Book Review: A FITTING END by Melissa Bourbon

Series: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery, #2
Publisher: Signet
Released: February 7, 2012
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Business is booming at Harlow Jane Cassidy’s custom dressmaking boutique – even with her great-grandmother’s ghost hanging around the shop. But when a local golf pro is found stabbed with dressmaking shears, the new town deputy suspects Harlow. Now she has to clear her name before the next outfit she designs is a prison jumpsuit…


Miss Harlow Jane Cassidy, once a New York fashion designer, is now the proud owner of Buttons and Bows, a unique dressmaking shop in Bliss, Texas. Thanks to a magical wish made by her great-great-great grandfather, Butch Cassidy (yep, that Butch Cassidy!), all of the women in the family are blessed with a special “gift.” While her grandmother is a goat charmer, and her mom has a powerful green thumb, Harlow has the ability to sew magic into the garments she makes, giving the wearer a little supernatural help.

In A FITTING END, the town of Bliss is in a tizzy over the upcoming Margaret Moffette Lea Pageant and Ball, and Harlow has been hired to make the gown for Libby Allen, the granddaughter of Senator and Mrs. Jebediah James. Things go terribly wrong when the golf pro is murdered at the country club where the event will be held, and evidence points to Mrs. James (Zinnia) as the murderer. Harlow can sense that Zinnia is innocent, so while her client is being held in the county jail, she does some investigating of her own. What she discovers is that the people of Bliss, Texas, have more secrets than you can shake a stick at, and someone is willing to commit murder to keep them buried.

I fell in love with this series after reading the first book, PLEATING FOR MERCY, and the follow up, A FITTING END, was equally enjoyable. We learn more about the Cassidy family tree and the magical gifts the women possess. The ghostly presence of great-grandmother Meemaw joins the cast again, and she’s gaining strength for helping out and for some mischief, too. The mystery was well written; it kept me guessing until the end. I’m looking forward to seeing how the new discoveries in this book play out in the next installment. This was a great read, and I’d definitely recommend it to fans of cozy mysteries with a touch of the paranormal.

Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: PLEATING FOR MERCY By Melissa Bourbon

Series: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery, #1
Publisher: Signet
Released: August 2, 2011
Source: Review copy from publisher

When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But when she opens a dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow senses an inexplicable “presence”. Her old friend Josie orders a gown for her upcoming wedding, but when Josie’s boss turns up dead, Harlow has to find the killer-with a little help from beyond.


Harlow’s great-great-great grandfather was the infamous Butch Cassidy, and since his time, all of the Cassidy women have been blessed with a magical ability. When Harlow inherits her great grandmother’s farmhouse, she gives up her career as a fashion designer in New York City and moves home to Bliss, Texas. Though not certain what her “special gift” is yet, Harlow knows that she has an amazing talent for dressmaking.

Harlow turns the first floor of her farmhouse into a custom dressmaking boutique. Her first customer is soon-to-be bride Josie, a childhood friend marrying into the town’s oldest and richest families. Designing dresses for the wedding party would be a huge boost for her business, but the dream quickly turns into a nightmare when Josie’s boss is found murdered in Harlow’s front yard. With a little ghostly assistance from her dearly departed great grandmother, Harlow sets out to find the killer and save Josie’s wedding.

PLEATING FOR MERCY is a fantastic first book in a new cozy mystery series by Melissa Bourbon. I was quickly absorbed in the book and did not want to put it down! It was a nice blend of mystery, a little romance (more Will, please!), and the supernatural, but the mystery itself took center stage. The plot was fast-paced with many twists along the way. The cast of characters was large, but each character was memorable. I loved the dialogue between them, especially the Southernisms. Though I’m not into it myself, I found the descriptions of sewing and dress design very interesting, and they were woven nicely into the story. This book will be especially appealing to those who are handy with the needle and thread. Highly recommended!

Rating: 4½ Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Reviews: DEADLY PATTERNS by Melissa Bourbon

Series: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery, #3
Publisher: Signet
Released: October 2, 2012
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★¾

Bliss, Texas, is gearing up for its annual Winter Wonderland festival, but when a mysterious Scrooge ends the merriment with murder, it’ll take more than a ghost from Christmas past to set things right.

Designing a holiday fashion show set in the town’s most prominent historic mansion seems like a job tailor made for dressmaker Harlow Jane Cassidy. But with the mansion’s restoration still in progress and threatening weather on the horizon, she’s feeling on pins and needles more than reveling in holiday cheer.

Having volunteered to play Santa in this year’s festival, Dan Lee Chrisson was ready to move on after his divorce -until Bliss became his final resting place. Discovering his body puts Harlow at the scene of the crime. She’ll need plenty of help from friends and even her late great-grandmother’s spirited sleuthing if she’s to have a ghost of a chance of catching a killer who’s just jumped to the top of the naughty list…

DEADLY PATTERNS is another fun installment in the Magical Dressmaking Mystery series. Christmas is coming to the small town of Bliss, Texas, and with it the Winter Wonderland festival. Dressmaker Harlow Jane Cassidy has been put in charge of the fashion show, which is being held in the newly renovated Denison Mansion. Preparations for the event are rolling along until the man hired to play Santa winds up dead, the victim of foul play.

After some investigating, Harlow finds out that this particular Santa was on several people’s naughty list, and perhaps he wanted in the old Denison House for a reason other than spreading holiday cheer. With a little encouragement from her deceased great-grandmother’s ghost, Harlow sets out to solve the Santa murder mystery and have the fashion show set to go on time.

This is one of my favorite new cozy mystery series, so I can’t miss a book. I love visiting Bliss, Texas, and Harlow is a very interesting and likable main character. In addition to the mystery, the story also delves deeper into the Cassidy family tree. It did get confusing remembering who was related to whom and how, all the way back to Butch Cassidy himself, but luckily there’s a family tree chart at the back of the book.

I would probably recommend reading the prior two books in the series first, just because Harlow has a complex family history and it would help to know the backstory. Fans of cozy mysteries with a little romance and a little magic are sure to be pleased.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.