Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Pleating for Mercy

Pleating for Mercy (Dressmaker Mystery - Book 1) by Melissa Bourban

Publication Date: August 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 320pp
ISBN-13: 9780451234360

(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Melissa Bourbon on the WEB: website, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from
Pleating for Mercy
Book Trailer:


All the Cassidy women possess special gifts. Harlow Jane Cassidy's is creating beautiful dresses. But she's about to discover secrets in her own family and another gift - one that can reach beyond the grave...

When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But soon after opening a custom dressmaking boutique in the old farmhouse she inherited. Harlow begins to feel an inexplicable presence...

One of her first clients is her childhood friend Josie, who needs a gown for her upcoming wedding. But when Josie's boss turns up dead, it starts to look as if the bride-to-be may be wearing handcuffs instead of a veil. Suddenly, Josie needs a lot more from Harlow than the perfect dress. Can Harlow find the real killer - with a little help from beyond?


Melissa Bourbon brings readers the first in a new series with her latest release, Pleating for Mercy. The Dressmaker's Mystery series will appeal to not only cozy mystery fans, but sewers and seamstresses as well as light paranormal readers. With a quirky cast of characters and a well thought out plot, Bourbon gives readers a novel that will have them in stitches with all of the humor instilled into it. A great end of the summer mystery!

Harlow Jane Cassidy is a descendant to the famous outlaw Butch Cassidy. The women in Harlow's family have always possessed special gifts. Her grandmother was a goat whisperer and her mother has a green thumb that's hard to miss. Harlow is sad that the magical gifts her family is known for have somehow skipped her, but she's still a fantastic fashion designer and dressmaker in Manhattan. When Harlow's great-grandmother dies, leaving her the family farmhouse, Harlow decides it's time for a change and returns to Bliss, Texas to set up her own dressmakers boutique. Her first client is a childhood friend in a pickle. She needs a wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses in a hurry, but when the Maid of Honor ends up dead, it's up to Harlow to figure out whodunit. With a little help from beyond the grave and the realization of her new gift, Harlow is on the case!

Pleating for Mercy is the first in a new cozy mystery series that fans are sure to enjoy. This book starts off with an interesting connection to the outlaw Butch Cassidy and gives insight into what happened after he and the Sundance Kid rode off into the sunset. I liked the playful idea and thought it was great touch for this series. I also liked the fact that the writer infuses a hint of the paranormal into the series, by giving the Cassidy women magical gifts. Harlow's gift has a lot of potential as well. Being able to speak to her great-grandmother to help solve crimes is an interesting approach and fits well with the cozy sub-genre. I look forward to seeing where the writer takes this aspect of the book.

One of the things that I really liked about this book, was the light and humorous attitude the author takes. Even though the book is a murder mystery readers are going to have a lot of fun learning more about the quirky and fun Cassidy clan. Using comic relief to lighten the mood is a common tool employed in cozy mysteries, but I think this one takes it to a new height. The overall tone of the book is still mysterious, but it is not heavy and gore laden as can happen sometimes in mainstream mysteries and thrillers. I thought the author did a great job of using humor and giving the reader a smile here and there.

Harlow is such an interesting character. I liked the fact that she was fashion designer. My daughter also aspires to the same career choice. Harlow is intelligent and a bit whimsical which I think is always important when you have a character with artistic flair. I loved the way she interacted with her family and the townspeople of Bliss. The theme of dressmaking and sewing will appeal to so many readers. I loved the tips in back and found them to be very accurate. Overall I thought Harlow started out well as an amateur sleuth though I was a little confused as to why she slipped into that pattern. 

I enjoyed this book a lot and felt it was a great first book in a series and sets readers up well for what's to come. I think this book will appeal to a lot of different types of readers and have a broad fan base. Melissa Bourbon has created a really good back story and the mystery itself was cunning and kept me on my toes as I was reading. At first I didn't think there were too many suspects and then all the sudden they were coming out of the woodwork! I liked the way Bourbon gives the reader little hints along the way as to who the killer might be and when I thought about it after I finished the book I had one of those, "I should have known" moments. But I didn't figure it out too quickly which I liked.

Pleating for Mercy is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas.  She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.

She is the marketing director at Entangled Publishing, is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur, A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox and two romantic suspense novels to be released in 2012.


The publisher has offered one copy of Melissa Boubon's book, Pleating for Mercy to one lucky winner from Debbie's Book Bag!

~ You must be a Google Friend Connect follower to participate.
~ US addresses only! (Publisher Request)
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST Sept. 15th.

1. Please leave a comment in appreciation to the author on THIS post.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


StephTheBookworm said...

LOL I love the title, it's so witty!

Myra C said...

I enjoy reading her,Lola Cruz Mystery series and this one sounds just a fun!

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds like a fun story.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Theresa N. said...

I should be finishing a sewing project now. :)
Theresa N

Anonymous said...

This book sounds exactly like what I love to read. Have read one of the Lola Cruz stories and loved it so no reason not to love this too.

nlb 1050@

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway. Your book sounds really great. I can't wait to read it.

lag123 said...

I am a sewer and I would love to start this series!

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Karen B said...

Your sewing series sounds intriguing - put me down as an interested reader!

Gloria Walshver said...

sounds like a book I'd read.

In Julie's Opinion said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this book - it sounds like a really great read :)

Carol N Wong said...

Think I will be hooked for another series. Great that it is about sewing and I sure do love light and humerous cozies!


ann said...

I like sewing and this book sounds great

amhengst at verizon dot net

mamabunny13 said...

Sounds like a good one!
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

holdenj said...

I enjoyed Lola very much...hope to hear if there will be more!?

Pleating looks like a cozy that I would love to read. Thanks and all the best to Melissa on her new series.

Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a really good story. I'd love to read it.


Dolly said...

Being both a 'cozy' fan, and a sewing fan, this sounds really fun - love it!

jcsites2002 at hotmail dot com