Marigolds for Malice

Enchanted Garden Mystery, Book #3

By Bailey Cattrell

ISBN 9780451476906

Author Website: cricketmcrae(.)com


Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie


In the third captivating Enchanted Garden Mystery from Bailey Cattrell, Elliana Allbright will need to dig up clues from the past to weed out a killer…

Elliana Allbright is happy running her perfume shop, Scents & Nonsense, in the charming town of Poppyville, California. And she’s even happier when she can use her inherited abilities to infuse her perfumes with an extra special something that eases woes or solves problems for her customers. But she’ll need those abilities and more when murder comes to town.

Ellie and her women’s business group, the Greenstockings, are helping to open a new museum about local history, and while sorting through the collection of artifacts they discover a time capsule from the days of the Gold Rush. Among the contents is a strange botanical manuscript, recognized by local history professor Eureka Sanford as extremely rare and valuable. When the professor is found dead in the museum, Ellie has no choice but to sniff out the murderer… but this one may have roots that are as old as Poppyville.


What a great cozy mystery this is! I have enjoyed this series very much so far, and Marigolds for Malice did not disappoint. The characters, Ellie’s shop, Enchanted Garden, Ellie’s knowledge of plants, flowers, and herbs and their properties, and the mystery make this a truly engaging read.

Ellie’s shop, Scents and Nonsense, is a successful venture, set on a fabulous lot with the shop, a tiny house rebuilt from a potting shed, and a large garden in between that she has planned and nurtured with great care. Scents and Nonsense carries ample, varied products with custom fragrances, many from her own garden.

A local women in business group called the Greenstockings is helping prepare Heritage House for opening as a local museum on the library lawn. It is an old log cabin that was relocated, and will have numerous displays of local treasures and cultural items, including many tools from the gold mining days.

A butter churn is found, sealed with wax, with 1850 on the top; retired history professor Eureka Sanford believes it to be a time capsule. Felicity, manager of the Hotel California, wants a public opening of it to draw tourists. On the day it is opened, there is a huge crowd of people, including an old friend and colleague of Eureka, Odell Radcliffe and his adult daughter Haley.

One item that captured the crowd’s interest was a large piece of gold. The real stuff. A claim map, a photo,, what looked like a diary page, and a much older-appearing sewn parchment booklet were inside. The most unusual item, to Ellie, was an envelope with a photo of a young woman who looked just like her, with a dried marigold. Ellie doesn’t know who the woman is, maybe an ancestor? To a woman who studied fragrance, what was chilling was the marigold. When Ellie was at home, she opened her grandmother’s journal, a wealth of handwritten information and drawings regarding herbs, flowers, and the like, including Latin names and uses. Gamma had written by the marigold that it meant ill will to the recipient, cruelty, and malice.

Late that night, Ellie returned to Heritage House to see if she could take a closer look at the parchment. She saw the door open and the light on. Eureka was lying behind the desk, dead. There was a legal pad on the desk where Eureka had been taking notes before being clobbered by a mining shovel. It looks like she had been studying the parchment booklet, but the booklet is gone, as is the chunk of gold.

Ellie is the kind of young lady I would enjoy having as a neighbor. She and best friend Astrid are among my favorites. Astrid is a veterinary technician and has a pet sitting service. Where Ellie has the rare ability to see someone and understand what fragrances she might mix to help them, Astrid has the unique gift to see an animal and know what is wrong with it. Their friend Maria, the local librarian, often knows what book a person might need before they do, often having it set aside before they come in to look. With friends like these, life would never be dull!

The plot is as unique as the town itself. The author caught my attention at the beginning – actually, at the colorful cover art – and kept it throughout. I enjoyed the historical elements. Another interesting feature is the author’s command of English, sending me to the dictionary more than once. Elements from the past tied into the of the present, and following those paths was fascinating. Plot twists and turns kept me on my toes; even though I had a sneaking suspicion who the killer was, I continued through Ellie’s reasoning about each person. There were several people who made good suspects, and my opinion almost changed more than once. I highly recommend this exciting and interesting mystery! I was very satisfied with the resolutions to the murder, the photo, the parchment booklet, and other items.


*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*