyed all the information Baker shared about doll collecting. However, I hope that the next time I read about Gretchen hiking up Camelback Mountain, it's not on a July afternoon. Just the thought of it makes me feel a bit woozy.
My Book Rating Scale:
A+...Don't delay, get your hands on a copy of this book!
A...I loved it!
B...I really liked it.
C...I liked it, with a few reservations.
D...I finished it, but it's not my cup of tea.
- Phoenix, Arizona, United States
- Hi! I'm addicted to books (especially crime fiction), laughter and traveling off the beaten path. In my free time, when my eyes aren't glued to the printed page, one of them is usually pressed against the viewfinder of my camera. Let's see... books, laughter, travel, photography. Anything else? Oh yeah-- my dream house wouldn't have a kitchen!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.