Pleating for Mercy
Obsidian, Aug 2 2011, $6.99
According to the Cassidy family legend, Butch Cassidy made a wish in an Argentine fountain tossing a gold coin into it. He wished for good things for his descendants and his offspring have been blessed with a magic charm especially Meemaw Harlow’s great grandmother who gets everything she wishes for; her grandmother is a goat whisperer and her mother has the touch with flowers and greenery.
When Meemaw dies, Harlow Jean Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and returns to her hometown of Bliss, Texas where she opens up Buttons and Bows a dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited at birth. Her first customer is Josie who is marrying Nate Kincaid son of the town’s leading family who made a fortune in oil. Josie hires Harlow to design dresses for her and her bridesmaid. Tragedy strikes when one of the bridesmaids’ Nell is murdered in Harlow’s yard after she hears the woman and another person yelling. Meemaw has come back home to Harlow although she cannot see her but makes it plain she wants her great granddaughter to investigate the homicide without placing herself in danger. Harlow sleuths and learns secrets that, with the help of her late relative. she begins to put together the portrait of a killer.
This opening act in the new paranormal amateur sleuth A Dressmaker's Mystery is enchanting as the magic of the Cassidy women is a two edged sword of both a blessing and a curse. Sub-genre fans will adore Harlow who believes the magic passed her by until her relative’s spirit helps her discover the gift. The support cast is made up of normal people making it difficult to determine who amongst them the killer is and what the motive is as Pleating for Mercy is a spirited whodunit.