Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Killing Notion

Author:  Melissa Bourbon
Genre:  Mystery

Four Stars
Harlow Jane Cassidy is swamped with homecoming couture requests.  If only she didn't have to help solve a murder, she might gets the gowns off the dress forms...
Harlow is doing everything she can to expand her dressmaking business, Buttons & Bows-without letting clients know about her secret charm.  When she has a chance to create homecoming dresses with a local charity and handmade mums for several high school girls-including Gracie, whose father, Will, has mended Harlow's heart-she is ready to use her magical talents for a great cause.
But when Gracie's date for the dance is accused of murder, Harlow knows things won't be back on course until she helps Gracie clear the football player's name.  If Harlow can't patch up this mess before the big game, her business and her love life might be permanently benched.  (From the back cover).
Harlow Jane Cassidy is a descendant of Butch Cassidy - but, as the author should know, Butch Cassidy was an alias, and his real name was Robert Leroy Parker, so any descendants he would have would also have the surname of Parker.  This would be tantamount to the Sundance Kid's decendants having their last name as "Kid".  (Just because he decided to call himself Cassidy doesn't mean it was his legal name, nor would it be the legal name of any descendants).  That being said, and the only thing I disliked about the book, on the whole it was an enjoyable read.
Harlow sews for a living.  She has a "charm," as all the Cassidy women do (although each has a different one); and her charm is the fact that when she makes a garment for someone, their deepest desire seems to come true.  Therefore, when someone wears one of her creations, whatever they want to occur surely will, whether it be good or bad.  She is involved in making dresses for some of the girls attending the homecoming dance in conjunction with Helping Hands, a group that gives girls who would have no chance to attend otherwise their dresses and accessories. 
I should also mention the fact that Harlow has a resident ghost, Loretta Mae, who is her 'meemaw;' since she does figure quite prominently in the story, helping Harlow with her designs and also trying her ghostly best to give her advice, even if it does manifest in mainly swirling air.
Harlow's boyfriend is Will Flores.  His daughter Gracie is a descendant also, and is learning to sew under Harlow's tutelage.  Gracie is attempting to make her own dress, and proceeding quite well.  However, when Gracie's boyfriend, Shane, is accused of killing his own father, both Gracie and Shane's mother, Reba, beg Harlow to help find the real killer.  Even though Will wants her to stay out of the investigation, she knows she must help regardless.
This is where it gets sticky.  Harlow's stepfather is the sheriff, and her stepbrother Gavin is deputy.  She has a love-hate relationship with Gavin, tries to avoid him at all costs, and knows he will be livid if he finds out she is investigating.  However, this doesn't stop her in the least.  Her investigation into the murder not only uncovers deep secrets held by more than one person, it takes her to a town less than an hour away where she finds even more secrets, and more suspects.  Soon her suspect list is beginning to resemble a Christmas naughty list.
There are plenty of red herrings, but also plenty of clues that eventually tie into one another and you will have that 'aha' moment, likely around the same time as Harlow.  I highly recommend this and suggest you begin with the first book in the series, Pleating for Mercy.

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