Book Review: Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting

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Murder at Morningside (Missy DuBois Mystery #1)Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Murder at Morningside is the debut book in the Missy DuBois Mystery series written by Sandra Bretting. Missy is a wedding hat designer in Louisiana who is in love with her best friend Ambrose, a wedding dress designer, and who has a penchant for being a little too nosy and finding dead bodies. After I won the third and fourth books in a giveaway contest last year, I read them and thought they were good. I wanted to catch up on the beginning before the fifth one is released in the future, so here we go…

In this caper, Missy and Ambrose are staying at an inn where a couple is being married. They are onsite for final wedding ensemble fittings and preparation but taking advantage of the old southern home’s beautiful buildings and grounds. After overhearing a few odd conversations, they enter a hat contest to see if it will help grow Missy’s start-up business. During the opening ceremony, Missy comforts a distraught woman who can’t find her stepdaughter. She’s later found by a maid, but the girl is dead in a bathroom stall — it’s the bride Missy and Ambrose were working for but had never met! Missy gets to know the staff, family, and friends at the estate and finds herself suspecting a few people of affairs, gaslighting, and intent to harm. But which one really did the bride in? Missy discovers the truth with the help of her high school friend who’s now a detective in the parish.

As far as mysteries, it’s good. There are red herrings, strong clues, misunderstandings, and interesting discoveries. I enjoyed learning about the history of the area during the Civil War and how different kinds of hats are created. Missy is a vivid character with all the typical amateur sleuth personality traits and portrayed as a bold southern woman (maybe a little too much exaggeration, but I’m not from the South, so I can’t be 100% certain). That said, I felt some of the writing and ways in which Missy got her information were a bit forced or stilted. I remember thinking the same thing in the other books I read. It’s not bad, just borders on awkward in certain sections. I still want to read the full series as there’s a lot of dimension and detail in the settings, relationships, and characters which draw you in easily.

Bretting is strong in describing action and culture, and she has a good grasp of when and how to throw in southern slang or common vernacular. A few times it made me cock my head a bit in curiosity, but I’ve actually heard some of these sayings so it’s more just that it’s a difference place than I’m used to. That’s what makes it fun as I feel transported somewhere else while reading her books. The cover is snappy and cute. The series has a good hook. I gotta wonder what’s ultimately gonna happen between Ambrose and Missy, as in books three and four, they seem to be dating. In book one, she’s in love with him and he’s smitten. Maybe when I read book two, I’ll figure it all out. But he’s definitely got something he’s hiding…

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.


10 thoughts on “Book Review: Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting

    The Cozy Pages said:
    December 8, 2018 at 9:02 AM

    I’ve read some books set in the South where I was just completely lost in some of the dialogues! 😂 But it definitely gives the stories some colour!

    Liked by 1 person

    robertawrites235681907 said:
    December 8, 2018 at 9:49 AM

    I like the sound of the civil war and learning how to make hats, Jay. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    foodinbooks said:
    December 8, 2018 at 10:10 AM

    The hats sound excellent! I like the mysteries you’ve been blogging about lately, though I’m not normally a mystery reader. This one sounds very entertaining!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      December 8, 2018 at 3:42 PM

      I’m on a quest… nearly one a day til the end of the year to immerse myself before I start writing my next one! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    carhicks said:
    December 10, 2018 at 2:50 PM

    The premise sounds interesting and I am interested in history, in fact I have visited several civil war sites. I will wait on this series, I have so many others to read. I agree that some of the southern expressions are a hoot, but they have to be used in the right place and time. Nice review Jay.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      December 10, 2018 at 5:59 PM

      It’s a fun series. I’ve read 3 of the 4 and will do an author review and q&A early next year.

      Liked by 1 person

        carhicks said:
        December 10, 2018 at 9:28 PM

        There are only four? I thought there were more than that. I might be able to read them then.

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        December 10, 2018 at 9:33 PM

        Yep. 4 so far… One a month! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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