Sunday, October 13, 2013

PLEATING FOR MERCY by Melissa Bourbon

Publisher:   Signet

Date published:   August 2., 2011
ISBN 978-0451234360
Genre:   Cozy Mystery
Book format: Paperback
Obtained via:  Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina

Harlow Jane Cassidy always meant to return home to Bliss, Texas but never quite got around to it. With a super career in fashion in New York it seemed Bliss held nothing for her. Well, nothing but her mom, grandmother and great grandmother as well as a rich family history. You see, she is the great, great, great and maybe another great, granddaughter of Butch Cassidy.  Yes, that Butch Cassidy. And more than the legend of he and Sundance, he left a charm, a special charm for each of his female descendants. Harlow’s grandmother is the goat whisperer, her mother encourages plants to grow—sometimes out of control and Harlow…well she hasn’t figured out yet just what her charm is. In fact she often wonders of maybe the gift has appeared for the last Cassidy and it has ended with her mother.

But here she is, not because she decided it was time to come home, but because her great grandmother, Meemaw, died long before Harlow was ready to tell her goodbye. Now she lives in the house deeded to her and has opened up her own design and clothing store, Buttons and Bows. Harlow is barely in business before one of her childhood friends, Josie Sandoval, arrives at the shop asking Harlow to design and sew not only her bridal gown but those of her entire wedding party. Well the women anyway. In two weeks.

Not one to back away from a challenge, especially when a friend’s happiness is at stake, Harlow sets about creating those magical gowns. That would be magical in more ways than one. But obstacles begin turning up in her path including a rather handsome handyman who isn’t a handyman named Will and, well, a dead maid of honor. It’s now up to Cassidy to prove that the bride didn’t do the deed.

Melissa Bourbon is a new author to me and her Magical Dressmaking series seems to be off to a good start with PLEATING FOR MERCY. I’m finding more and more I enjoy cozy mysteries set in the south or southwest. There is just something so very charming about the characters and their phrases. Harlow and her family are no exception. Even though we do not meet Meemaw in person I enjoyed the character, such as she was, through Harlow’s conversations and musings with her great grandmother.

I enjoyed how Harlow came to terms with her return to Bliss and the position she finds herself in not only in designing and sewing the wedding gowns in short order, but living up to Meemaw’s hopes and expectations and digging in to solve the murder that happens on her very doorstep.

While there are quite a number of characters, especially the number in the groom’s family, once I caught the rhythm of the story they were easy to follow.  There was a bit of a redundancy in reminding the reader that Meemaw was dead and after a bit the name did wear on me. There was one point about half way through when I wondered if perhaps the author had momentarily lost her way. The ending, however, was a total surprise, a very pleasant one, when it came down to why Nell, the maid of honor was killed. Except for the charm part of the story I didn’t see why there was a need to include the Butch Cassidy thread.  It could have more easily been a distant relative and would have been a better read without mentioning him. The mystery stood on its own quite nicely without his bit in the book.

I’m looking forward to seeing where Ms. Bourbon goes with this series—it has a lot of potential for some great stories.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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