Pleating for Mercy by Melissa Bourbon, who also writes as Melissa Bourbon Ramirez and Misa Ramirez, is a fun cozy mystery with a hint of the paranormal and is the first book in the Magical Dressmaking Mystery series. Pleating for Mercy had good pacing and was a fast read but there was just a little too much going on in the book.
Women in the Cassidy family each have a special "gift" that is just a little supernatural. Harlow believes that she is the first in the family to not inherit such a gift but it is clear throughout the book that she did get one and just doesn't recognize it for what it is. Harlow was a good character - talented, smart, loyal, and interesting. While I have no ability to sew even a button on a shirt let alone create an entire piece of clothing, it was neat to read about the art of sewing and creating clothing.
Will, the handyman and apparent attempt at a love interest, was rather strange and frankly, kind of rude to Harlow most of the time. He wasn't really a handyman and yet he agreed to be one for the Cassidy women. The love interest bit didn't really work for me but perhaps as a set up for a love story down the road, it could be built into something believable.
The rest of the supporting characters were excellent. There were a good group of them, with each one having a different, clear personality but not too many so as to be unable to keep them all straight. From political personalities to teenage girls and everything in between, these characters really made Pleating for Mercy work.
As it is a mystery, I have to say that I had not figured out who the killer was until Bourbon made the reveal in the book so points for that. Pleating for Mercy needed a little work to be great but I will be reading the second book in series because it was interesting and fun.
When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But when she opens a dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow senses an inexplicable “presence”. Her old friend Josie orders a gown for her upcoming wedding, but when Josie’s boss turns up dead, Harlow has to find the killer-with a little help from beyond.