Sunday, March 26, 2023

A Flicker of a Doubt by Daryl Wood Gerber | Blog Tour with Interview, Excerpt, and Giveaway


A Flicker of a Doubt (A Fairy Garden Mystery) by Daryl Wood Gerber

About A Flicker of a Doubt

A Flicker of a Doubt (A Fairy Garden Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – California
Kensington Cozies (March 28, 2023)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496741277
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496741271
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B6DBQ5CM


Fairies are trending hard, especially when it comes to fairy garden décor in Walmart and Target and on Amazon. The latest installment in the nationally bestselling Daryl Wood Gerber's Fairy Garden mysteries is a perfect read for Laura Childs readers and all fans of whimsy and charm. 

With a theater foundation tea and an art show planned at Violet Vickers’ 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 . . .

About the Author Interview


I'm delighted to welcome Daryl Wood Gerber to the studio today! I have a bunch of nosy questions, Daryl, so let's get started.

When did you catch the writing bug? When I was a girl, I wrote short stories, and I tried to write a Nancy Drew Mystery, but I had a 7th grade teacher who told me I shouldn’t attempt to write, so I hung up my pen. It took me years to find the confidence to try again. When I was acting, I decided to write a screenplay. The class I took with other budding screenwriters really gave me confidence in my voice and helped me understand story structure. 

Besides Author, what other job titles have you held? Actress, singer, dancer, realtor, legal secretary, chef, waitress, and bartender. I started as an actress, and it took me about three years to start earning steady money as one. 

When you’re not working, what fills your time? I love to read, exercise, walk my dog Sparky, golf, swim, and miniature garden. I also enjoy baking. 

If your life were made into a movie, is it a comedy or drama? Who plays you? It’s a dramedy. Julie Roberts would play me. She’s way taller, but she can handle both comedy and drama. Her laugh is as big as mine. And we both smile a lot. But we’d need a younger actress to capture the first and most formative years of my life, in particular from around age seven to twenty-one. There were a lot of emotional challenges for me at that time. 

What are your favorite childhood memories? I loved family vacations in Lake Tahoe. I will always remember the chill of the water, the fires at nice, the barbecues for dinner, the board games we played. 

What advice would you give to your younger self? To not take everything so seriously. Laugh more. 

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you? I would like to say a costume malfunction while on stage, but honestly, nothing is coming to me. I did win “most rejected” for manuscript submissions, which earned me the Queen of Rejection honor for a Sisters in Crime online group. I was pretty red-faced about all the rejection. In fact, I was certain it was the end of my not-yet-budding career. Right after I received the award, I sold my first manuscript. Wow that's some timing.  

What are your greatest achievements? My family, in all aspects. I have a son, stepson, stepdaughter, and nephew — who is like my son. They and their families are all wonderful people with good senses of humor and a good sense of purpose. Their kids and pets are amazing! 

What makes you laugh? I love jokes. I love funny movies. I love puns. I enjoy reading the comics. I laugh a lot! When my husband was alive, he said, “Do you know anyone who laughs as much as we do?” He was great at telling jokes. I also laugh at my dog Sparky. He does some of the silliest, cutest things.  

What are your greatest extravagances? Wine and chocolate and ice cream. 

What's your pet peeve? I don’t appreciate petty people.  Why waste the air space, you know? Stop complaining. If you want something done and done right, you might have to do it yourself. 

Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows. I was scared when I hitchhiked around Ireland by myself. I tell the tale saying it was an adventure, but there were some truly hairy times I’d rather forget. 

What's always in your fridge? Cheese, chocolate, and ice cream. I would expect nothing less from the author of the French Bistro and Cheese Shop mysteries!  

What is your most treasured possession? A diamond necklace from my husband. It was his last gift to me, and I wear it daily. 

What is your favorite movie? TV show? I loved It Happened One Night. Old-style zany, romantic classic. I’m a big fan of I Love Lucy reruns.  Right now, I am really enjoying Truth be Told on Apple TV. And I adore NCIS. Oh, I'm a big NCIS fan myself.  

What is your favorite song, and why? You’re the Best Thing that ever Happened to Me by Gladys Knight. It was my husband’s and my song.  

What did you eat for breakfast? Did you make it yourself? I’m a creature of habit. Daily, I eat a protein milk concoction with blueberries and bananas. I need the protein to get started; otherwise, I fade by ten.  At 10:30, I have a guilty sweet treat, gluten-free, that I baked myself. 

Describe your perfect day. Writing 80,000 words with no typos and no corrections and it’s a perfect book that resonates with hundreds of thousands of people. Ha-ha! A girl can dream. Every author's dream, I imagine! 

Well, that's it for my interrogation. I've really enjoyed being with you today! I'm so glad you stopped by. Readers, please comment if you have any other questions for Daryl.

About the Excerpt


Down by the spring one morning 
Where the shadows still lay deep, 
I found in the heart of a flower 
A tiny fairy asleep. 
~Laura Ingalls Wilder, “The Fairy Dew Drop” 

Slam! Slam-slam-slam! Slam! 

My insides did a jig. I dashed down the hall to the back of Open Your Imagination, dusting my hands off on my denim overalls while wondering what in the world was going on. Fiona, the teensy righteous fairy that appeared to me the day I opened my fairy garden shop, fluttered to my shoulder. Her limbs and gossamer wings were trembling. 

“What’s happening, Courtney?” she managed to squeak out. She hated loud noises. Hated surprises. I didn’t like them, either. 

Pixie, my Ragdoll cat, trailed us. She mewed. 

“Don’t worry, you two,” I said. “I’m sure it’s nothing.” 

I drew to a halt outside the storage room. The door opened and slammed. 

When it opened again, I pressed a hand against it. “Hey! Stop! Meaghan, c’mon.” 

The door opened wide, and Meaghan Brownie gawked at me. Her face was red, her eyes were ablaze with fury, and her curly hair was writhing like wild snakes.  

“What the heck has you so angry?” I asked. I’d sent her to fetch a box of gemstones. I had plenty, so coming up empty wasn’t what was upsetting her. 

“Nicolas!” She huffed. “He texted me. And . . . And . . .” She waggled her cell phone. “Oo-oh!” 

Nicolas was her ex-boyfriend, a temperamental artist. A few months back, she’d asked him to move out while her mother had needed comforting. He’d never returned. 

“Oo-oh,” she repeated, before grabbing one of the Tupperware boxes filled with gemstones and skirting past me. She stalked toward the main showroom. 

Pixie and I followed. Fiona flew above my pal, sprinkling her with a calming silver dust. Fairies couldn’t change human behavior, but they could offer potions that might help the human solve problems. In this case, to find peace.  

“He’s so . . . so . . . ”  

Meaghan was not using her inside voice, but I wasn’t worried about her upsetting our customers. It was early. Nobody was in the shop yet. Not even Joss Timberlake, my right-hand helper. She’d asked for the morning off, so I’d invited Meaghan to help me prepare some items. Why did I need help? Because yesterday Violet Vickers, a wealthy widow who donated to numerous worthy causes, had ordered an additional dozen fairy gardens to be used as centerpieces for the theater foundation tea she was serving on Mother’s Day. Why additional? Because she’d already commissioned me to make a dozen very large, elaborate fairy gardens to be installed when Kelly Landscaping, my father’s company, completed the total redo of her backyard. 

It was May first. I wasn’t hyperventilating. Yet. But I also wasn’t sleeping much. 

“Let’s go to the patio,” I said. “I’ll bring some tea.” 

“I don’t want tea,” Meaghan groused as she breezed out the French doors to the patio, the folds of her white lace skirt wafting behind her.  

The shop’s telephone jangled. I decided not to answer. Whoever was calling would call back. Meaghan, my best friend who I’d met a little over ten years ago when we were sophomores in college, needed me more. I followed her, glancing at Fiona wondering why the calming potion wasn’t working. Fiona, intuiting my question, shook her head.  

“Isn’t it a beautiful morning, Meaghan?” I took the box from her and set it on the workstation table in the learning-the-craft area at the far end of the patio. “Gorgeous, in fact.”  

The fountain was burbling. Sunshine was streaming through the tempered-glass, pyramid-shaped roof. The leaves of the Ficus trees were clean and shiny. I’d already wiped down the wrought-iron tables and chairs and organized all the verdigris baker’s racks of fairy figurines. Plus I’d removed dead leaves from the various decorative fairy gardens. Presentation mattered to me and to my customers.  

Meaghan muttered, “Ugh.” 

“Start at the beginning,” I said. “Nicolas texted you.” 

“Yes.” She plopped onto a bench and rested her elbows on the table. 

“What did he write?” I asked. 

“He wants me back.” 

I opened the box of colorful gemstones and ran my hands through them: hematite, labradorite, amethyst, obsidian, and more. 

“But I don’t want him back,” Meaghan said. 

Fiona landed on the rim of the box. Her eyes widened. “Are they for the fairy doors, Courtney?” 


“They’re pretty.” 

Not only was I making the gardens for Violet, but I had three upcoming fairy garden door classes scheduled. Fairy doors were miniature doors, usually set at the base of a tree, behind which might be a small space where people left notes or wishes for fairies. They could also be installed into a fairy garden pot. 

“I mean, I used to,” Meaghan went on. “But I don’t anymore. We have nothing in common.” Idly, she drew circles on the tabletop with her fingertip. “I did the right thing, don’t you think? I did, didn’t I?” 

Over the course of our friendship, I’d kept my mouth shut. Nicolas and Meaghan had never made sense. She was outgoing and personable; he was quiet, to the point of being morose. Granted, he was a talented artist, and she, as a premier art gallery owner, appreciated his gift, but that was not enough to sustain a healthy relationship. Not in my book, anyway. 

“Did he text anything else?” I asked, not answering her question. 

“No . . .  Yes. That he loved me.” She flopped forward on her arms dramatically. 

Pixie pounced onto the bench and nudged Meaghan’s hip with her nose. 

Meaghan sat up, drew the cat into her lap, and petted her. “You should have seen Ziggy the last time Nicolas contacted me.” Ziggy Foxx, an eccentric gay man in his forties, was Meaghan’s business partner at Flair Gallery. 

Cypress and Ivy Courtyard, where Open Your Imagination was located, boasted a high-end jewelry store, collectibles shop, pet-grooming enterprise, my favorite bakery Sweet Treats, and Flair, Meaghan’s gallery. 

“Ziggy was finalizing a sale of one of Hunter Hock’s items, and when he heard me say Nicolas’s name, he nearly threw Hunter’s art across the room. Hunter was there at the time.” 

Hunter Hock, an in-demand artist in his thirties, was known for small pieces of art. Not as tiny as paintings on almonds or bottle caps or even the insides of lockets. More like three-inch square petite canvases. Many featured landscapes of Carmel-by-the-Sea, my home town and one of the most incredible places on earth. 

“Oh, man, if Hunter could have leaped through the phone receiver” — Meaghan snorted out a laugh — “he would have strangled Nicolas. You know how he likes to protect me.” 

Every man who’d ever met Meaghan had wanted to protect her. Not that she needed it. She was a force to be reckoned with. But there was something about her femininity that brought out the he-man in men. Me? Most men wanted to be my friend. Period. I was the girl-next-door type. Short blond hair, athletic figure. Meaghan towered above me and had curves. 

I said, “I’d bet Hunter also didn’t like seeing Ziggy lose his temper.” 

“Destroy a piece of his art? Oh, the insanity!” Her laugh turned into giggles. Fits of giggles. And then tears. 

I hurried to her and threw my arm around her. “Hey, c’mon. Deep breaths. You’re beyond Nicolas. You have Ziggy.” 

She arched her eyebrow. 

“Okay, you have Hunter,” I joked. 

She sobered. “I don’t have Hunter. He’s a friend.” 

I twirled a finger. “I’ve seen the way he looks at you.” 

“Like this?” She made a googly-eyed face. 

“That’s the spirit!” Fiona spiraled to the roof, did a loop the loop, and returned to Meaghan’s shoulder. “No more crying. What’s done is done.” She caressed my friend’s hair. 

“Thank you, Fiona.” Not everyone could see fairies, and Meaghan had struggled at first, but now, she was quite in tune with them. 

“We move onward and upward,” Fiona added. My intrepid fairy knew what she was talking about. She’d messed up in fairy school, so the queen fairy had booted her from the fairy realm and subjected her to probation. But she was making the most of it. By helping humans solve problems, she would earn her way back into the queen fairy’s good graces — the queen fairy who, until a few months ago, I hadn’t realized was Aurora, the first fairy I’d ever seen; the fairy who had disappeared from my memory when my mother died. 

“When you’re done with your pity party, Meaghan,” I said, “help me sort these stones before we open up.” 

“And then I need to go to Flair.” 

I turned on soothing instrumental music that piped through speakers on the patio, and we worked in companionable silence for an hour, organizing and preparing.  

When Meaghan was ready to leave, she gave me a hug. “Thank you for talking me down from the ledge.” 

“No thanks required. Nicolas wants you, but you don’t want him. All you have to say is no.” 

“No.” Meaghan shook her head from side to side. “No, no, no.” 

“See?” I grinned. “That isn’t too hard.” 

“Until he comes near me and my knees turn to jelly.” 

“You won’t turn to jelly. You’ll be strong. Stalwart. You’ve been seeing the therapist. She’s given you mantras. Repeat those. Over and over.” 

Fiona said, “And if those don’t work, squeeze your eyes shut” — she demonstrated —"and picture what you want out of life.” She popped her eyes open. “What do you want?”  

“A man who thinks I’m wonderful,” Meaghan replied. “A man who doesn’t tear me down. A man who truly loves me for me.” 

I hugged her. “That’s my girl.”  

She bounded to her feet. “Want me to unlatch the Dutch door on my way out?” 

“I’ll do it.” It was time to open. 

I followed her through the showroom. In addition to fairy garden items, we sold a variety of specialty pieces, including tea sets, gardening tools, books about fairies, and wind chimes; fairies enjoyed tinkling sounds. I weaved between display tables to the entrance and swung open the door. I stepped outside and drew in a deep, cleansing breath. “Remember, Meaghan, I’m here if you need me.” 

She jogged up the stairs of the split-level courtyard. “Don’t forget I brought you double-chocolate caramel brownies,” she yelled as she disappeared from view.  

Given her last name, she’d been a brownie maker since she’d learned how to bake. I was lucky enough to reap the rewards. 

I turned to go back inside. 

“Courtney!” a woman called. Violet Vickers exited the silver Rolls Royce coupe she’d parked on the street. 

Inwardly, I moaned. I adored Violet, but what did she need now? I didn’t have more hours in the day.  

“I’m so glad you’re here.” She triggered the car alarm and strode across the sidewalk toward me while smoothing the shawl collar of her lavender jacquard suit. “I tried phoning, but you didn’t answer.”  

“Hi, Violet.” I beckoned her into the shop. “What’s up?” I asked, closing the Dutch door behind us, but opening the top half to let in the fresh air. “I’m getting ready to put the fairy garden centerpieces together this morning. Your big pots are done and all set for delivery.” I’d made the larger-sized pots in my backyard using items in my greenhouse. 

“Lovely,” she said, as she was wont to do. “Has your father seen the big ones?” 

My father, a pragmatist in every sense of the word, didn’t believe in fairies. Opening my fairy garden shop had been a bone of contention between us. But at least he was coming around to acknowledging that I and others did see them. And he’d accepted that Violet expected twelve custom-made pots in her garden. No ifs, ands, or buts. Somehow he, as her landscaper, would make them work with his design. 

“Not yet,” I said, “but he has approved of the plant selections and color of the pottery.” 

“Excellent. What are the themes of the gardens, if I dare ask?”  

“Love, love, love,” I chimed. “As ordered.” 

Though she was pushing seventy, Violet applauded like a jubilant schoolgirl. She’d asked that the fairy gardens reflect love in all its glory. How could I refuse? Fiona, who was turning out to be quite the reader, had advised me from the get-go to focus on the greatest love stories of all time: Romeo and Juliet; Wuthering Heights; Dr. Zhivago; Casablanca. Creating Rick’s Café with its Moroccan décor for the Casablanca-themed garden had been a challenge.    

Violet tapped her chin. “Now then, the reason I needed to see you—” 

Tires screeched outside. A door slammed.  

Fiona flew to my shoulder. “What now?” she asked, quivering with newfound fear. 

The Dutch door burst open, and Nicolas Buley charged in, his dark hair askew, apparent shaving mishaps checked by tissue, and his paint-splattered shirt untucked from his jeans. “Where is she?” 


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

Purchase Links
March 21 – Christy's Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 21 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT
March 21 – The Plain-Spoken Pen – REVIEW, AUTHOR GUEST POST
March 22 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
March 22 – Angel's Guilty Pleasures - SPOTLIGHT
March 22 – I'm Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 22 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 23 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 23 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, RECIPE
March 23 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
March 24 – Books to the Ceiling – SPOTLIGHT & PODCAST
March 24 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
March 24 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
March 24 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW
March 24 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
March 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – AUTHOR GUEST POST
March 25 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
March 25 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
March 26 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
March 26 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 27 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW
March 27 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 27 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee - SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

You can comment as a guest, or with your DisqusFacebookTwitter, or Google account. To register for Disqus, or to post as a guest, click in the Name box under "Sign Up With Disqus."