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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 10 star ratings
4 reviews
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3.8 out of 5
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    Sandra Bretting’s All Hats on Deck

    Blue Bayou, Louisiana is where Missy DuBois runs the Crowning Glory boutique. She is a milliner plus amateur sleuth. Her finance is Ambrose ‘Bo’ Jackson who designs wedding dresses. They work in the same complex. Ruby Oubre, an elderly Cajun grandmother requests Missy to come to her mobile home on the Atchafalaya River to teach Hollis, her grandson how to start and run a business. Upon arrival, Missy is greeted by Jacques who is the vicious dog that guards the dock. Ruby is not home so Missy begins to tudor Hollis. He has no formal knowledge of business practices. When they finish, Hollis goes to find Ruby. Hollis discovers Ruby......dead!! Accidental or was foul play involved?? Who would want to kill Ruby? The characters are three dimensional, quirky, multifaceted, colorful, some with interesting backstories plus your locals. You will meet Christophe d’Aulnay, Mayor Zephirim Turcott, Captain Remy Gaudet who are all interested in buying Ruby’s property. Talented writing with palpable energy and danger always lurking. The story takes off very quickly and keeps up at an invigorating pace with plenty of twists and turns. The proficient detailed description made the reader part of the southern way of life. You can taste the jambalaya, the sweet rolls, smell the southern fried chicken and drink a tall cool glasses of southern sweet ice tea. This is book # 5 in A Missy DuBois Mystery series. It can be read as a stand alone. My opinion is voluntary and my own. It is a page turner!!!
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    Murder in the Bayou

    This was just an OK cozy read for me. I enjoyed the characters and the Louisiana Bayou Setting but I found the mystery weak. The hat shop background is also interesting and fun. Missy agrees to help Ruby's Grandson Hollis with his small business plans. When she arrives Hollis discovers her body in the Bayou and she sets out to solve her murder. The killer and motive was very obvious from the beginning. When you kill someone everyone likes there are not enough suspects or motives to make the mystery interesting. I did like it that she worked with the police. It was a very quick and easy read I would just like more mystery.
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    Not my favorite in the series

    I love this series and always wait for the next installment. This book was really good...until the ending! Just kind of left me feeling like there was more to come. I thought perhaps there was another chapter, but that out to be the Epilogue. Several unanswered questions about plot lines.
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    I wanted to like it more...

    I wanted to like All Hats on Deck more since I love books that take place down South and Ruby practices voodoo, but it was just okay. The main characters were all enjoyable and people I would want to continue to get to know better. The descriptions of the town, bayou, and hats that Sandra Bretting writes about are all done very well. But the three biggest sticking points for me were the lack of suspects, that Missy was never at her shop, and the lack of consistency when it came to details. In regards to suspects, it was pretty easy to guess who was in on it right away and even their motive. Often in cozy mysteries even if I think I know who the killer is early on, I’ll still not be sure of the motive until the big reveal. Unfortunately that was not the case here. I would be able to overlook that and give the book a higher score if that was the only thing. Missy was never at her shop, constantly going back to the Bayou or her home. The character even comments at one point in the book on how when other business owners would leave their shops early she would still be there late into the evening, and now she was the one always leaving her shop for her employee, Beatrice, to contend with. Pointing this out doesn’t excuse her actions and it’s completely unbelievable that she’s able to maintain a business where she’s the only one creating the merchandise. And if this would have been the only time where Missy points out a contradiction, that too could have been overlooked. But the contradictions continued throughout the book, starting with her telling her finance to tell Beatrice to go back to the shop instead of coming back, and then a bit later she’s wondering where Beatrice is. I should have marked the other instances but there were quite a few more. The last thing that kept pulling me out of the story was whenever Missy referenced a past murder, she would say something like, “That’s a story for another day.” I have never had this happen in another cozy. Other cozy authors give you enough information to infer what had happened so you got the gist of it, either to be reminded of the event if you’re a long time reader of the series, or to clue you in if this is your first book in the series. By Bretting just having Missy say that it’s something for another day, I felt this was another cop out instead of editing the story better or adding more information. But just because I didn’t enjoy this one, doesn’t mean you won’t, especially if you’ve read the previous Missy DuBois Mysteries. If you have read prior books in the series or this one, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
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