In Texas they have a saying, "Go big or go home." Melissa Bourbon (Ramirez) does that in "A Killing Notion". Harlow Cassidy is a dressmaker in the town of Bliss, Texas. She is great-great-great-grand-daughter of the Butch Cassidy. (I was grateful for the family tree at the beginning of the book.) Because of this connection she has a 'gift', the ability to see people in the outfit that will usher in their destiny.
It's prom season in Texas, and all the girls are a-twitter about their 'mums'. The corsage girls used to get from their dates were made of chrysanthemums. Over the years, they have morphed into accessories that can be huge, weighing up to 20-30 pounds and requiring a frame to distribute the weight on the wearer's body. The daughter (Gracie) of Harlow's current love-interest (Will) comes into Harlow's shop, Buttons & Bows, with her boyfriend (Shane). Shane's attention to Gracie is engaging. Unfortunately, at the end of the first chapter, Shane receives news that his father has been killed in an auto accident.
Even worse, Shane becomes prime suspect. Gracie insists Shane is innocent, and Harlow believes likewise. Then, Harlow promises Gracie that she will help prove Shane's innocence. The town's sheriff (Harlow's step-father) and deputy (her step-brother) want none of her 'assistance'. (Isn't that always the way in cozy mysteries?)
There is no shortage of suspects for the crime, as it turns out many people in town (and in nearby Granbury), who could have a motive to want Shane's father dead. One of the more unusual sources of help for Harlow comes in the form of the ghost of her maternal great-grandmother, Loretta Mae. This worked for me, as the subject of the paranormal had already been introduced with Harlow's 'gift'.
Just when we think we have a handle on the story, and Harlow thinks she has a handle on the crime, a new twist appears. This happens several times, enough to keep us enrapt, but not enough to make us dizzy. When your truck (this is set in Texas, after all) rounds the final bend, you will be surprised at the scene on the road in front of you.
"A Killing Notion" is the latest installment in the Magical Dressmaking Mysteries
(Disclaimer: I received a print copy of this book from the author, publisher and Great Escapes Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was offered, requested or received.)
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