ARC Review: “A Flicker of a Doubt,” by Daryl Wood Gerber

Hi all, and happy “late ARC Sunday!” I am so sorry for my absence. It has been a rough couple of weeks, but the show must go on! A Flicker of a Doubt by Daryl Wood Gerber is the fourth book in the Fairy Garden Mystery, which is always a delightful time for light reading (reviews for books one and two). While this installation may not be my favorite, still a fun series. So without further ado…

From the Publisher:

From Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber, the fourth in an enchantingly whimsical series featuring Courtney Kelly, the owner of a fairy-gardening and tea shop in Carmel, California. It’s a special place brimming with good vibes and the kind of magical assistance its proprietor will need to investigate a shocking murder at a prestigious art show!

Making fairy gardens, and teaching crafters how to do the same, keeps Carmel-by-the-Sea shop owner Courtney Kelly busy—but sometimes she has to make time for a wee bit of detective work . . .

With a theater foundation tea and an art show planned at Violet Vickers’s estate, Courtney is hired to create charming fairy gardens for the event. It’s not so charming, however, when her best friend Meaghan’s ex-boyfriend turns out to be Violet’s latest artistic protégé. Even worse, not long after Meaghan locks horns with him, his body is found in her yard, bludgeoned with an objet d’murder.

There’s a gallery of suspects, from an unstable former flame to an arts and crafts teacher with a sketchy past. But when the cops focus on Meaghan’s business partner, who’s like a protective older brother to her, and discover he also has a secret financial motive, Courtney decides to draw her own conclusions. Fearing they’re missing the forest for the trees, and with some help from Fiona the sleuthing fairy, she hopes to make them see the light . . .

What I Loved:

  • The Murder. Part of what I love about cozy mysteries is the amount of red herrings, misdirects, and potential suspects in these little towns. This installation of the Fairy Garden Mystery set in the enchanting town of Carmel is no different. Everyone is delightful, charming, and it took me forever to figure out the murderer. I was practically racing in the end to confirm my suspicions.
  • The Fairies. One of my biggest complaints about the first book in the series was the lack of real explanation about the fairies, the worldbuild, and how Fiona was the only fairy we really met. As the series has progressed, we have really gotten to knw Fiona, her fairy friends, and fairy hierarchy. I love the explanation of the fairy doors, fairy royalty, and love all the new fairy characters. I especially love seeing the other human characters slowly but surely interact with the fairies.

What Didn’t Work for me:

  • Courtney’s Interrogations. Courtney is the worst kind of cozy sleuth. She is overly nosy and pushy. It is amazing to me that anyone wants to be friends with her or continue to talk to her after her questioning. Courtney is the “suspect everyone but my closest friend” type of amateur sleuth, and it is tiring. It ended up feeling unbelievable.
  • The Cozy Explanations. One of my least favorite aspects of most cozy mysteries is the hyper focus on food, clothing, and eating habits. Gerber is no exception as a writer. Courtney dictates every meal she eats, every time she exercises, and what her clothes are in excruciating detail. It doesn’t help that her obsession with exercising and watching her food is borderline obsessive. I have a hard time staying in the story with this level of detail, and it is frustrating when the overall plot is so engaging.


A Flicker of a Doubt by Daryl Wood Gerber is another great installation of an always fun series. Gerber is a queen of the cozy genre, and while there were some issues, I am always excited to read her books. Three waves for a great book for the beach! Purchase your copy here (in paperback!) and here, and for book one, A Flicker of a Doubt, purchase here to start from the beginning!


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