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Title: The Dollhouse Murders
Author: Betty Ren Wright
Number of Pages: 149 pages
Book Number/Goal: 44/40 for 2010
My Rating: 3.5/5

Jacket Summary: It was just an old dollhouse. Hidden away in the attic--collecting dust. Amy didn't know that the dollhouse held a secret. A deadly secret that hadn't been talked about in years. And now, the dolls have decided that Amy should be the one to know the truth. The truth about the night of the murder...

Review: First off, the writing in the actual book is way better than the crappy summary on the back cover. XD I grabbed this off of BookMooch because when I asked on a bookfinder community about another book about creepy dolls that I remembered liking as a kid (Behind the Attic Wall), someone mentioned this one as well. The Dollhouse Murders was written in the early '80s, same as Behind the Attic Wall, but I never came across it as a kid. I wish I had, as I would have enjoyed it a lot. I enjoyed it as an adult, too.

There is a subplot about Amy's sister Louann, who has some sort of mental disability (only specified as "brain damage"), and at first I was extremely hesitant about it, but I think overall it was handled pretty well. Over the course of the book, Amy realises that her sister can do more than Amy and her mom have assumed and starts to realise that it's a good thing for Louann to have her own interests and friends and to eventually have her own life. While it is Amy's POV and obviously framed as an abled person learning a lesson about disability, Louann herself was as well-rounded as any of the other supporting characters and felt like a person, not just an object to teach Amy a lesson. Definitely better than I might have expected for a thirty-year-old children's book.

I was less happy about the murder plot. In general the mystery was badly done. This is better as just a ghost story than a mystery, because the real killer turns out to be the groundskeeper, who they had "always been generous to" until he randomly decided to kill them because that's just what the help does, I guess. Yay, classism!


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