Queen Mary’s Dollhouse
by Cate Price
During the course of my research for A DOLLHOUSE TO DIE FOR, I discovered the amazing Queen Mary’s dollhouse. Many of the top artists, craftsmen, and manufacturers of the day contributed to the house, which is a perfect replica of a grand Edwardian residence, complete with saloon, library, dining room, private apartments, servants’ rooms, kitchen, wine cellar, and garage. It was designed by the renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens for Queen Mary, wife of King George V, and is one of the most splendid and beautiful dollhouses in the world.
Construction on the house began in the spring of 1921, and it took three years to build. It was made to a scale of one inch to one foot, is five feet tall, and has electricity, hot and cold running water, and two working elevators from the basement to the top floor. The attention to detail is astounding. Furniture drawers open, door handles close and clocks tick. Even the thickness of paint was reduced in proportion to the scale of the house.
In the library, each tiny book, bound in leather and embossed with gold leaf, is actually readable. Well-known writers such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, J.M. Barrie, Rudyard Kipling, and W. Somerset Maugham contributed special books for the house's library.
There is an extensive art collection by leading painters of the day, including Sir William Nicholson, and in the Strong Room stands a safe with minute replicas of the Crown Jewels. The honeycomb walls of the wine cellar hold 100 dozen bottles containing thimblefuls of real wines and spirits. The linen cupboard has a full complement of sheets and tablecloths, and a fleet of elegant Rolls Royce limousines are housed in the miniature garage.
No expense was spared, from the marble topped sinks in the King’s bathroom, to copper pans and kettles in the kitchen, and rosewood paneling throughout. Even the piano has a real soundboard, cast steel frame, strings, hammers, and ivory and ebony keys.
Underneath the main building is a huge drawer that opens to reveal a hidden ornamental garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll. There’s even a functioning lawnmower and a resident snail!
If you’d like to take a look at this perfectly preserved piece of history, it’s on permanent display at Windsor Castle.
A Dollhouse to Die For (Deadly Notions Mystery - Book 2) by Cate Price
Publication Date: 05/06/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Cate Price on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Books in the series:
1. Going Through the Notions
2. A Dollhouse to Die For
Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from, A Dollhouse to Die For, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
Daisy Buchanan thinks of her shop, Sometimes a Great Notion, as more than just a business. For her, it’s a haven of vintage sewing notions and other treasures, excellent coffee, and camaraderie. But when an antique dollhouse provokes some bizarre behavior on the part of a customer, Daisy makes it her business to find out what secrets are hidden behind its tiny doors…
At an estate auction, Daisy is delighted to find the perfect present for a young girl she knows—a charming dollhouse in need of restoration. But when local collector Harriet Kunes tries to strong-arm Daisy into selling it, she’s in for a shocking—and deadly—surprise.
After an intruder breaks in and tries to steal the dollhouse, Daisy wonders why everyone has developed such an obsession over it. As she builds her collection of clues, she suspects that the miniature Victorian holds the key to a second unsolved murder, and soon she stumbles across much more than she bid on…
If you are in the notion to read about notions, this is the book! A Dollhouse to Die For is the second book in the Deadly Notions series and readers are treated to story that keep them guessing all the way through. Cate Price gives readers not a only two murders to consider, but lots of fantastic details about collecting and working with dollhouses and what they can be worth. Price has created a series with great characters and lots of different mystery angles to work with. A great addition to an interesting series.
What I liked:
In the first book of this series, readers are introduced to the idea of a 'notions store', a place where buyers can find unique and different kinds of items. I loved the idea from the beginning. It's also interesting to me the way shop owner, Daisy Buchanan goes about getting her items. The dollhouse which is a big part the latest book, comes from an estate sale. It's like antiquing, only a little different. Daisy sells everything from vintage linens to toys. And Cate Price has certainly done her homework on the kinds of things people might come looking for in a shop of this type. It comes across as authentic and very believable.
Do I think a dollhouse can be so valuable that people would kill for it? Absolutely! People have killed for a lot less to be sure. The idea was certainly plausible. There are lots of different reasons that something can be valuable and I liked the way that Price, explains some of that to the reader along with the back story for this book. The dollhouse angle was interesting and made me even go back and take a look at the dollhouse I had as a kid. One of my most prized possessions as a child. Loved all the collecting facts and tidbits of information about dollhouses in this one. An interesting and unique idea.
Daisy once again surprises me with her intuition and her ability to get down to the nitty gritty when it comes to figuring out what happened. Not only is a local dollhouse collector dead, but the lady who previously owned the dollhouse died under mysterious circumstances. Then someone tries to steal the dollhouse. There's definitely something up with this dollhouse! Daisy doesn't stand around twiddling her thumbs she gets her hands dirty and starts sorting through it all. I love the secondary characters in the book and how they helped her, including her husband Joe and the handsome police detective.
What I didn't like:
There was a little too much focus on Daisy's personal life to suit me. Figuring out where she was going to live should not have been on par with figuring out who committed two murders. But I did enjoy learning more about Daisy as a person, as opposed to Daisy the salesman and Daisy the amateur sleuth.
This is an excellent story. I loved the dollhouse facts and Price certainly kept it interesting from first word to last. Not bad for a second book in the series. Lots of potential here.
A Dollhouse to Die For is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Cate Price is the author of Going Through the Notions. A Dollhouse to Die For is the second in her series of cozy mysteries featuring the proprietor of a small-town vintage notions shop.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of A Dollhouse to Die For by Cate Price.
~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, May 24th.
1. Please leave a comment about whether or not you had a dollhouse growing up.
2. Please fill out the FORM.