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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

A Killing Notion (Magical Dressmaking Mystery, #5)

A Killing Notion - Melissa Bourbon

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.