Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Daisies for Innocence (An Enchanted Garden Mystery #1)

Author:  Bailey Cattrell
Genre:  Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Audio CD; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9780451476883; 9781494568238
Berkley Publishing
336 Pages
$7.19; $23.13; $7.99 Amazon
January 5, 2016

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The Enchanted Garden behind Elliana Allbright's perfume shop draws people of all ages with its fragrant flowers and lush greenery.  But when the magical serenity is interrupted, it's up to Ellie to sniff out a killer.

Ellie's life has blossomed in Poppyville, California, since she opened Scents & Nonsense, a custom-made-perfume store.  Her skills with aromas and botanical essences - some from her very own garden - seem almost...supernatural.  Her perfumes can evoke emotions, bring about change, or simply make people happy.  Customers are flocking to the store to buy her wares or just to sit in her beautiful garden, sip tea and enjoy homemade cookies. 

But she smells trouble when she learns that her part-time assistant Josie is dating her ex.  And before she can tell the young woman to beware of his charms, she finds Josie dead in the Enchanted Garden.  Now the prime suspect in Josie's murder, Ellie must search for the real culprit in Josie's past - because it'll take a miracle to nip this problem in the bud...

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Elliana Allbright owns a shop that makes perfumes, soaps, body lotions, etc., in the town of Poppyville, California.  She opened it after a messy divorce from her husband Harris; one in which he kept the restaurant they owned together and bought her out.  She has a part-time employee named Josie, and one day she tells Ellie that she's been dating Harris and asks if it's a problem.  Ellie assures her it isn't, Ellie leaves to run some errands and leaves Josie handling the shop.

She doesn't see Josie again that day, and the next morning her little Corgi Dash goes outside and won't stop barking.  Ellie follows, and finds Josie's body just outside the gate to her Enchanted Garden which is in the back of her shop.  She calls the police and is questioned.  Detective Lang, a friend of her ex-husband Harris, is convinced she murdered Josie out of jealousy; convinced because Harris told him Ellie was extremely jealous and probably did it.

Since he's not looking elsewhere, she figures it's up to her to find out who the killer is.  At least his partner, Detective Lupe Garcia, is rational and helpful, which gives her hope.  When Garcia tells her that it appears Josie was stabbed in the park, but died in the garden, you'd think Lang would realize that it wasn't her fault, but he doesn't.  So Ellie starts doing what she can to find out who would want Josie dead, and hopes to find out before Lang puts her behind bars for life...

I really liked the title of the book and the fact of the garden in the back, filled with plants that Ellie uses to make her concoctions.  A lot of the book was good, but then there was the taint of Detective Lang...(To see a spoiler on my thoughts about Lang, please see my review on Goodreads).

While the plot was decent, there wasn't really a lot of alternative suspects.  No one stood out, and nearly everyone was nice.  Those that weren't all seemed to have alibis the night Josie was killed.  I didn't feel that we were given enough clues to get close to finding the killer ourselves (and isn't that why we read mysteries?)  It was as if people were there, and then discarded along the way - no one was really questioned by Ellie, she just observed them, or pretty much said hi - in other words, they wouldn't have been viable suspects anyway.

This is a light-hearted read and a decent start to a new series.  I would have liked to have seen more emphasis on character development and perhaps a little less on the power of aromatherapy.  I didn't get the feeling of knowing any of the characters, but perhaps that will be remedied in the next book in the series.  A cute cozy mystery for a lazy evening.

https://www.amazon.com/Daisies-Innocence-Enchanted-Garden-Mystery/dp/0451476883/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2185549227

More on Bailey Cantrell's Books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/c/bailey-cattrell/

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