Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Pleating for Mercy

I was contacted by author Melissa Bourbon Ramirez in March when she asked if I would like to receive an advance copy of her latest book, Pleating for Mercy. She provided a link to her website, where I saw the cover illustration and read the book's intro:

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 Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But soon after she opens Buttons & Bows, a custom dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow begins to feel an inexplicable presence…

One of her first clients is her old 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 hemming a dress. Can Harlow find the real killer—with a little help from beyond?

Dressforms, rolls of fabric, and a sewing machine on the cover? The main character a dressmaker involved in a mystery? How could I say no? Of course I wanted to read this!

The book arrived in early May but I had to put it on hold for a little while due to my then-upcoming trip to North Carolina and Virginia, and job-search activities. I finally was able to start reading it a couple of weeks ago, and then right as I was getting near the end, I left it at my dentist's office and there it sat for a week. Arghh. I picked it up yesterday and finished it last night.

So, how was the book? It was captivating and a very enjoyable read. Ms. Ramirez does an excellent job of weaving together a murder-mystery with our favorite hobby/obsession — sewing! There are varied characters you'll get to know through the author's wonderfully detailed descriptions and you'll still be trying to guess "whodunit" by the last few pages when the mystery is finally solved. As the story unfolds, there's a little love interest for Harlow, some spiritual magic, lots of sewing, and even a number of cultural references only real stitchers will get.

This is a fun read, perfect for vacation or, if you're like me, holed up on your bed turning the pages at 2 AM to find out what happens. I'm looking forward to the next installment in this new series.

Pleating for Mercy will be released on August 2, 2011 and is available for pre-order from Amazon, paperback and Kindle, by clicking here. (I have received no compensation beyond the advance copy.)


  1. Thank you for your review and have added it to my wishlist.

  2. I love mysteries so I will definitely get this book, thanks for the heads up. I did read a sewing related mystery last summer and it was just awful (I immediately got rid of it so I don't remember the title). The author had just enough sewing knowledge to make herself dangerous!

  3. Thanks so much for the review! I've pre-ordered for my Kindle.

  4. Can't wait to read another Misa Ramirez/Melissa Bourbon mystery!!

  5. Oh what fun. And she has a goat on the cover too - you can see by my avatar I love goats.

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  7. Thanks Debbie. This sounds like a fun read.

  8. Ooh, this looks like fun! Will have to add it to my wishlist. I do adore a good mystery, as long as the story line isn't populated with too many "pretty" people.

    I am weirdly picky about this, but mysteries to me must have a cross-section of the population....older people, different shapes and sizes, etc. I don't know why I apply this to mystery and not, say, science fiction but I do. I'm unnecessarily annoyed by books that seem to have their main roles filled by the cast of "Friends."

  9. I love the cover! Thank you for the review - I'm putting the book on my wish list. I've read the Elm Creek Quilts series and have been hoping someone would write a good book (or two or three) for us garment sewers.

  10. I've put this on my wishlist also. But I wish I didn't have to wait. The Kindle has made me even more impatient about books...


  11. I've been waiting for this book and now your review just adds to my anticipation! I can't wait! Hurry up August!


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