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This is the first book in the series. Scarlett is escaping the U.S. and an embarrassing viral video of her getting revenge on her boyfriend after finding out he was married. She heads to England to stay with her cousin Vivian at their grandmother’s home and hat shop. She is surprised to be collected by Harrison, a childhood friend, and even more surprised when there is no sign of Viv anywhere. Scarlett steps in with the help of Viv’s assistant to keep the shop running in the interim, but when a particularly difficult customer ends up dead where only the hat she collected from the shop, Scarlett finds herself in the middle of two mysteries. As she tries to puzzle out the death and repair her shop’s reputation, she also has to deal with her cousin’s disappearance and some mixed feelings for Harrison. This was a nice start to a new series and there is a hint of the supernatural that I am curious to see if it is further developed in the later books.
Having always loved ladies' hats, I knew that this first book in Jenn McKinlay's Hat Shop Mystery series would be enjoyable, and it exceeded my expectations. Hats are a more popular item in England than they are in the U.S., but I remember the days when my grandmother wore a hat to the grocery store. Since Scarlett Parker has inherited half of a hat shop in London called Mim's Whims along with her cousin Viv from their grandmother, it is the perfect time for her to escape what has become a great embarassment to her in the U.S. Scarlett's boyfriend, unbeknownst to her, was married and when she found out she threw a cake at him. It was caught on video and it went viral, her meltdown making her recognizable everywhere.
When Scarlett arrives in London, Viv isn't there to pick her up at the airport, but a young man is there instead and informs her that Viv is missing. It seems as though Viv goes off on her own expeditions once in a while without telling anyone, but the longer she is gone, the more worried Scarlett becomes. Not long after being at the shop and learning the ins and outs, it becomes apparent that someone is out to get both Scarlett and the shop, especially after one of the very wealthy customers is found dead, wearing only a hat that Scarlett's grandmother had fashioned for her.
Scarlett, Harrison, the man who met her at the airport, and two neighbors, plus Fiona, an apprentice at the shop, take it upon themselves to find out who killed the lady in the hat.
The mystery is good and the "dead body" isn't found within the first few pages which I liked. That made it a little harder to figure who was going to be the victim. There is a little information given about how hats are made, but that isn't the focus of the book. I always learn something from a cozy mystery series. Scarlett is a character who is very likeable and has her humorous side along with Harrison and the two neighbors.
I will definitely read the next one in the series.
Scarlett Parker happens upon a party her “boyfriend” is throwing for his (unbeknownst to Scarlett) wife! Scarlett snaps, cake is thrown and the video goes viral. She runs off to England to lick her wounds and hide out with her British cousin Vivian Tremont. Viv and Scarlett are co-owners of Mims’s Whims, a ladies’ hat shop on Portobello Road bequeathed to both cousins by their beloved grandmother, and Viv wants Scarlett to finally join the family business.
Scarlett is met at the London airport by the shop’s handsome business manager, Harrison Wentworth. Viv has gone missing, and no one (except Scarlett) is too concerned, until one of the shop’s clients winds up dead wearing nothing but one of Viv’s creations. Scarlett vows to find Viv, and to figure out who dunnit before the family business tanks. Wentworth alternately helps her and frustrates her.
This book was a little slow for me for the first 100 pages or so, and I don’t know why. I’m a huge fan of McKinlay’s other series, but this one just wasn’t clicking for me. I’m glad I kept reading, however, because about page 101, things turned a corner and I couldn’t put the book down. I enjoyed Scarlett’s sense of humor, and her interactions with the secondary characters. Upon reflection, I like this series just as much as the others. I look forward to keeping up with Scarlett and her friends.
Book #5 Read in 2017 Cloche and Dagger by Jenn McKinlay
This is the first book in a cozy mystery series. Scarlett's love life blows up and she heads to England to stay with her cousin Viv and help out in the hat shop they co-own. But Viv is out of town and Scarlett's warm welcome is quickly marred with a dead body of a customer. Is Viv connected to this murder? Scarlett is an interesting heroine and there is a great cast of secondary characters, along with a good mystery plot and some romance as well. I will continue this series.
This was a great book in a new series. Jenn McKinlay's writing was so detailed that you felt like you were actually on Portobello Rd in London. She also did a great job distinguishing between the American and British accents in the book without sounding too cheesy.
The story itself was a well thought-out caper. I was pleasantly surprised when the killer's identity was revealed. The character's were written in a way that made you feel like you knew them for quite awhile. I can't wait to see where their stories go in the future.
As an avid reader of Ms. McKinlay's other series, I was psyched to see this book in my suggestions, and it does not disappoint. Good character development, nice plotting, a juicy crop of suspects and motives, and a wonderful setting in London. Quick, interesting read; can't wait for the next one!