Toy Town is East Aurora, NY. Although you probably already knew that, I didn’t know it until I read Barbara Early’s Murder on the Toy Town Express. Don’t confuse this novel with the famous murder on that other express.
You can tell from the second sentence in the initial quote above that Early is familiar with model railroads and train shows. That, of course, is what initially hooked me on Murder on the Toy Town Express, but it’s not really the main point of the story. Come for the trains, stay for the mystery.
You can learn a surprising amount by reading a mystery novel. It’s not all fun and games. Or toys. Or murders. For instance, why “Toy Town”? Because it’s the headquarters of Fisher-Price, that’s why. I hadn’t known that before reading this book. (Fisher-Price is now part of Mattel. Of course.)
What we have here is pretty much a conventional cozy — second in a series. (Now I have to go back and read the first one, but Early is careful to provide enough back story that you can understand what’s going on without having read the preceding novel.) We have a multi-faceted mystery that’s mostly about interpersonal relationships of various sorts. Everything is plausible, writing is clear, and the setting is portrayed well. Do read it.