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

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A Most Peculiar Circumstance

Ready for the last Christmas mystery of this holiday season?

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Here we go!

A Most Peculiar Circumstance

A Most Peculiar Circumstance (Ladies of Distinction #2) by Jen Turano

In the last book we followed Lady Eliza Sumner as she disguised herself and tried to track down the people who stole her fortune. She ended up getting help where she least expected it from Agatha Watson, Zayne Beckett and his brother Hamilton.

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In this book we focus on Miss Arabella Beckett, Hamilton and Zayne’s sister. Arabella is a suffragette and travels all over America speaking and attending rallies, trying to bring awareness and change.

 She was on her way to such a rally when she splits ways from her traveling companion and heads off on her own. She comes upon a woman who is distraught over her daughter, Alice James, who ran away to be a mail order bride and Arabella promises to track her down.

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Unwittingly, Arabella stumbles into a sex slavery ring as Miss James’ letter was just a ploy. Arabella saves Miss James, but also finds herself causing the two to be jailed in a serious misunderstanding.

Crap

A strange, but tall, dark, and handsome man comes for her.

It turns out to be private investigator, Theodore Wilder.

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Theodore was sent by Hamilton as he wanted his sister at the wedding and their mother, Gloria, was extremely worried about her.

After conferring with the police, Theodore manages to release the ladies, returning Alice to her home in Chicago and taking Arabella to New York.gotthis

The travel and bicker the whole way: Arabella trying to convince Theodore women’s suffrage is the way to go and Theodore trying to get Arabella to talk about anything else.

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When they returns home, Mrs. Beckett sets her sights on setting the two up, but then Theodore opens his mouth about his views on what women should do and they realize that this will not be a perfect match.

Theodore goes back to do some investigating into the situation and discovers that not only have all the suspects fled, but the law as well.

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Convinced  that the slavery people are after Arabella, and that it goes deeper into law enforcement Theodore sends people to watch and help, even though she doesn’t like it. He too, starts spending a lot of time with her to try and keep her safe, and in the process starts falling for her, and she him. But will their way of thinking keep them apart? Or can they compromise?

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Arabella is not one to stand on the sidelines and just let life happen, so she decides to do some research on her own and she desires to help women, especially prostitutes as she just had a glimpse into that world.

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Agatha hears about something going down on the docks, with ten prostitutes disappearing in a week. She decides this is perfect for a story, as she now works for the newspaper, although under an assumed name.

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She goes to her friend in the theater for costumes as she, Arabella, and Katherine Gibson (Theodore’s sister); as they prepare to out to the docks to pretend to be “women of the night” and get the scoop. Unfortunately, this ends with them jailed again, well for Katherine it is a first time.

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Meanwhile, it grows closer to Christmas and Theodore is more and more worried about the slavery ring and Arabella. He takes her to his grandfather’s place in the country to keep her and the other girls, the prostitutes, safe.

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But even there they aren’t safe. It turns out that not only are the slavery people after Arabella, there is even a more worse psychopath who wants her for his truly terrible Christmas Eve plans. Will they be able to save her in time? Or will this be a very unmerry Christmas?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was pretty good. There were definite romantic fiction clichés, but the story was fun and so were the characters.

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It had some great twists and turns,

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But the end did copy Psycho a bit to much.

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I thought it wasn’t as good as the first book in the series. but is still a great companion piece and something I don’t mind reading again and again.

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For more on Ladies of Distinction novels, go to A Change of Fortune

For more Christmas mysteries, go to Murder Well Done

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to The Witch Hunter’s Tale

For more undercover reporters, go to The Alchemy of Murder

For more reviews, go to Plum Pudding Murder