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A Killing Notion by Melissa Bourbon
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A Killing Notion is the fifth book in the A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series.

It's homecoming time for the high school students in Bliss, TX and Harlow and her beau's daughter are busy making mums for the girls and their dates. In addition, Harlow is also making dresses for Danica and Leslie, young ladies who are part of Helping Hands. An organization that helps girls without parents. At one of gatherings Gracie's boyfriend, Shane Montgomery gets a phone call telling him that his father, Chris, has died in an automobile crash. The police soon determine that the steering had been tampered with and Shane becomes a prime suspect. Both Gracie and Shane's mom, Reba, ask for Harlow's help in finding the guilty party. If Harlow can get answers to why Chris's business partner, Eddy Blake, cell phone was at Chris's house and just where Eddy Blake is, she know she will be able name the killer.

Most all of the characters from the early books are back to lend a helping hand to Harlow. And of course Meemaw is there to watch over Harlow, too.

Looking forward to the next book in the series. ( )
  FredYoder | May 14, 2015 |
A Penguin without a plot hole! Woot!

I've been a fan of this series since it's beginning. Harlow is a dressmaker and a direct descendant of Butch Cassidy. The women in her family are all gifted with a charm, the result of a wish Butch made at the fountain of youth. The charm is different for each, and for Harlow, it manifests through her clothing design. Throw in the ghost of her Meemaw haunting the house, a small town, Texas setting and a romantic interest that runs through the series as a low-key hum (and NO triangles!).

A Killing Notion is a lovely, entertaining read with the right blend of Southern and quirky. (Who knew mums were a 'thing' at Texas high school homecomings?) The entire cast of characters is likeable - no trumped up nemesis, no manufactured hostilities. Ms. Bourbon could do better with secondary characters; I often have to work to keep from mixing them up, but the main players are come-to-life clear.

If I'm being truly objective, I'll admit this should be 3.5 stars, not 4. The plot, while complex, wasn't difficult. I figured out the first major twist to the murder about a dozen or so pages before Harlow did and I figured out the second major twist about half way through the book. This led me to almost knowing who the murderer was - it could only be one of two people and it didn't take me much longer until I was sure which one it was. Even so, the author writes a good story and I was completely invested until the very end.

The story could have been 4.5 stars, but lost that 1/2 star because the author used a trope that irritates me. It's the one where someone comes to Harlow and begs her to "find the killer!" and "save my son from going to jail!" I hate it when they do that! It's too, too contrived.

So, 4 stars because the story was entertaining and held my attention; and if I'm being snarky, for being the first book in ages without noticeable plot holes. ( )
  murderbydeath | Sep 20, 2014 |
I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A magically gifted dressmaker, a small Texas town and a mysterious murder all take center stage in A Killing Notion, the fifth book in Melissa Bourbon’s Magical Dressmaking Mystery series. Quirky characters, an interesting mystery and a light touch of romance kept me turning the pages to discover what would happen next. While the sixth book in the series, I was able to read and enjoy this book without having read any of the previous installments.

Trying to pump up business at Buttons & Bows, her dressmaking business, designer Harlow Cassidy is in the middle of creating homecoming gowns and handmade “mums”. Using her “magical” talents, Harlow has created a beautiful gown for Gracie, her boyfriend Will’s teenaged daughter, when a tragic “accident” claims the life of Gracie’s boyfriend’s dad. Only the “accident” wasn’t really an accident and when Shane, Gracie’s boyfriend, is accused of killing his father, Harlow finds herself pulled into a murder investigation.

Ms. Bourbon does a good job developing Harlow’s character from the first page. We learn about Harlow’s design background, and her brief experiences as a designer in New York, and what brought her back home to Bliss, Texas, the small town where her family has made their home. We learn about the “magical” abilities passed onto each woman in the “Cassidy” family and where their magic originated. We also learn that Harlow, and the ghost of her great grandmother, almost always seem to find themselves pulled into solving nearby mysteries.

The secondary characters, from Harlow’s boyfriend Will, the city architect, to his teenaged daughter Gracie, are well developed and add depth to Harlow’s character and color to the story. We also meet several of Gracie’s friends, other young women Harlow is designing dresses and mums for and of course the family of the man that was murdered. Giving us several different, and conflicting clues, Ms. Bourbon’s mystery plot takes several interesting twists and turns.

Will Harlow be able to prove Shane’s innocence in time for him to take Gracie to the prom? Or will Shane go down for the murder and take Harlow’s relationship with Will and Gracie with him? You’ll have to read A Killing Notion to find out. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of Ms. Bourbon’s work. ( )
  MariaD. | Apr 22, 2014 |
4 STARS

What a fun murder mystery. This is book #5 of A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series. But only one I have read yet. Now I want to go and read the first 4 books of the series sometimes. Harlow Jane Cassidy has charms. Her whole family has different charms.
Harlow's clothes she makes for people make their dreams come true. Harlow even has a ghost who is still a matchmaker.

Harlow is busy getting ready for Homecoming. She is making a couple of dresses and lots of Mums for it. I had never heard of tradition of mums for proms there in Texas. They are big and lots of ribbons and trinkets on them. Can be 30lbs and ribbons can go length of dress.

Harlow owns Buttons & Bows dressmaking. She is engaged to Will. She has helped solve murders before. Now she is asked to help again.

Will's daughter Grace boyfriend Shane has been accused for murdering his father. Harlow does not believe he is guilty.

Some of the secrets I guessed at before they were revealed in the book. Others I had no clues about.

The characters are likeable. They are well developed and seem real.

A Killing Notion does stand on its own. But I do think it would be better if you have read the other books in the series. At least that is what I am guessing. I want to know more about there pasts that have been revealed in previous books. Like how Harlow's grandmother set her up with Will while she was a ghost.

The pace was good, A little heavy on the clothes descriptions that some might not like.

I was given this ebook to read and in return agreed to give honest review and be part of its blog tour. ( )
  rhonda1111 | Apr 10, 2014 |
Another great book in this series. ( )
  nlb1050 | Apr 3, 2014 |
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Harlow is doing everything she can to expand her dressmaking business, Buttons & Bows--without letting clients know about her secret charm. When she has a chance to create homecoming dresses with a local charity and handmade mums for several high school girls--including Gracie, whose father, Will, has mended Harlow's heart--she is ready to use her magical talents for a great cause. But when Gracie's date for the dance is accused of murder, Harlow knows things won't be back on course until she helps Gracie clear the football player's name. If Harlow can't patch up this mess before the big game, her business and her love life might be permanently benched.… (more)

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