Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Designs on Murder by Gayle Leeson: Review & Giveaway!

Designs On Murder:

A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery
by Gayle Leeson

About the Book

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Grace Abraham Publishing (March 26, 2019)
Print Length: 229 pages
What if you discovered your lively new friend wasn't really...alive?
Amanda Tucker is excited about opening her fashion design studio in Shops On Main, a charming old building in historic Abingdon, Virginia. She didn't realize a ghost came with the property! But soon Maxine "Max" Englebright, a young woman who died in 1930, isn't the only dead person at the retail complex. Mark Tinsley, a web designer with a know-it-all attitude who also rented space at Shops On Main, is shot in his office.

Amanda is afraid that one of her new "friends" and fellow small business owners is his killer, and Max is encouraging her to solve Mark's murder a la Nancy Drew. Easy for Max to want to investigate--the ghostly fashionista can't end up the killer's next victim!

About the Author

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee and Gayle Trent. As Amanda Lee, she wrote the Embroidery Mystery series (great series), and as Gayle Trent, she writes the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. Going forward, Gayle intends to keep her writing until the Gayle Leeson name. She has a series of women's fiction novellas set in a shopping mall that has been converted to include micro-apartments (the Kinsey Falls series) and has just begun this new cozy series, the Ghostly Fashionista Mystery series. Another Down South Cafe novel is slated for release in August with book two in the Ghostly Fashionista series scheduled for October.  You can sign up for the authors newsletter here.  Find out more out about Gayle and her books on her website.  Gayle is on Twitter and Facebook.  You can follow her on Amazon. Bookbub and Goodreads.  

My Thoughts

Designs on Murder by Gayle Leeson is the debut novel in A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery series.  Amanda Tucker was on her way home from a job interview when she notices a For Lease sign at the Shops on Main in Abingdon, Virginia.  She has dreamed of opening her own boutique to sell her vintage inspired fashions, but her parents (mostly her mother) had numerous objections.  Amanda with financial help from Grandpa Dave takes the plunge and leases the shop for Designs on You.  Little did Amanda know that the space comes with ghost.  Maxine “Max” Englebright died in the 1930s and has been tethered to the property ever since.  Amanda is the first person that has been able to see Max.  Amanda comes by to set up her new shop to find the place crawling with police.  Mark Tinsley, a web designer who rented space upstairs, was found shot in his office.  Max, who just read a mystery on Amanda’s tablet, suggests that they solve Mark’s murder.  Max can eavesdrop while Amanda talks to suspects and digs for clues.  Amanda is worried that one of her fellow shop owners is the killer, so she reluctantly agrees to Max’s plan.  Amanda just hopes she will not end up the killer’s next victim and join Max inhabiting the Shops on Main for the next hundred or so years. 
 Designs On Murder: A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery (Ghostly Fashionista Mystery Series Book 1)
Designs on Murder is an entertaining cozy mystery.  Amanda Tucker and Max Englebright are delightful characters.  I like that Amanda has decided to pursue her dreams by opening a unique dress shop.   Amanda dreams up and executes beautiful clothes for her clients.    She also has the business degree which will aid her in running a successful business. Max is a feisty woman who died too early.  She fell down the stairs when Shops on Main was a home and broke her neck.  Max is energetic and uses colorful slang from the 1920s.  Dave is a kind, thoughtful man who is an exceptional woodworker.  He makes Amanda a bookshelf that I envy.  It is sweet how supportive he is of Amanda and how he helps her financially as well as with the staging of the shop.  The story includes the shop owners who include Janice (jewelry designer) Connie (Delightful Home), Ford (Antiquated Editions) and Ella & Frank Peterson (design stationery and cards).  There is also the landlady, Mrs. Meacham along with her husband, George and son, Brett.  They are a unique bunch of characters.  The murder mystery was appealing, and I liked how the clues were provided.  I thought it was cleverly done.  There are charming cozy moments that include talking clothes design, meal times and staging the shop.  The author’s conversational writing style is appealing, and the story had a nice steady pace.  There is humor in the story thanks to Max (she is quite a character) that had me laughing.  Designs on Murder is a diverting cozy mystery that I found a pleasure to read.  I look forward to the next A Ghostly `Fashionista Mystery.
Designs on Murder is available on Amazon.  In honor of the tour, there is a Rafflecopter giveaway for one (1) digital copy of Designs on Murder and a $25 Amazon gift card.  You can click here to enter or use the Rafflecopter form below.    I am also hosting an individual giveaway for one print (open on in the U.S. only) or digital copy of Designs on Murder (winner's choice).  You just need to follow my blog (click the follow button--upper right) and leave a comment with your email address (so I can contact you).  That is all you need to do (easy peasy).  My contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on April 6.  Do not forget to visit the other stops on the tour for character guest posts, spotlights, character interviews, individual giveaways, reviews, and author interviews (schedule below). I am featuring When You Are Near by Tracie Peterson tomorrow as part of the Celebrate Lit tour.  It is the first book in the Brookstone Brides series.  Good luck on the contest and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Tour Participants

March 25 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog - REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 25 – T's Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

March 26 – Cozy Up With Kathy - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 26 – StoreyBook Reviews - REVIEW

March 27 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY 

March 27 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 28 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

March 29 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 29 – Books Direct – GUEST POST

March 30 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST


March 31 - Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW

March 31 - Nadaness In Motion - REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

April 1 – Laura`s Interests - REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

April 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews - REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 3 – Baroness' Book Trove - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 4 – Moonlight Rendezvous - REVIEW, GUEST POST

April 4 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

April 5 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 6 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 6 – I'm All About Books – REVIEW

April 6 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW


  1. I am enjoying these tours and finding all the terrific books my family is enjoying reading. Thanks for bringing them to us and keep up the good work.

  2. Thank you for your review on "Designs on Murder" by Gayle Leeson and for being part of the book tour. I follow you as kay.garrett at gmail dot com :)

    Love the cover and can't wait for the opportunity to read the book.

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  4. I'm looking forward to meeting Amanda (& Max). Following your blog. Thanks for the giveaways! turtle6422 at gmail dot com

  5. Thank you for highlighting Designs on Murder. I love the setting of Abingdon, VA. I hope to read this one soon.

  6. What might be the reasons to write under several pen names?