A Sprinkling of Murder

A Fairy Garden Mystery, Book #1

By Daryl Wood Gerber


Author Website: darylwoodgerber(.)com

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele


Fairy garden store owner Courtney Kelly believes in inviting magic into your life. But when uninvited trouble enters her shop, she’ll need more than a sprinkling of her imagination to solve a murder . . .

Since childhood, Courtney has loved fairies. After her mother died when Courtney was ten, she lost touch with that feeling of magic. A year ago, at age twenty-nine, she rediscovered it when she left her father’s landscaping business to spread her wings and start a fairy garden business and teashop in beautiful Carmel, California. At Open Your Imagination, she teaches garden design and sells everything from fairy figurines to tinkling wind chimes. Now she’s starting a book club tea.

But the light of the magical world she’s created inside her shop is darkened one night when she discovers neighboring dog-grooming business owner Mick Watkins dead beside her patio fountain. To make matters worse, the police suspect Courtney of the crime. To clear her name and find the real killer, Courtney will have to wing it. But she’s about to get a little help from an unexpected source . (Goodreads)


A Sprinkling of Murder, the first book in the new Fairy Garden Mystery Series by prolific cozy writer Daryl Wood Gerber, is entertaining, but it did not quite live up to my hopes.

Courtney owns a fairy garden store and even has a real fairy sidekick Fiona.  Everything is going well until a neighboring business owner is found dead next to her store’s fountain.  Even though she did not have more than a passing relationship with dog groomer Mick Watkins, the police have their sights set on her as the prime suspect.  Courtney is determined to clear her own name and unmask the real killer.

I was excited to read this new book by Gerber because I enjoy her other books, and I thought the fairy garden theme would be fun.  Apparently, I do not find the fairy gardens all that interesting after all so the emphasis on this subject turned out to be a poor fit for me.  One would think that with a character that is a real fairy the story would be firmly in the paranormal side of the cozy genre, but it lacks the whimsy and quirkiness that I have come to expect from paranormal cozy mysteries.  

Courtney makes a good amateur sleuth.  She is naturally curious but not obnoxiously nosy, and she is mature in thought and actions (she is twenty-nine years old).  I like Joss, her no nonsense shop assistant and bookkeeper.  She is salty without being abrasive.  Courtney’s father is also a lot of fun, and I hope we see more of him in the future.  Courtney’s potential love interest and best friend round out the nuclear characters.

The suspects and other townspeople are not nearly as endearing, but they do provide variety and plenty of motives.  The story moves along at a steady pace, and there are clues and red herrings sprinkled throughout to keep readers guessing whodunit.  Fiona the fairy does play a part in solving the crime, but again, I am not convinced that she is necessary.  I know, I sound like a party pooper.

Truly, I liked A Sprinkling of Murder; I just did not love it.  I recommend it to cozy readers looking for a fresh protagonist’s occupation and theme with the tiniest sprinkle of the paranormal.