Murder Makes Scents,

Hey guys,

How are things going wherever you are in the world? This year is getting tiresome, I don’t mind admitting.

Today’s review is for another cozy mystery, this one by Christin Brecher and titled Murder Makes Scents. Look, it’s a cozy mystery – just by the title, we know it’s gonna be a murder mystery that in some way or another involves perfume. I am not here for a Bourne-style mystery-thriller.

In saying that, it took me a while to get into this one, and I have to admit it isn’t my favourite cozy mystery ever. One of the crucial plot points, which is how a particular code is hidden (don’t worry, no spoilers) is just a bit beyond the believable for me. Like, I know that books like these aren’t generally beholden to maintaining utmost believability, but….this one stretched it for me, it really did.

It doesn’t help that espionage and intelligence as sorta my wheelhouse as an academic, so there was just a whole lot of raised eyebrow and cynicism for me from the get-go; in my defence, when I requested this (yes, this is a review copy), I didn’t know it was going to lean heavily into an espionage-related plot line. I honestly would have avoided it, because things like that start to feel like work for me, real quick.

I will say that I kind of like that fact that the protagonist of this book is, of all things, a candlemaker. Legitimately. Her candles actually sound really nice, too, which is cool. It’s different, you know? I don’t think I’ve ever read another book where the main character made candles for a living.

The….well, I suppose the ‘action’ sequences in the book were fairly well done, honestly. I use air quotes because this is a cozy mystery, so action sequences are still fairly staid compared to more hard crime/thriller novels. I was incredibly annoyed with the protagonist throughout her efforts at mystery solving, but in the way where you keep reading because the writing is good, not because it’s bad. It felt a bit like when you’re watching a tv show or film for the first time, and you watch it with one eye closed and half turned away because you want to know what’s happening but you can’t bring yourself to look at it head-on.

The author has a nice way of examining all the identified ‘suspects’ without being too leading, though it is immediately fairly apparent what is happening. The main character, who I realize I haven’t named yet but is called Stella Wright, is a rather impetuous soul – and yes, this does land her in a bit of strife more often than not. This is a characteristic that I often find very frustrating in any fictional character, so my not being particularly fond of this book may stem from that pet peeve more than anything.

All things considered, this is a well written cozy mystery. I do think that many people would enjoy it, and maybe I might even give it another go at some point in the future, when I am in a better mood generally speaking! For now, though, while this was an alright read, it hasn’t been one of my favourites.


Image credit: publisher image from the publisher website.

Disclaimer: I was provided an electronic copy through Netgalley in exchange for a review. As always, the provenance of a title has no impact on my opinion of the work itself.

Categories: Mystery

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