Title: Essentials of Murder
Author: Kim Davis
Series: Aromatherapy Apothecary Cozy Mysteries #1
Publisher: Kindred Ink Press
Release Date: September 8, 2021
Pages: 234
Book Source: ARC

“Following a scandal that chased her from San Francisco, Carissa Carmichael struggles to find acceptance in her small Southern California hometown as she opens her aromatherapy and reflexology shop.

When she finds a man murdered in her distilling room, Carissa becomes the main suspect, especially when her fingerprints are found on the murder weapon. Despite her father’s position as Oak Creek Valley’s chief of police, most townspeople assume she’s guilty—including the new leading detective.

Refusing to run again, Carissa knows she must prove her innocence to save her shop and her family’s reputation. With suspects acting as slippery as the essential oils she distills, it’s up to Carissa to apply pressure and sniff out the truth before it’s too late.” – Amazon

Kim’s Review

I love Kim Davis’s Cupcake Catering Mysteries, but I was a bit learey to read Essentials of Murder, the first in her new Aromatherapy Apothecary Cozy Mysteries since I am a certified aromatherapist working towards becoming a clinical aromatherapist and I was concerned there would be a bunch of misinformation. Happily that was not the case… although since I read an ARC I’m hoping that there will be a bit more information regarding essential oils at the end of the released book. I’ll add my input at the end of the review about the oils, but first I’ll review the book!

Davis proves once again that she knows how to write cozy mysteries. Even though the series is just starting, her characters are well developed and already feel like friends I’ll want to come and hang out with again. Carissa makes some new friends around town and I’m excited to read more about them in future books. And the dynamic between Carissa and her father, the chief of police, was excellent. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a series with so much disdain for a police officer, or in this case, the lead detective on the case, but in the end I was content with the outcome. It just kind of stuck out to me since all the rest of the characters are so nice.

The descriptions of the town and stores were fun and engaging, and would be a place I would love to visit. The mystery itself was interesting, and although I had some of the whodunnit, it wasn’t until all was revealed that I saw I only had part of it. Another great cozy mystery series by Davis, and I’m already looking forward to the next one.

Now for the essential oil parts. Like I mentioned, Davis did a very good job, but I do want to point out a few things in case they are not mentioned after the story.

Do not put essential oils directly onto your skin, always use a carrier oil like coconut oil, olive oil, or jojoba. If you put essential oils directly onto your skin, over time you may experience allergic contact dermatitis. Allergic contact dermatitis is the most common allergic reaction to essential oils. It occurs when you become sensitized to an allergen and have a reaction after a subsequent exposure.

Do not ingest essential oils unless you are under the supervision of a certified/clinical aromatherapist. If you want to add flavoring to your cooking, baked goods, or drinks use the actual herb/flower or a food grade extract instead.

Bergamot (and many citrus oils) is a photosensitive oil, which means that it can cause a serious reaction if you apply them topically and then expose your skin to the sun’s UV rays. If you choose to use a photosensitive essential oil, avoid exposing your skin to UV rays for at least 12 hours. Bergamot is wonderful in diffusers and inhalers, but be careful when applying to your skin.

Some essential oils have a very strong aroma, Ylang Ylang being one of them. I find that one drop of Ylang Ylang is more than enough when making bath salts or lotions. The first time I used it in a bath before I had any training, I followed the recipe off of a random website that said to add five drops and I instantly got a headache when I sat in the tub. The best way to make any item with essential oils is to add each one, one drop at a time and smell after each drop.

For even more information and safe essential oil recipes I highly recommend Aromahead Institute.

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