Title: THE MYSTERIOUS DOLL
Series: Amelia Moore Detective Series #4
Author: Linda Weaver Clarke
Narrator: Diane Lehman
Format: Unabridged Audiobook, 5 hrs and 10 mins
Published: Red Mountain Shadows Publishing (06-17-2016)
ISBN: ASIN: B01H5K5UNE
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Audible
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. Her cases have taken her to some very interesting places and put her in some dangerous situations, but she always solves the case. With the help of her partner, Rick Bonito, the business is flourishing.
Pauline Jones is confused why her boyfriend took off without telling a soul where he was going. But that isn’t all. Sam Whitaker is accused of stealing a valuable porcelain doll from the museum. His disappearance makes him look guilty, but Pauline is convinced he is innocent. When Amelia finds Sam, she realizes they need to prove his innocence. Where is the antique doll and who has taken it?
"What's so funny?" asked Amelia.
"Well, it's the cases you've been getting lately. One case sent us to the warm island of Bali, another to the rainy island of Ireland, and then we end up in the hot countryside of Mexico. Now we're all packed up for the mountains."
THE MYSTERIOUS DOLL by Linda Weaver Clarke is the fourth installment in the author's clean and fun Amelia Moore Detective cozy mystery series. The Moore Detective Agency specializes in finding missing persons. Fans of the series will enjoy catching up with the agency's partners, Amelia Moore and Rick Bonito, as they work their latest case and as they sweetly explore their deepening feelings for each other along with completing items on each of their amusing bucket lists.
This time they've been hired by Pauline Jones. Her boyfriend, Sam Whitaker, has disappeared without a trace along with a valuable porcelain doll from the municipal museum where he works. No one has heard from him. Pauline is convinced he's innocent; The authorities are convinced he's guilty.
Pursuing Sam's trail requires that Amelia and Rick travel to the American West this go-round. Their first stop is Estes Park in the Rocky Mountains where they stay at a haunted hotel. The hotel is the home of a piano which had been tuned and played by John Phillip Sousa. Now, the piano is even more famous for mysteriously playing at night and awakening the staff. I was fascinated by the news of an annual Elk Festival held every October in Estes Park. I love the elk having seen many of them when I pedaled the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper years ago. The elk would come into our camp at night and I saw them grazing alongside the road the whole week I was there. Just being reminded about them brings back the feeling of awe the elk inspired at that time. They are truly majestic creatures.
Amelia and Rick also attend an antique car show, go ziplining near Denver, visit Albuquerque's Old Towne Plaza and learn about the different cacti in the west - AND that's just the tip of the iceberg. As in the previous books in this series, the author's writing makes the reader feel like he/she is accompanying the couple at all the places they visit. I can only imagine the fun that the author had in researching these places before she wrote about them.
KUDOS to the author's dedication in this book. She devoted it "to all those who work so hard to preserve our history through museums. It's important to teach our children their heritage. Who are our ancestors? How did they live and what were their traditions? This is the reason we have museums."
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from this captivating travelogue:
Amelia laughed and then teased him with a kiss on the cheek.
He shook his head. "Nah! Not good enough."
Knowing what he really wanted, she kissed him lightly on the lips.
Rick smiled. "Now that's more like it."
Without hesitation, he pulled her into his arms and pressed his lips to hers, giving her a kiss to remember... a kiss that took her breath away... a kiss that made her lips tingle. As his hands did their magic, caressing her back with tenderness, Amelia sighed.
When he finally released her lips, Rick tenderly cradled her face in his hands and said, "Now that's what I call the perfect thank you." He kissed her sweet lips again. "Just remember that next time."
Amelia blinked and said breathlessly, "I'll try to remember that."
Estes Park was set in a valley surrounded by the Rocky Mountain National Park....
When I visited a few years ago, there were actually elk grazing on the golf course."
"Are you serious?"
"Hey, every year in October they have an Elk Festival. That's why I came here. I wanted to see it 'cause it was on my bucket list."
"An Elk Festival?" Amelia laughed.
"You have the most awesome things on your bucket list. Mine seem boring compared to yours." Amelia raised her brow curiously. "What was the festival like?"
"It was awesome. They had an elk bugling contest, elk seminars, Native American music, dancing and storytelling. They even had bus tours that took you to see the elk grazing in the fields. It was great. I loved it."
"Wait a minute," said Amelia as she tilted her head to one side.
"What's an elk bugling contest?"
Rick grinned. "It's the call of the elk. Anyone can compete. Whoever sounds the most like an elk wins. You can use a horn or just your own voice. When I was there, the man who won used his voice. It was really something."
Amelia's eyes widened with curiosity. "How did he do it? What does it sounds like?"
Rick chuckled. "Well... the call starts out with deep rich tones. Then it quickly rises to a high-pitched squealing sound and immediately drops down to a bunch of grunts."
Rick smiled mischievously and said, "I think I'm going to learn 'Kisses sweeter than wine'. It's a fun one."
Amelia laughed. "What it about?"
"It's about a guy who falls in love with this girl who has kisses sweeter than wine. As you know, folk songs have a story to tell. Well, he asked her to marry him. At first she wouldn't accept his proposal, so he had to beg and plead with her."
"Why didn't she want to marry him?"
"I think she was worried about how it would change her life. She'd been on her own for quite some time and she had to get used to the idea."
Amelia bit her lip and glanced down at her lap. With curiosity, she asked, "Did she finally accept his proposal?"
"Yup. It just took her a while to realize he was the best thing that ever happened to her." Rick grinned. "She sort of reminds me of someone else I know."
Diane Lehman continues as the talented narrator of this series. Her voice is extremely clear with perfect inflections. She differentiates between the characters to where I have no problem knowing who is speaking. She's quite versatile as throughout the series she's voiced multiple accents and sang in different genuine-sounding voices. She has more treats in store for listeners in this book so prepare to be amazed! I look forward to hearing more of her performances in the future.
I've enjoyed every one of the books in this series so far and look forward to traveling again soon with Amelia and Rick! I hear that the next book, HER LOST LOVE, will have our detectives in pursuit of a lost love in northern Arizona and southern Utah. I can't wait! I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys endearing cozy mysteries.
Suggested Reading Order: Amelia Moore Series
THE BALI MYSTERY (Book #1)
THE SHAMROCK CASE (Book #2)
THE MISSING HEIR (Book #3)
THE MYSTERIOUS DOLL (Book #4)
HER LOST LOVE (Book #5)
MYSTERY ON THE BAYOU (Book #6)