Daisies for Innocence
An Enchanted Garden Mystery #1
By Bailey Cattrell
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
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…. (Goodreads)
Daisies for Innocence, the first installment in the Enchanting Garden Mysteries, lays a delightful foundation for what I hope will be a long running series.
Elliana “Ellie” Allbright has gone through a lot of changes over the past year. After finding her husband in a compromising situation, the two divorced and she now has her own shop. At Scents and Nonsense, Ellie makes custom blended perfumes and aromatherapy products. She has the uncanny ability to know just what a customer needs to make them feel better. But, perhaps even more popular than her products is the adjoining garden. An enchanting place, it is full of beautiful plants and flowers, walkways, statuary, and whimsical fairy houses. It is the perfect place to soak up the California sunshine with a cup of tea and a homemade cookie. But this paradise is disrupted one morning when Ellie finds her part-time employee Josie dead just inside the garden’s gate. Ellie quickly becomes the prime suspect based on the location of the body, a somewhat suspect eye witness, and the fact that Ellie had recently learned that Josie was dating her ex-husband Harris. Harris fuels the flames by accusing Ellie of being jealous and committing the crime. To make things even worse, the lead investigator is Harris’s good buddy Lang, and he has already found her guilty. Out of necessity, Ellie must look into Josie’s past and present to find the real perpetrator and clear her name.
Daisies for Innocence has been on my to-read list ever since I saw the cover release announcement months ago. The art work is indeed charming, and there is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi prominently featured. They had me at corgi (yup, I am one of those crazy dog people), and the inclusion of Dash did not disappoint. I would love to visit Scents and Nonsense and the garden. Through Cattrell’s vivid descriptions, I could smell all of the alluring essential oils and feel the gentle breeze on my face. All of the information about aromatherapy and perfume making was interesting, and “recipes” for various oil blends are included at the end of the book. The book’s themes hit on several trendy topics, such as tiny footprint living and essential oils, but I think they will stand the test of time.
The book is full of quirky, yet relatable characters, and I look forward to getting to know the residents of Poppyville, California, better in forthcoming books. Ellie is intelligent and steady, a reluctant sleuth in the beginning. She is quite appealing and methodical in her investigations, neither nosy nor does she jump to conclusions or accuse suspects unnecessarily. I like that she shared information with and was respectful of Lang’s partner Detective Garcia. I think they could be great friends in the future. Of course, Dash the corgi and the shop’s resident cat Nabby are welcome additions to the cast. Ellie’s best friend Astrid makes a good sidekick, and Ellie’s potential love interest Ritter is endearing. As intended, Harris is foul, and I wanted to smack Detective Lang.
The mystery itself got off to a somewhat slow start, but it soon found its stride and the pace was good. For every suspect Ellie was able to eliminate, another was unearthed. All of the suspects had good motives to commit the crime, and the final reveal of the killer was a bit of a surprise. There were plenty of plot twists to keep the reader interested.
There is a touch of the supernatural in Ellie’s ability to match scents with people, and a flower in the garden seems to have magical properties. That said, this is by no means a paranormal mystery so do not let that keep you from reading if paranormal is not your thing.
I liked Daisies for Innocence and recommend it to fans of the cozy mystery genre.