Title: Knocked Scentsless (A Doused to Death series #1)
Author: Langley Gray
Published on: 23 August 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Nati Butler is a 39-year-old divorcee whose career has come to a standstill and is currently squatting in the loft above her empty storefront in a tiny mountain town in Washington. After a course on perfumery from one of the famous colleges in Paris, Nati began her career as a… um, she met Garrett and well, love came first, career second. She was let go of her job and when she came home she found her husband full-monty with his ex-girlfriend. Life certainly gave Nati a fruit basket!
Fast Forward to the present, Nati is in a sleepy little town in Washington, working as a barista in a local café and planning to open a perfume store. Well, it’s been six months since the storefront is empty – Nati is still trying to make the ‘perfect scent.’
Old Man Joe arrives with his dog Salvador at the café minutes before Nati opens the door. On this fateful day, Joe picks up a fight with Nati and asks her to either open the store soon or face the consequences. It so happens that Old Man Joe ‘faced the consequence’ that same day when the Dog Olympics began. He was found dead in a barn – murdered.
First things first, the protagonist’s name is not mentioned till the second chapter. I know readers have their own opinions on what works for them and what doesn’t. But in my opinion, not mentioning the protagonist’s name until the ‘fight’ gave the story an extra dash of curiosity/suspense.
As the Dog Olympics begins, Joe and Salvador are nowhere to be seen. Soon, Nati spots Salvador running across the field, with a piece of bloody cloth in his mouth. The local cop arrives and on visiting the barn from which Salvador was spotted running, they find Old Man Joe – lying in a pool of blood.
Muriel, Joe’s wife is not very sad on hearing the news of her husband’s murder. Nati suspects if the wife had a role to play in killing Joe. Owen, the handsome firefighter is friendly with Nati. When he learns Nati wants to solve the case and prove her innocence, he’s more than ready to help her out. Not to forget, nobody wants to take in Salvador soon after Joe’s body is discovered. So, Nati decides to ‘adopt’ Sal until Muriel is ready to take him back.
Nati wonders if she can create the ‘scent of the killer’ – Sal is the only witness to the crime and the ‘scent of the killer’ might take Nati and Owen to the… killer!
There are plenty of red-herrings throughout the story. Also, I haven’t come across a series where the amateur sleuth decides to catch the perp red-handed through ‘scents.’
Knocked Scentsless is the first book in this series but it didn’t like one. Just the perfect mix of character introduction and mystery made Knocked Scentsless by Langley Gray an entertaining and enjoyable read. The identity of the perp was unexpected. We also have a dash of romance as the story ends – her previous relationship has made her wary of choosing love over career but looks like the universe has other plans in mind…
If you are looking for a unique and entertaining cozy mystery, you might want to give this book a try.