A Hint of Mischief by Daryl Wood Gerber

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review “A Hint of Mischief”, the third book in Daryl Wood Gerber’s “Fairy Garden Mystery” series. I have to say that I loved everything about it….this installment definitely lived up to the high standards set by the earlier books, and I eagerly await the next book in the series.

Main character Courtney comes across as a genuine, real person. She’s smart, hard-working, kind, and loyal; she seems like the kind of person you could meet (and really like) in real life. The fact that she can see and talk to fairies adds a fun element to her character, and to the story. It’s a tribute to the author that these magical realism elements fit right in with the narrative, and feel believable within the parameters of the story.

The mystery element (in this case, the murder of a famous actress in town for a friend’s birthday) was very well done. I enjoy Courtney as an amateur sleuth, because she actually makes an effort to investigate. She is methodical and focused in her approach, and talks openly to the police. (Of course, they want her to stay out of things, but since she’s finding clues they didn’t, they can’t complain too much.) Due to the victim’s disagreeable personality, there is no shortage of suspects and motives for Courtney to research. The mystery takes front-and-center stage in this book, which I really appreciated.

In addition to the main mystery, there are several enjoyable side plots regarding a string of small-scale local thefts, an author’s missing manuscript, and the question of who is responsible for a series of fairy doors that are appearing around town. While this may sound like a lot for one book, I found that all the threads ties together perfectly. These side stories were all interesting, and added a touch of realism to the book. (After all, in real life, aren’t lots of things happening at the same time?) I especially appreciated new insights these stories provided into Courtney’s character and relationships, both past and present.

All the normal cozy elements are represented as well. The reader will spend time at work with Courtney in her shop, and as she interacts with her friends and pet. There are plenty of lighter moments to offset the murder investigation, and I enjoyed them very much.

All in all, an EXCELLENT cozy mystery with a bit of magical flair. Five out of five slices of perfect provolone!

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