Saturday, January 30, 2016

Daisies For Innocence

Author:  Bailey Cattrell (also writes as Bailey Cates/Cricket McRae)
Series:  Enchanted Garden Mystery #1
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Obsidian

Description:  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.

My Review

During the last several months I have read some cozy mysteries that were first in a new series that were pretty good, but this one by Bailey Cattrell just stood out and stayed with me after the book was finished. In all fairness, I am a huge fan of Bailey Cates so it wasn't a stretch to believe that I would enjoy this book as I have her others. This one for me was just so charming, magical and enjoyable that I couldn't put it down. I literally read it in about 5 hours over the course of two days. 

The story is really well written. The author has such a descriptive style that the reader can picture the Enchanted Garden and smell the soaps and perfumes in Ellianna's store. I thought the book was well plotted with a steady pace. The mystery was solid and provide the reader with several viable suspects and theories for the crime. I was surprised at the identity of the killer and thought the mystery and reason for the murder were wrapped up nicely. 

The characters in this story are charming, quirky and some people I would like to know in real life. Ellianna is a reluctant sleuth and only begins her investigation to save herself from being blamed for the murder.  She has a quiet strength about her as she goes about trying to solve this mystery and remove herself as the chief suspect. During the course of this story she actually comes to realize through memory that she does have a certain talent that can help people.  What I liked about her and how the character was written is that as she investigated and gathered facts, she didn't accuse everyone in town of murder during the course of her investigation. I have seen that in some other stories and it was a little off putting.  The secondary characters and their personalities pair well with Elliana.  I love her little corgi - Dash - who I would consider as a secondary character.  The way he is written you can almost picture his expressions and in certain places it almost seems as if he is actually conversing with Ellianna.

All in all, this was a great start to what I hope will be a long running series. The story was well written, with great characters and a solid mystery. If you are looking for a charming read I would suggest you give this one a try.

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