Saturday, June 25, 2022

A Hint of Mischief by Daryl Wood Gerber: Review, excerpt, and giveaway!

 A Hint of Mischief


About A Hint of Mischief

A Hint of Mischief (A Fairy Garden Mystery) 

Cozy Mystery 

3rd in Series Setting - California 

Kensington Cozies(June 28, 2022) 

Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages

The proprietor of a fairy garden and tea shop in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Courtney Kelly has an occasional side gig as a sleuth—with a sprinkling of magical assistance. . . .

Courtney has thrown a few fairy garden parties—for kids. But if a local socialite is willing to dip into her trust fund for an old sorority sister’s fortieth birthday bash, Courtney will be there with bells on. To make the job even more appealing, a famous actress, Farrah Lawson, is flying in for the occasion, and there’s nothing like a celebrity cameo to raise a business’s profile.

Now Courtney has less than two weeks to paint a mural, hang up tinkling windchimes, plan party games, and conjure up all the details. While she works her magic, the hostess and her girlfriends head off for an indulgent spa day—which leads to a fateful facial for Farrah, followed by her mysterious death. Could the kindhearted eyebrow waxer who Farrah berated in public really be the killer, as the police suspect? Courtney thinks otherwise, and with the help of her imaginative sleuth fairy, sets out to dig up the truth behind this puzzling murder . . . 

About Daryl Wood Gerber

Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling Fairy Garden Mysteries, Cookbook Nook Mysteries, and French Bistro Mysteries. As Avery Aames, she penned the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. In addition, Daryl writes the Aspen Adams Novels of Suspense as well as stand-alone suspense. Daryl loves to cook, fairy garden, and read. She has a frisky Goldendoodle who keeps her in line. And she has been known to jump out of a perfectly good airplane and hitch-hike around Ireland alone. You can learn more on her website: httsp://

Author Links

My Thoughts

A Hint of Mischief by Daryl Wood Gerber is an enchanting cozy mystery. We return to Carmel-by-the Sea where Courtney Kelly owns Open Your Imagination.  The town is full of quaint shops (I want to visit and check out all the shops in the various courtyards).  It was nice to catch up with Courtney, Joss, Fiona, Megan, Pixie, and Brady.  There is a helpful list of the characters at the beginning of the book.  I thought A Hint of Mischief was well-written with great characters.  I like the author’s engaging writing style.  I found myself drawn into story.  I love the fairies in the story and that Courtney can see them. Fiona adds humor to the story.  I like that we get to learn more about the fairies (the various types) and their capabilities. There is one main mystery and two side mysteries.   Misty Dawn hires Courtney to organize an adult fairy birthday party for one of her sorority sisters.  When one of the party goers ends up dead, Courtney with help from her righteous fairy begins investigating.  This was a well-plotted mystery.  I had fun following the investigation and solving the crime.  One of the clues was cleverly done.  Courtney needs to work on her questioning technique (be less obvious because she does not want to alienate her neighbors).  There are several suspects, a red herring or two, and helpful clues.  The mystery is nicely wrapped up with all of the questions answered.  Someone is stealing from the shops in town.  Courtney intends to discover who is behind the thefts. 

Fairy doors are appearing around Carmel-by-the-Sea.  No one knows who is installing the fairy doors.  I enjoyed the fairy party planning.  Joss and Courtney came up with some clever ideas.  I love the fairy gardens that were created by Courtney and customers in Open your Imagination.  It gave me inspiration.  I like how the romance is progressing between Courtney and Brady.  I like that they are not rushing things.  I loved the epilogue where we learn something special.  While A Hint of Mischief is the third A Fairy Garden Mystery, it can be read as a standalone.  The author provides the necessary background information.  There is a preview of A Flicker of a Doubt which is the next A Fairy Garden Mystery at the end plus there are recipes for some of the treats featured in the story (Brookies, Chocolate Crinkles, Fairy Cookies).  A Hint of Mischief is a magical mystery with flitting fairies, fabulous fairy gardens, a slain sorority sister, a playful Pixie, baffling fairy doors, covert thefts, and a curious Courtney.


“Thief!” a woman cried outside of Open Your Imagination, my fairy garden and tea shop. I recognized the voice. Yvanna Acebo.

I hurried from the covered patio through our main showroom, grabbed an umbrella from the stand by the Dutch door, and headed outside, quickly opening the umbrella so it protected me from the rain. “Yvanna, what’s going on?”

Yvanna, a baker at Sweet Treats, a neighboring shop in the courtyard, was dressed in her pink uniform and standing at the top of the stairs that led through the courtyard, hands on hips—no umbrella. She was getting drenched.

“Yvanna!” I shouted again. “Were you robbed? Are you okay?”

She pivoted. Rain streamed down her pretty face. She swiped a hair off her cheek that had come loose from her scrunchie. “I’m fine,” she said with a sigh. “A customer set her bag down on one of the tables so she could fish in her purse for loose change. Before we knew it, someone in a brown hoodie slipped in, grabbed the bag, and darted out.”

“Man? Woman? Teen?”

“I’m not sure.” Her chest heaved. “That’s the second theft in this area in the past twenty-four hours, Courtney.”

“Second?” I gasped. Carmel-by-the-Sea was not known as a high-crime town. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. We had suffered two murders in the past year. Flukes, the police had dubbed them. “Where did the other theft occur?”

“There.” She pointed to the Village Shops, the courtyard across the street from ours. Carmel-by-the-Sea was known for its unique courtyards. “At Say Cheese.”

“The thief must be hungry,” I said. Say Cheese had a vast array of cheeses, crackers, and condiments. “Were you scared?”

“No. I’m miffed.” A striking Latina, Yvanna was one of the most resilient women I knew. She rarely took a day off because she had a family of six to feed—two cousins, her grandparents, her sister, and herself.

“Call the police,” I suggested.

“You can bet on it.”

We didn’t have CCTV in Cypress and Ivy’s courtyard yet. Maybe I should mention it to our landlord.  I returned to Open Your Imagination, stopped outside to flick the water off the umbrella, and then moved inside, slotted the umbrella into the stand, and weaved through the shop’s display tables while saying hello to the handful of customers. Before heading to the patio, I signaled my stalwart assistant Joss Timberlake that all was under control.

“Do not argue with me!” Misty Dawn exclaimed. “Do you hear me? I want tea. Not coffee.  Tea!” Misty, a customer, was standing by the verdigris baker’s racks on the patio, wiggling two female fairy figurines. When she spotted me, she uttered a full-throated laugh. “You’re back, Courtney. Is everything okay outside? Did I hear the word thief?”

“You did.”

“Hopefully nothing too dear was stolen.”

In addition to my business, the courtyard boasted a high-end jewelry store, a collectibles shop, an art gallery, and a pet-grooming enterprise.

“Bakery goods,” I said.

“And no one got hurt?”

“No one.”

“Phew.” Misty gazed at the figurines she was holding. “I swear, I can’t get over how young I feel whenever I visit your shop. It takes me back to my childhood, when I used to play with dolls. I’d make up stories and put on plays. At one point, maybe seventh grade, I thought I was so clever and gifted with dialogue that I’d become a playwright, but that didn’t come to pass.”

 Misty, a trust fund baby who had never worked a day in her life, even though she had graduated Phi Beta Kappa and had whizzed through business school, had blazed into the shop twenty minutes ago, hoping to hire me to throw a fairy garden birthday party for her sorority sister. In the less than two years that the shop had been open, I’d only thrown three such parties, each for children.

“Let’s get serious.” Misty returned the figurines to the verdigris baker’s rack, strode across the covered slate patio to the wrought-iron table closest to the gnome-adorned fountain, and patted the tabletop. “Sit with me. Let’s chat. I have lists upon lists of ideas.” She opened her Prada tote and removed a floral notepad and pen.

Fiona, a fairy-in-training who, when not staying at my house, resided in the Ficus trees fitted with twinkling lights that surrounded the patio, flew to my shoulder and whispered in my ear. “She sure is bossy.”

I bit back a smile and said, “The customer’s always right.”

“How true,” Misty said, oblivious to Fiona’s presence.

 I thought perhaps I should mention it to our landlord.

A Hint of Mischief will be out on Tuesday, June 28 and it is available from AmazonB&NKoboBookshopMurder by Book, and Mysterious Galaxy.  The other two novels in A Fairy Garden Mysteries are A Sprinkling of Murder and A Glimmer of a Clue (both books can be read for free with Kindle Unlimited).  You can find Daryl Wood Gerber's other novels here. Now for the giveaways!  
Daryl Wood Gerber is giving away your choice (pick one of the first two books in A Fairy Garden Mysteries) of A Sprinkling of Murder or a Glimmer of a Clue plus a fairy door (it is so cute), a fairy figurine, and a $15 Amazon gift card (sorry, but US only).  You can click here to enter or use the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!  I am also hosting a giveaway for one of the first two books in A Fairy Garden Mysteries (paper or ebook--your choice) which are A Sprinkling of Murder and A Glimmer of a Clue. Leave a comment with your email address (so I can contact you if you win) for a chance to win (sorry, but US only).  The contest ends on June 28 at 11:59 p.m. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, it gets you an extra entry (let me know when you comment). Good Luck! Thank you for joining me today.  On Monday I am featuring Dairy, Dairy Quite Contrary by Amy Lillard. It is the debut of A Sunflower Cafe Mystery series.  I hope that you have a delightful weekend. Take care, stay cool (it is so hot outside), and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Participants

June 21 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT 

June 21 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – GUEST POST WITH RECIPE 

June 21 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT 

June 22 – Christy's Cozy Corners – REVIEW 
June 22 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 22 – Angel's Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY 

June 23 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 

June 23 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT 
June 23 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW 

June 24 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy - REVIEW, GUEST POST WITH RECIPE

June 24 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – REVIEW
June 24 – Baroness' Book Trove - REVIEW



June 25 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT 

June 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 26 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

June 27 – Diane Reviews Books - REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY
June 27 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 27 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

 June 28 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
June 28 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW

June 28 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

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  1. Great review. Thank you for the chance to win one of Daryl's books.

    1. Congrats Sue Stone! You are the winner of the individual giveaway! I will contact you by email. Thank you for visiting!

  2. Kris, I'm so glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for the lovely review. And wow, all the pix you posted of fairy gardens and doors are amazing!! Great job! A feast for the eyes.