Miss Polly Had a Dolly

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Miss Polly Had a Dolly (Emma Frost #2) by Willow Rose

Thoughts Before Reading:

This was the first of the Emma Frost mysteries I ever read. While I enjoyed it, it is not for the faint of heart. Rose can write a strong story, but she can go way out there and deep down dark.

The format of these mysteries has to do with two to three story lines, that all connect at the end and provide the solution to the mystery. One has to do with the people involved or victims of the mystery; and the other Emma Frost and her family.

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So this title comes from the nursery rhyme, Miss Polly Had a Dolly.

Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick.
So she called for the doctor to come quick, quick, quick.
The doctor came with his bag and his hat
And he knocked on the door with a rat-a-tat-tat.
He looked at the dolly and he shook his head
And he said “Miss Polly, put her straight to bed!”
He wrote on a paper for some pills, pills, pills
“I’ll be back in the morning with my bill, bill, bill.”

The story begins in 1997 with Miss Polly and her little girl Nina. Six-year-old Nina is a beautiful blonde child, perfect. Her mother loves to dress her up like a doll and implements all kinds of rules to make sure she stays “perfect”.

This day Nina is not happy going to the park in her frou frou dress. She doesn’t like wearing them and wants to dress in pants like the other normal children but her mom won’t let her.

They are at the park and Nina is having a horrible time when she sees an ice cream truck. She goes up to it and is convinced to get inside. And when she is inside, there is no ice-cream.

In modern times of 2013, Emma Frost is at the signing of her newest book Itsy Bitsy Spider, all about the cannibal serial killer who turned out to be related to Emma. (I don’t want to spoil everything so check out my review, or read it yourself).

Life for Emma is going well as all is normal (although a few people are angry about the story coming out). Her father though has a surprise for her, a new girlfriend, Helle.

Meanwhile, the island of Fanø has been picked as the next place for the TV program, Shooting Star, the Danish version of American Idol or the X Factor. The host is Patrick an eccentric, out there type of guy. While he is a prima donna-interesting and stylish; he is also a serial killer, sewing doll bows into his kills. And he has just found his newest victim.

Emma is having a hard time coming to term with her father’s new girlfriend, Helle, who owns a doll shop. Even though her mother left a long time ago and she knows that they won’t get back together, it feels weird to her having him date. What makes it even more awkward, is when Emma asks Helle about her family, it turns out that her daughter went missing years ago. She was a beautiful blonde six-year old, playing at the park and said to have wandered off into the ocean.

Hmm…

Back in 1997, Miss Polly was distracted by a another parent talking to her. She finally is able to cut the conversation short, but her daughter is gone! She searches everywhere, but all she can find is her daughter’s dolly, Miss Jasmine.

In 2o13, Emma and Sophie are excited for Shooting Star. Two of Sophie’s kids are going to try out for the show, while Emma’s daughter Maya has been given permission to hang out around the set.

Meanwhile, Josephine Glydenstjerne, blonde, beautiful, and six years old; daughter of the Count and Countess of Denmark has finally managed to sneak away from her governess to go past the park to the beach. There she meets a lady with a dog. Besides the dog, the lady has a doll named Miss Jasmine. She invites Josephine to come to her place to see her other dolls that she makes, and Josephine decides to go.

Uh-oh

Back in 1997, Nina is thrown into a brothel. She has been caught up in a prostitution ring that takes blonde, beautiful children from Denmark and sends them to Eastern Europe to where they are in high demand. She lives her life there, depressed and confused thinking she was given up by her mother.  But when a friend is murdered in a sex act; Nina kills the man and decides to get out; making anyone who stands in her way pay for it. She grows to enjoy killing as it gives her power and control.

In 2013, Emma discovers that numerous blonde, six-year old children have disappeared from the ’90s- late 2000s. Most people thought they just wandered off to the ocean and drowned., but Emma can’t help wondering if there might be something else to it?

Meanwhile in her hacking, she discovers that the police are searching for the “Bowtie Serial Killer”. They believe the killer to be connected with the show, Shooting Stars, as the killings occur in areas where the show is taking auditions. Whether crew or a crazy fan, they are searching into who it could be.

I wonder…

Josephine has found herself in a Buffalo Bill-esque situation. Although instead of wanting her skin to make a suit, the lady who kidnapped her wants to use her to make a doll and add it to her collection.

Emma sets out to try and figure out who the killer is and whether it might be connected to the missing children. However, she unwittingly allows her daughter to attend the Shooting Star tryouts on her own. Maya just barely manages to miss being a bow tie victim the fist time, but then is invited backstage the next night for a close encounter with Patrick.

Nooo!

Patrick goes to Helle’s doll shop and attacks her, but is interrupted just in time. When they take Helle to the hospital, Emma knows she is connected to the mystery, but which one? Could she be the missing link that ties the disappearing girls and the bow tie killer? But then Helle lost her own child?

I wonder…

How does it connect? How will it end? Read to find out.

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Thoughts After Reading:

This book is probably the best written of her books in this series. There were a lot of twists and turns, and every time you think you had it figured out there was a new surprise.

Some parts were a little more graphic then I would like but that seems to be how Scandinavians like to write.

And not only was it a talented psychological thriller, but it also had a political agenda. I had never heard of the slave trade in Europe other than those who try to emigrate to America. But in here, Rose brings your attention to the sex slave trade throughout Europe, a very sad thing that more people need to pay attention to and try to change.

For more Emma Frost mysteries, go to The Itsy Bitsy Spider

For more mysteries with a serial killer, go to The Final Seven

For more characters fighting to save people from sex slavery, go to A Most Peculiar Circumstance

For more mysteries, go to Whistling in the Dark

The Harlot’s Tale

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The Harlot’s Tale (A Midwife Mystery #2) by Sam Thomas

This is the sequel to the novel The Midwife’s Tale. I LOVED the first book. I thought it was absolutely fantastic and quickly devoured it. And I eagerly awaited the sequel…

Please!

This book takes place one year after the previous one. It is August of 1645, the civil war is over but not all is well. York is suffering tremendously from a horrible summer heat, one that threatens to destroy the crops and causes tempers to rise.

It's not fair.

Meanwhile, the city’s council have decided that with one war completed, another is to be waged, the war of men’s souls. They have allowed all types of “ministers” into the city, of which are eager to whip the sinful into godly. One area they seem the most focused on? Prostitution.

Gold Digger and Grave Digger

One such group  that has soldiered in to the area is Hezikiah Ward, his wife Deborah, daughter Silence, and son Praise God.

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Lady Bridget continues with her midwifery, with Martha her trusted friend and deputy assisting. Will, however, has found much sorrow at the War’s end. With his brother Joseph, the war hero, returned; their father has once again ignored and mistreated Will, because of his club foot, and instead turned over quite a number of his affairs to Joseph. This extremely disheartened Will and causes him to drink to excess.

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Including these, Joseph has become a crusader “for God”, as he has taken the duty of constable and delights in bringing in people to face charges of slander, prostitution, etc. Joseph is altogether rather unpleasant as his ruthlessness in battle has changed him to become even more ambitious and unempathetic.

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One  morning Bridget is awaken by her servant Hannah. Joseph has come for her as something has happened and she is needed right away by Edward.

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Bridget awakens Martha, much to Joseph’s chagrin and they all take off to answer the summons. They come to a small apartment, one of which the prostitutes would use for business.

suspicious Hmm

Edward brings Bridget in to look at the room and the bloodshed is enormous. Someone had killed and mutilated the bodies, rearranging the man and woman in a parody of copulation.

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Edward’s mission for them is to question the prostitutes in town. As a midwife, Bridget has had her dealings with them before, and they most certainly would not trust Edward, Joseph, or any other constable or official.

Bridget and Martha go over the crime scene and find two pieces of papers with scripture on them,  Numbers 25:8:

“And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.”

And Revelations 2:14

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Upon even further examination, the two were killed similar to first bible verse. And to their horror, they discover that the prostitute killed was done so by the cutting of the femoral artery, and afterwards her privities were slashed and disfigured.

Horrible!!!!

Horrible!!!!

Bridget and Martha are on the case again…or are they? As a pamphlet with similar themes is passed around the city, Joseph concludes the author is the murderer and has him arrested.

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This doesn’t sit well with Bridget or Martha who find it strange that it would be so simple.

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When the murderer claims his innocence and is released from prison, Bridget, Martha, and Will decide to continue searching for the truth.

On the case!

On the case!

They see Helen Wright, owner of the tenement the dead bodies were found in, and while the exchange does not go as well as planned, they are given a lead to see Isabelle Dalton. She refers them to Barbara Rearsby, telling them she will send her their way if she finds her first.

As the three investigate more and more, it appears that in every spot the Wards and Joseph seem to be turning up again and again. Could one be a murderer?

Interesting

Interesting

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Thoughts After Reading:

**Spoiler Alert**

So I didn’t like this book as much as the first one. It wasn’t just the content of the hypocritical Christians, which have been done over and over again ; but it just seemed to be missing something.

Not-Good

I didn’t like the killing of Edward, although it was his own fault. For someone who reads the bible so much he clearly didn’t learn from the stories of Cain & Abel, Jacob & Esau, or Joseph & his 10 Brothers. Brotherly strife will not end well.

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I also didn’t like how obviously evil Joseph was in this. From the first time he was introduced you knew he was the bad guy.

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But let me say what a twist with the Wards. I never suspected the mother, props to you Sam, props to you.

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I also didn’t care for the ending with Joseph getting everything and Will nothing.

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Although I liked that he put Will & Martha together, glad he listened to my class’ suggestion.

Thank you, thank you!

Thank you, thank you!

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For more Midwife Mysteries, go to The Midwife’s Tale

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to The Book of Madness and Cures

For more bible verses, go to Good, Clean, Murder

For more mystery reviews, go to Decked