Dead Man’s Doll (Sugarwood Mysteries Book 2) by Diane Bator Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The holidays bring a bit of horror to the small town of Sugarwood as a woman stumbles across the murder of a local butcher and discovers tales of voodoo and witchcraft integrated into the mystery in author Diane Bator’s “Dead Man’s Doll”, the second book in the Sugarwood Mysteries series!


The Synopsis

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?

The Review

I absolutely loved the juxtaposition of the holiday settings with the cozy murder mystery meets witchcraft and horror elements of the narrative. The author did an amazing job of bringing a good dose of humor and wit to the narrative amongst the more chilling elements of the story, and the rich detail and atmosphere that the author was able to achieve were inspiring to see come to life on the page.

The character growth and the exploration of our understanding of things like witchcraft, voodoo, and other magical-based belief systems were the true heart of this narrative. The humor and relatability that the author infuses into characters like protagonist Audra and Marilee, and even the inclusion of Audra’s dog Drake, added a depth and captivating element to the cozy murder mystery, while the magical practices element of the story showcased how it is often our own prejudices and misconceptions that make people far more dangerous than the unknown and things classified by society as “supernatural” and having all of this come to life in a Christmas setting was made even better.

The Verdict

Chilling, witty, and entertaining, author Diane Bator’s “Dead Man’s Doll” is a brilliant cozy mystery for the fall/winter season of 2022 and a perfect next chapter in the Sugarwood Mysteries series. The thoughtful and thrilling narrative blends well with the funny character dynamics and rich cultural and spiritual elements explored in the story, making this a one-of-a-kind read you won’t be able to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Diane Bator is a prolific writer published by BWL Publishing. She is a A member of WCYR, Sisters in Crime and a board member for the Crime Writers of Canada. She is the author of several mystery series and a budding playwright.


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