The Doll in the Wall

By Thea Phipps

Product details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Xlibris (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441570756
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441570758
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches

Author’s Amazon page


“Checkmate to the black king” begins the eerie missive found by Bella. It had been hidden in a pub’s wall along with a cache of toys, a child’s clothes, and a century-old photograph of two children, one of whom is a little boy holding the same doll found in the wall with the note. Who, or what, is the black king, and why is the writer of the message frightened for their life? Who are the children in the photograph? What is the link between the hidden items and a chess game? And most puzzling of all, how is it possible that the abandoned hundred-year-old doll is familiar to members of Bella’s family? Using forgotten photographs, memories, and the game of chess, Bella and her friend Tamsin learn the secrets of the doll in the wall.


Why are dolls so mysterious? Scary. Terrifying. Comforting.

Bella is back as is her family, friends, and the cast of local characters which add all the layers to another entertaining read.

Thea’s storytelling is one of mass involvement. This is another story which is not just a mystery within a small community, it is a complete rambling move through the lives of characters who are intermingled with a hidden tale. But not to be confused with a wordy ramble of nonsense. Sitting down with Thea’s Bella is to check in and stay a while with friends. To people watch and listen in on conversations and relax with the quirks and subtleties of people who come across as those we’ve known all our lives.

There’s a comfort in being with Bella and her family. I’m not one to read much that has a religious angle; however, that’s not how this is brought about within these pages. Church and bible reading meetings are simply part of Bella’s world. There’s nothing preaching. It offers a different manner in which to reach out and talk with people and gather information.

Information that helps the story to unfold and answer the questions about a lost doll, war codes, and personal histories.

Having been taught the game of chess by my father when I was little, I was emotionally touched to see it used within the story. The memories of playing were welcomed as I watched the characters connect with each other over the board, exactly how my dad and I did.

This aspect had me thinking of we use foreshadowing and how we miss the obvious when something is familiar.

With this story we meet Bella’s grandfather. I won’t say much about this character outside of that I like him. He’s something else, but I’m pretty sure we’ve all met someone like him in our lives.

In the end, I’m glad I already have Thea’s next book “Strange Caper” even if I’m way late in getting these read and review written.


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