Friday, February 22, 2019

Beware of The Little Black Dress! It May be Murder! According to Debra Sennefelder...

Her shop. That still sounded weird to her. She never thought in a million years she’d own a business, much less a consignment shop. Yet, there she was. Bernadette turned and caught Kelly staring. Not cool, Kell. Bernadette probably thought Kelly was some kind of stalker. Time to act like the professional she was supposed to be. Kelly smiled as she set forward to introduce herself. She extended her hand. Hopefully, Bernadette would receive her better than Irene Singer did earlier. “Hello, I’m —”
“Kelly Quinn.” Bernadette shook Kelly’s hand. Her grip was firm. “Very nice to meet you.” Her dark eyes with flecks of gold held Kelly’s gaze. “I’m sorry for your loss. Your grandmother is at peace now. She wants you to know that. She’s…she’s proud of you and your decision.”
Her granny was proud of her? All the weight that had been crushing Kelly’s shoulders eased up for a moment. Her granny was proud of her. Wait. Did Bernadette just read her? 
“I see you two introduced yourselves.” Liv returned with an armful of clothing. “Carly wants me to hold these for her while she checks out the back room.” Kelly nodded absently. She was entranced by Bernadette, who still held on to her hand. “Passing over to the other side is often a welcome relief for people.” Bernadette’s voice was soothing and confident. 
“Would you like to try the dress on?” Liv asked Bernadette, gesturing to the garment draped over the psychic’s arm. 
Bernadette blinked. “Oh, yes.” She let go of Kelly’s hand and gave Liv the dress. “I was immediately drawn to it.” 
“The dressing room is right there.” Liv turned and walked just a few feet to pull back a curtain and hung the dress in the small space outfitted with a mirror and a stool. 
Bernadette followed and stepped into the dressing room. She pulled the curtain closed. Liv returned to Kelly’s side. 
“Cat got your tongue?” 
“What? No.” 
“Don’t tell me you’re falling for her routine? Lucky Cove is small and people talk. Especially about your granny. There’s nothing she can tell you she couldn’t have learned from the gossip mill.” Kelly wouldn’t agree that she was falling for Bernadette’s routine, but she was curious...

The dressing room curtain swept back, and Bernadette stepped out wearing the black dress. Kelly struggled to find a word to describe how amazing Bernadette looked, because she was blown away. Stunning was the first word that popped into Kelly’s head. Bernadette had pulled her long hair up into a messy bun to show off the scalloped eyelash-trimmed lace bateau neckline, which showcased her elongated neck. The bodice and skirt of the dress, intricately sewn pieces of fabric and lace, skimmed her lean torso and hugged her hips, and the scalloped lace hem gave a tease of her long legs.
Kelly stepped forward. “It’s beautiful on you.” 
“Kelly’s right,” Liv agreed. “Exquisite. The dress is meant for you,” 
Pepper said. “I can’t see how you wouldn’t want to buy this dress. If it looked that good on me, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.” 
Kelly wasn’t trying for a hard sell. She really meant the compliment. Though, Bernadette didn’t look as excited about the dress as Kelly felt. Bernadette’s face should have been all lit up. Women knew when they looked darn good in a dress. Heck, Kelly had done her fair share of happy dances when she’d found a dress her body rocked. But not Bernadette. The expression on her face was void of any emotion. 
“If I were twenty years younger, I’d buy the dress.” Pepper laughed.
Both Kelly and Liv knew Pepper meant thirty years younger, but what woman didn’t want to shave a decade or two off? 
“You don’t like it?” Kelly’s brows furrowed. Bernadette hadn’t moved since coming out of the changing room. She stood there as if frozen in place. 
“We’ll find you another dress,” Pepper suggested. 
Bernadette shook her head and then shut her eyes. She swayed as she dragged in a deep breath. “There’s something wrong. Wrong with this dress.” Kelly, Liv, and Pepper exchanged looks. There wasn’t anything wrong with the dress. It was perfect. “I feel it. It’s happening far away.” Bernadette’s soft and lyrical voice captivated them.
“If she starts to levitate, I’m outta here,” Pepper quipped. 
“I’ll be right behind you,” Liv agreed. 
Bernadette’s hand flew up and pressed against her chest. And her eyes opened suddenly; her gaze was set dead ahead. “There’s a man. I see a man. He’s far away.” 
Kelly, Liv, and Pepper looked around the shop. There weren’t any men. In unison, they asked, “Where?” A chill skittered along Kelly’s spine. This was getting weird. 
“What’s going on?” she whispered to Liv, who replied with a simple shrug. 
“Do you think we should call someone?” Pepper asked. 
“Who?” Kelly looked around, and customers started to turn their attention to the sideshow playing out in front of the dressing room. 
This wasn’t good for business. 
“An ambulance,” Liv suggested. “Let’s just get her changed out of that dress and out of the store.” 
Kelly stepped forward and stopped when Bernadette stretched out her arm, her palm facing Kelly. 
“No! No! No!” A look of stark panic flashed in Bernadette’s eyes just before she screamed, “He’s dead,” and then she collapsed to the floor.

Finding this on the wall at Reviewers Roundup, i was struck by this being a new mystery series...and sometimes I buy a book just because a cat sits on the front cover! LOL There will be many who are interested in this--Chick Lit Lovers...those who are interested in fashion (and reselling name brand clothes) and, of course, amateur investigator mystery lover fans--that's me and the mystery was quite fascinating...

Of course, it all starts during the first week sales as Kelly opens her own shop, inherited from her grandmother. It was perfect timing for Kelly and she was thrilled to actually be in control of her own shop--a resale boutique, no less...

The first customer was a little hard to deal with, but they were able to have her happy by the time she left...the second was a woman who had consigned clothes and was not too happy with the resale price...But nothing topped the customer who walked in, said she was drawn to a certain black dress and tried it on... come out into the show room, go into a vision, and see a man, dead...

Nothing much can kill clothes sales than having a dress that might be haunted... Actually, it was explained that it was the individual wearing the dress that had committed the murder. But before long the entire town was talking about the new opening of a shop that could be haunted, sold haunted clothes, or had been worn by criminals! Kelly came back to her shop one day and found that a seance was being held!

Bernadette had fainted upon her vision and immediately people surrounded her to try to help. Before long her cousin, who was really a double of Bernadette came into the shop and took over... But things did get better when, during the investigation, it was found that Bernadette's cousin was a scam artist and played the game to fleece clients... Was Bernadette doing that too?

But, of course, when there is a possible murder, often a second occurs! Kelly was right in the middle of it all! And soon was in danger as she tried to help get through the murders so that she could go back to square 1 to get her shop moving in the right direction...with nothing haunting the building...

Because the dress belonged to one of the women who had consigned her clothes at the shop...and wanted it back! Kelly, for some reason on her own decided to hold on to it! Would it be useful in discovering what happened?

Pepper had been working with her grandmother but Kelly assured her that she wanted and needed her to stay on. Pepper was hesitant, thinking Kelly was going into something she wouldn't be comfortable with--changing the name of the shop to boutique had her worried, but she and Liv prove to be a delightful group of women that keep the shop going, no matter what... And luckily, Pepper's son, Gabe was now a cop who was willing to help deal with all that was happening.

One more issue was making it difficult for Kelly... Her grandmother had given the shop to her, while her uncle felt that it should have gone to him... Dealing with the family issues naturally led to wondering whether he was doing things to scare Kelly into selling...

And while all that is going on, clothes are going in and out of the shop, names are dropped left and right and even a little pretension of available clothes to be consigned becomes a concern... Wow, I know one thing, it's going to take a fashionista to be able to understand every word/name brand thrown into the mix, but I was quite content just working on the whodunit! 

At the same time, I had a problem with the main character who seemed to be unable to deal with her responsibilities, yet was supposed to have been experienced. That wouldn't have been so bad, but I admit I got hung up on two things: a hanging activity that was to be handled but never was... And a continued repetitive reference, too many times--why not have a todo list--of needing to get decorations for the front of the story. Which she never did--somebody else did... The author will need to ensure that Kelly improves in not only handling her responsibilities, but in working her way into the heart of her readers. For a new series, though, the book was interesting and fun to read. But her main character does need to meet her readers halfway in our warming to her personally... Toward the end she was "growing into" her new career, so I, for one, will be expecting more in the next in series.. Do check it out and read other reviews...It's certainly worth your consideration if this genre is one you enjoy...


Debra Sennefelder and is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she's not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she's that person.

Born and raised in New York City, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She's worked in pre-hospital care, retail and publishing. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy. Find out more about her at her website,

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