Christmas blooms in Sugarwood in the form of a brightly lit tree in town square, colourful ornaments, and a snowstorm. It’s just Audra Clemmings’ luck that she literally stumbles over the local butcher in Miss Lavinia’s shop. Then a witch doctor arrives in town.

Can Audra solve the mystery before the killer turns their sights on her?

Dead Man’s Doll by Diane Bator

A Good Amateur Sluething Story
I think this is only the second cosy mystery I’ve ever read. The first one was The Conned Lady by the same author. Amateur sleuthing is not something that has ever appealed to me. But, I’ve been proved wrong.
I really enjoyed the main character, Audra in Dead Men’s Doll. She is a likeable forty something married woman with a dog called Drake. Audra is the pillar of her community and the owner of the Stitch’n’Time embroidery shop in a place called Sugarwood.
As an amateur sleuth, Audra loved to draw up a suspect board and along with her shop assistant, and friend, Merilee, they have their work cut out with a death a few doors down from the premises.
The fact that they ate and drank a lot was also appealing. Who doesn’t love a pastry and a take out coffee?
Set in Canada in the lead up to Christmas, snow and warm fires give a sense of settling into a favourite armchair, which of course, I was. Throw in a good sprinkling of Sugarwood characters and we were off to a good start. A demonic murder and an assault has Audra and the town gossips coming up with many theories.
I found it difficult to work out her relationship with her husband as he often seemed quite remote at times and her feelings for him weren’t very clear. He came into his own when the story reached its very exciting climax.
A friend asked me to read this second book of the series. I would have enjoyed it more had the author given a brief description of events referred to from book one. That way I wouldn’t have been left wondering about parts of the story I didn’t understand.
Overall, I enjoyed it, particularly as I’m a cross stitcher and belong to a ‘sewing circle’ too. I could really identify with the shop and the kits spoken about, it made me feel, well, cosy. I give this a good three stars.

Sugarwood Mysteries

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