The Dollhouse Murders is the first chapter book that my sister ever read (over 25 years ago!), and ever since then she's been encouraging me to read it. I'm glad I did!
The book, aimed at 4th-6th graders, is creepy and chilling without being too intense for kids in this age range. In fact, today's kids probably wouldn't even bat an eye at the "scary" stuff, so I guess the label "creepy" should be taken with a grain of salt. Be that as it may, I enjoyed the eerie aspects of the book, and I also liked the way the author dealt with the more real world issues in her character's lives. Issues of responsibility, independence, guilt, self-reproach, family were all dealt with in believable ways, and the author, Betty Ren Wright skillfully avoided heavy handedness when approaching these issues.
I'm not usually a fan of chapter books aimed at upper elementary kids, but this one had a certain appeal. Wright was careful to give these kids a story that honors their budding maturity while still recognizing the idea of age appropriateness. A fun read that I would have no problem putting into my niece's hands.