Murder on the Toy Town Express: A Vintage Toy Shop Mystery

Murder on the Toy Town Express: A Vintage Toy Shop Mystery

by Barbara Early


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683317562
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication date: 09/11/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 426,139
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, but after four years of doing nothing but math, developed a sudden allergy to the subject and decided to choose another occupation. Before she settled on murdering fictional people, she was a secretary, a school teacher, a pastor's wife, and an amateur puppeteer. After several years living elsewhere, she and her husband moved back to her native Western New York State, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies and campy seventies television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. This is her fourth mystery, and the second in her Vintage Toyshop series.

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Murder on the Toy Town Express: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
MicheleWatson More than 1 year ago
This is the 1st book I have read by Barbara Early. I genuinely loved it. This book was so enjoyable to read. This writer is funny and she has a true gift for being able to bring the reader into another world and another life. I loved the relationship between the main character and her father. There is a funny love triangle going on too. I didn't see the ending coming out as it did. I didn't get to read the 1st book in the series, as I was given this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. I feel that the book did stand alone, you don't have to read the first one. And, I can't wait for the next one to come out. Barbara Early is going on my "favorite authors" list.
C_Fowler More than 1 year ago
This book was both fun and nostalgic, and if you love old toys, games and mysteries, Murder on the Toy Town Express is for you. Well Played is the toy store owned by Liz McCall's "retired" police detective father, Hank McCall, and Liz has her hands full keeping the store running while also trying to prevent Hank from still trying to investigate crimes. When a suspicious death occurs at a Train and Toy Exhibition where Well Played has a booth, Liz's dad is brought into the investigation, and Liz decides she needs to help her father turn up clues and solve the mystery so he can get back to the business at hand. This book has engaging characters as well as "memories" of all the fun games we played growing up. The toy store hosts a game night where residents of the town come to play a selection of the many vintage games the store has in stock just for that purpose. From Risk to Clue to Mousetrap and many others, a fun time is guaranteed, along with lots of town gossip. The town residents are interesting and quirky and fun to get to know. A particularly funny part of the book occurs at a "Clean Queen" party hosted by the Mayor's wife, and had me laughing out loud. Murder at the Toy Town Express is the second book in Barbara Early's Vintage Toyshop Mysteries, but can definitely stand alone and does not contain any spoilers from the first book. If you love old games and a mystery that will definitely keep you guessing until the end, this book is for you. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
AWilcox777 More than 1 year ago
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book! Barbara Early has a great writing style that puts you right in the scene and makes you love even the less likeable characters. The plot was great and all the toy references and bad puns throughout were heartwarming and gave a good chuckle. Honestly, I was a little unhappy when the killer was revealed but it was a great mystery right up to the end when you put the pieces together and figured out what was going on. Semi-spoiler - Ken's plot twist at the end didn't make me very happy either but she sure has me on the hook for the next in the series! I look forward to it!
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Murder on the Toy Town Express by Barbara Early is the second novel in A Vintage Toyshop Mystery series. Liz McCall and her father, Hank are heading to the East Aurora Train and Toy Show with items from their vintage toyshop, Well Played. They arrive to discover that their booth is next to Craig’s Comics owned by Craig McFadden (who tormented Liz all through childhood). Craig is running around is a caped crusader outfit excited about an announcement he will be making and soon appears up on the catwalk. Unfortunately, Craig plunges to his death and it is believed he was injured in a publicity stunt that went awry. Later that night, Craig dies in the local hospital and the police discover that Craig’s death was not so innocent. Hank and Liz are on the case helping local Police Chief Ken Young. Can they uncover the killer before the train and toy show departs town? Murder on the Toy Town Express is nicely written and has a good pace. I found it easy to read and I liked the descriptions of the vintage toys (and treats). I would suggest starting with Death of a Toy Soldier before embarking on Murder on the Toy Town Express. Otherwise, you might be a little lost in the beginning. There are some humorous puns in the story that will cause readers to giggle. I wish, though, the author had not put a love triangle into the story, and I thought too much time was devoted to romance. Though, it does look like one of the love interests may have a secret. The mystery was not complicated and the killer can be identified early in the story (insert disappointed sigh). I kept hoping for a good, unexpected twist. My rating for Murder on the Toy Town Express is 4 out of 5 stars. I like the characters (especially Hank), the toy store, the town, and the great toys. There is one revelation that provided a laugh out loud moment (involves My Little Pony). I do find that some details are overlooked or not provided (like Maxine’s last name). I appreciate that Hank and Liz work with the police on the investigation. I will continuing with A Vintage Toyshop Mystery series.
Missisue4 More than 1 year ago
What would you do if your childhood bully was in an accident right in front of you and later died ? And it is ruled murder ? And if he was a business rival whose business was right across from your business ? What if you met his employee, liked her and felt sorry for her ? And what if your father was the retired chief of police ? Oh and you are sort of dating the new chief of police as well as the brother of one of the suspects ? These are all questions that are asked of Liz McCall who is the main character in Murder on the Toy Town Express by Barbara Early. Liz does what any normal main character in a cozy mystery does...she dives head first into the investigation.....okay maybe head first isn't a great way to say it seeing as Craig McFadden falls to his death from a catwalk during a stunt at the Train and Toy Show. There is a lot going on in Murder on the Toy Town Express but the way that Early writes and brings it all together seems effortlessly. Not only is she telling an attention getting story but she takes the reader down memory lane with her mention of nostalgic toys and comics. It is also amazing how Liz and her dad work together with each other and the lead investigator on the case. Especially with her dad retired there is a lot of respect among the group....which is a nice change when looking at other cozy mysteries. It's nice to see everyone getting along. Early has a colorful cast of suspects in this story but when the dust clears and you find out who the guilty party is you will be blown away !!! I can almost guarantee that you will be as shocked as I was and you will want to go back and re-read it again...... One thing I ALWAYS do when I read a book is read the Author's Notes and Acknowledgments at the end of the book. This gives me a little more insight into the author and what they are about. This was the last paragraph in the Acknowledgment's section at the end of Murder on the Toy Town Express and I felt it needed sharing. "And thanks to you, the reader. There are many books on the shelves, and you picked this one. I hope you've enjoyed the time we've spent together!" There are a lot of books on the shelves and I HOPE that this is one that you, the reader, will choose. You will enjoy the time you spend with author Barbara Early. I know I did.
CozyUpWithKathy More than 1 year ago
Liz McCall hunts for the truth once again in picturesque Western New York. MURDER ON THE TOY TOWN EXPRESS by Barbara Early The Second Vintage Toyshop Mystery Liz McCall and her dad, Hank, hope to sell some of the vintage toys from their shop, Well Played, as they venture out to the East Aurora Train and Toy Show. But it's not all fun and games when Craig, the comic store owner who bullied Liz throughout school, takes a swan dive from the catwalk into the train exhibit! When Hank takes over as head of security for the event, Liz can't help but involved too. Was it an accident or murder? Is the mob really involved and did it have anything to do with Craig's big announcement? Barbara Early brings plenty of nostalgia with her Vintage Toyshop Mysteries. Fortunately for me, it wasn't the bullying that brought me back, but rather the toys and their spot on descriptions. I still have my Which Witch? game (yes, the original) and its mention made me want to dig it out and play again! Reading about these toys brings back special times remembered with fondness. Make no mistake, it's not just about the toys, there is a well plotted mystery as well. Rich characterization and subplots about Liz's family as well as her suitors add both complexity and meaning. MURDER ON THE TOY TOWN EXPRESS brings fresh life to old toys and games as Liz McCall hunts for the truth once again in picturesque Western New York.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts Choo! Choo! All Aboard for another fun mystery from Barbara Early!! The toy and train show has come to East Aurora, New York and Liz McCall and her family have a booth to sell their vintage toys. Liz McCall is a little nervous because an awful blast from her past, Craig McFadden, has the booth right next to hers selling his comic books. It is bad enough that he has a store across the street from their toy shop, Well Played, does she have to see him for the whole weekend. She quickly meets his clerk and learns she will be running the booth, because Craig has something special planned. I don’t think dying was what he had in mind, but that is what happened. Accident… publicity stunt… one moment he was on the catwalk, then he was in the air and then he laid among the rubble of the disaster he created to a model train town. Was it murder?? Her dad, the retired police chief finds himself in the middle of the investigation and so does Liz when her high school boyfriend’s brother becomes a prime suspect and she finds her dad may have been the original target. All the characters I loved in the first story are back. The relationship between Liz and her dad is heartwarming and uplifting. The whole family pulls together to help with the shop and the booth. It is a true family business. They also have many loyal customers that show up for their nightly board game events. Well Played is a family gem in a day of the big box stores. Now the victim, he was a bully from back in grade school right up until the day he died. He didn’t have any friends and Liz even questioned if he would be missed. He was the perfect victim and while I never wish anyone dead, I was not sorry to see him go. Ms. Early has written quite a puzzling mystery and I may be off my “game” but she had me so twisted, turned, and off the “track” that I pulled in the station right along with Liz. I had an OMG moment when I read that final twist. The plot was very exciting but the author threw in some funny instances too. There is also a bit of a romantic triangle going on. Liz is dating her high school crush and the new police chief. Her dad is giving her more than a little nudge to finally decide between the two. The author had me on board from the first page to the last. So we have wonderful characters, a fun theme, an excellent mystery, with humor and romance. For me that chugs this story right into the depot as an absolutely perfect escape. Climb aboard, this is a story you don’t want to miss.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
A Bully Takes a Plunge Just in case you haven’t figured it out by now, I never really grew up, so you can imagine how quickly I jumped at a cozy mystery set around a nostalgic toy shop. The first in the series was great, and I’m happy to report that Murder on the Toy Town Express is even better. The Toy and Train Expo has come to East Aurora, New York, and Liz McCall and her father, Hank, have set up a booth for their vintage toy shop, Well Played. Liz’s isn’t super happy when they find their location and discover they are located next to Craig McFadden’s comic book booth. Craig and Liz had gone to school together, and Craig has bullied her. She has done her best to avoid him as an adult, but the little bit they have interacted has shown that he hasn’t matured a whole lot. However, for this weekend, he’s buzzing about some big announcement he plans to make that morning. And he’s wearing a superhero costume that no one seems to recognize. Before he can make his announcement, he climbs up the scaffolding in the convention center and then plunges into the middle of an elaborate train display. No one else was up there, but something feels off to Hank, the retired chief of police. It appears that Liz’s family and friends are potentially connected in some way to the case, so she begins to investigate. But can she make sense of all that is happening? There really is a lot going on here to keep us entertained. There’s always some plot point or twist, and the various elements that come into this book are fun. We also get a strong sub-plot. The climax is well done and wraps everything up logically. The characters are great. Liz and Hank are the ones we see the most, but the rest of the supporting players are also strong. We are introduced to quite a few new characters here, and I really liked them. We don’t get to know all of them super well, but that’s just a function of how much page time they get. The first book of the series set up a romantic triangle. There are significant developments in it, here, and they also played into developing Liz better, which I loved. While the love triangle has gotten a bad name in cozy mysteries, this is one series where I think it is being handled well. I can’t leave out the humor. Hank loves puns, as you might have guessed from the name of the toy store. Since I love puns, the scenes where he uses some always made me laugh. There are some other funny events in this novel, and I laughed out loud several times while I was reading. Murder on the Toy Town Express is just plain fun, with a good mystery and characters you quickly come to love. Don’t hesitate to visit Liz today. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.
TheCozyReview More than 1 year ago
Liz McCall run’s her father’s vintage toy shop in East Aurora, NY, especially the old board game section. When the Train and Toy Show comes to town, she and her father are all set for the weekend. Along with every other toy and memorabilia shop in the area. She did not expect her childhood bully, Craig McFadden, to be there, less alone set up a booth right next to hers. Yet when Craig falls to his death in the middle of the show, she jumps in and starts asking questions. Was it really an accident, or was it murder? Everyone thought that Craig died in an accident while doing a promotion stunt. Her “friends” Ken, the police chief, and Jack, her high school sweetheart and his ex-con brother are not only involved but become suspects as well. When her father becomes enmeshed with the police investigation, Liz can’t wait to jump in and help. She soon realizes that her father may have been the actual target of the killer and not Craig. Can she unmask the killer before it’s too late? -- Series: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery Author: Barbara Early Publisher: Crooked Lane Books Genre: Cozy/Mystery “Murder on the Toy Town Express” is the second book in Barbara Early’s, A Vintage Toyshop Mystery series. The story centers around Liz McCall and her former police officer father, Hank who owns a vintage toy shop. These two characters are wonderfully written and captivate the reader's imagination. Liz is a bit bossy and nosey; she didn’t this trait from a stranger. Hank sticks his nose into police business at every chance. Keeping him “retired” isn’t easy. Liz, her brother, and her sister-in-law, Cathy are rarely successful at keeping him home and safe. The love triangle aspect of the book is a bit tense. Liz can’t make up her mind if Ken and Jack are just friends or if they are something more. There are lots of twists and turns, and suspicions abound throughout the entire book. Relationship questions, family, and suspects, as well as the future, become paramount to the story. The questions that remain after the clues are collected will keep readers turning the page and fill them with anticipation for the third installment. Ms. Early has crafted a wonderfully exciting and impressive story. Murder on the Toy Town Express is well written, entertaining and filled with wonderful characters that are believable and likable with just enough human frailty to make them memorable. There are moments when the reader will laugh, be shocked, and become possessive of these characters. This book and the series is happily recommended to readers of all types who enjoy their mystery with love and emotion mixed all together with crime and a location that is unusual and interesting. Readers of authors such as Vicki Delany or Leslie Meier will enjoy this book and this author.
LolaReviews More than 1 year ago
Murder on the Toy Town express has a great setting and focus with the toy store, a fun daughter and dad duo trying to help solve the murder and a mystery that kept me guessing. I liked this second installment of the series and reading about this toy shop again. Liz and her father are fun to read about and I like reading about them. The mystery kept me guessing for a long time until I figured it out seconds before the main character did. The romance turned into a bit of a mess in this book and I hope another love interest will pop up in the next book, but it was kinda interesting seeing things develop, it sure wasn’t what I had expected. I liked meeting some of the new side characters and hope to see of some of them in later books, as well as some already familiar side characters. There are some interesting changes and developments with the characters. This was a great sequel and I am looking forward to the next book!