chez_jae: (Books)
On Wednesday, I began reading Assault and Beret by Jenn McKinlay, and I finished it on Thursday. It's part of the author's "Hat Shop" mystery series.

Scarlett's cousin Vivian is set to teach a millinery class in Paris, and Scarlett tags along. She has an ulterior motive; Scarlett wants to meet Viv's mysterious, estranged husband. She brokers a meeting between the two, and Viv reluctantly attends, simply wanting an annulment to her hasty marriage. Instead, it appears as if she and Will my be on their way to reconciliation. Will, who works for a company that insures priceless art, shows Scarlett and Viv a rediscovered Renoir. Shortly thereafter, he is abducted, and the painting goes missing. Now, it's up to Scarlett and Viv, to save the day. They are aided by their ragtag gang of regulars who travel to Paris to be with them, including Scarlett's love interest, Harrison.

The story pelted along at a fast pace. I did figure some things out, but others caught me completely flat-footed. It was fun to see the usually cool and reserved Vivian being flustered by not one, but two different men, and I enjoyed watching things progress between Scarlett and Harry.

Favorite line: Damn Americans, why didn't they pick up the hat thing?

Excellent! Five stars:

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
Just finished reading Copy Cap Murder by Jenn McKinlay. It's the fourth installment of her "Hat Shop mysteries" series.

Scarlett and Vivian are invited by Harrison to attend his company's Guy Fawkes bonfire. While there, Scarlett is accosted by one of Harrison's co-workers. Harrison steps in and thrashes him, but later, the man is found dead at the party. Due to the altercation, Harrison is now the primary suspect. Scarlett knows he didn't do it, and she and Viv begin digging for clues that will point them to the real killer.

Along the way, Scarlett meets Harrison's ex-girlfriend, manages to get Viv to reveal the identity of her husband, is accosted again by a man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, and all while being homesick.

The revelation of the murderer was rather dangerous and exciting, and the building relationship between Scarlett and Harrison left me with warm fuzzies.

Favorite line: I quickly pulled the bedcovers up, because as everyone knows, bedsheets are magical and keep the monsters out...

Five out of five!

♦♦♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I plowed through the rest of At the Drop of a Hat, which is the third installment in Jenn McKinlay's "Hat Shop Mystery" series.

Scarlett and her cousin Vivian are commissioned by Ariana Jackson to restore her mother's bridal hat so that she can wear it for her own wedding. Scarlett and Viv are eager to take on the task, because the hat is one their grandmother originally made. When Scarlett goes to Ariana's place of work regarding the hat, she discovers Ariana crouched over the dead body of her boss, a notorious womanizer.

Ariana becomes the prime suspect in the man's death, but Scarlett and Viv are convinced she is innocent. Against the wishes of their accountant and silent partner, Harrison Wentworth, Scarlett and Viv begin a furtive investigation into the case.

This book was infused with the same humor that the others have been. There is some growing tension between Scarlett and Viv, when Scarlett begins to feel that her cousin is distancing herself. At the same time, the sexual tension between Scarlett and Harrison is escalating.

This is a fun, cozy series, and this book was no different. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I can't wait to read the next one, especially since Viv dropped a bombshell at the end. Cliffhanger!

Five hearts:

chez_jae: (Books)
Hooray, for three-day weekends!

Yesterday, I read most of Death of a Mad Hatter by Jenn McKinlay, and today I finished it. This is the second book in the author's "Hat Shop Mystery" series. How could I resist hats and a cozy mystery?!

Scarlett and her cousin Viv are asked to design the hats for an Alice in Wonderland tea party, which is to raise funds to name a hospital wing after the patriarch of the Grisby family. When the son and heir apparent is found dead at the party, and the hat he was wearing contains traces of poison, police show up at the hat shop, Mim's Whims, to investigate.

Scarlett takes it upon herself to do a little investigating on her own, much to the consternation of their business manager, Harrison Wentworth.

The book brought back beloved characters from the first installment, and it introduced a bit more romance (and jealousy!) between Scarlett and Harrison. No telling how long I'll have to wait for the next book. Le sigh.

Four stars:

★★★★
chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I polished off Cloche and Dagger by Jenn McKinlay. It's the first book in her new "Hat Shop Mystery" series.

Hats and cozy mysteries?! Count me in!

The story began with Scarlett Parker traveling to England to get away from an embarrassing public scandal in Tampa. There, she plans to join her cousin Viv in running the hat shop that was left to them by their grandmother. However, Viv has gone haring off on an adventure, leaving Scarlett to flounder her way through the day-to-day running of the shop. When one of their prestigious clients is found murdered, wearing nothing but the hat that Scarlett sold her, suspicion is cast on the missing Viv, and Scarlett must launch her own investigation to clear Viv's name.

The author introduced several secondary characters, whom I hope to see in future books in the series, including a potential romantic interest for Scarlett. The story itself was witty, fun and fast-paced, and I am looking forward to the release of the second in the series.

Four stars

★★★★

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