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Cloche and Dagger (A Hat Shop Mystery) Mass Market Paperback – August 6, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Hat Shop Mystery Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Scarlett Parker flees her Florida home for London after a video of her flinging cake at her ex-boyfriend and his wife goes viral. In London, she is co-owner of Mim’s Whims, a hat shop, with her cousin Vivian. But she is picked up at the airport by childhood acquaintance Harrison and told that Vivian is missing. Other surprises await, including a nasty customer who must be appeased with the promise of a photo shoot. At the arranged time, Scarlett instead finds the customer murdered, wearing only the hat from the shop. Scarlett is attacked in her bed, the shop is ransacked, and still no one can find Vivian, who is now the main suspect. McKinlay, author of the Cupcake Bakery and Library Lover’s mysteries, creates a charming atmosphere in the London hat shop, and sexy tension between Scarlett and Harrison. Action and red herrings abound in a fun series start. --Amy Alessio

Review

Praise for Cloche and Dagger :

“A delicious romp through my favorite part of London with a delightful new heroine.” —Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author

 “Brimming with McKinlay’s trademark wit and snappy one-liners, Anglophiles will love this thoroughly entertaining new murder mystery series. A hat trick of love, laughter, and suspense, and another feather in [Jenn McKinlay’s] cap.” —Hannah Dennison, bestselling author of the Vicky Hill Mysteries

“Fancy hats and British aristocrats make this my sort of delicious cozy read.” —Rhys Bowen, author of the Royal Spyness Mysteries

 
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Product Details

  • Series: A Hat Shop Mystery (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; 1st edition (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425258890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425258897
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book and loved it. The three main characters are fun and very believable and the plot didn't get bogged down with many subplots. It brought many smiles to my face throughout and I'm looking forward to more Hat Shopbook mysteries.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know how she does it, but Jenn McKinlay creates stories that will have you enamored with the plot and the characters. We are introduced to Scarlett whose arrival in London is met with the disappearance of her cousin Viv. When a customer is later found dead wearing nothing but her cousin's creation, Scarlett looks into her murder, if only to clear her cousin's name and what follows is a fun ride that I could not put down.

I had a great time reading this light-hearted tale where the mystery kept me glued to the pages and the dialogue and comedic antics kept me entertained from beginning to end. Boasting a lovable cast of quirkily unconventional characters, this was an enjoyable read and a welcome addition to the cozy genre and I look forward to the next book in this exciting new series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Scarlett Parker has fled to England after her very public breakdown was caught on film and went viral. She is hoping to lay low in England working in the hat shop she and her cousin Viv inherited from their grandmother. Unfortunately, things in England aren't quiet - Viv is missing, Scarlett stumbles across a murder victim, and someone is targeting her and the hat shop. Scarlett is in real danger and fears that Viv is too. Can Scarlett solve both the murder and the disappearance of her cousin?

"Cloche and Dagger" is the first book in Jenn McKinlay's Hat Shop cozy mystery series and the series already looks like a winner. I love the premise and set up. Scarlett is a well-written and sympathetic character. McKinlay takes a big gamble in having Viv gone for a large part of the book (it can be hard to care about a character we haven't even met) but she pulls it off quite well. I love the descriptions of the hats - I am not a hat person but I could easily picture them and they sounded gorgeous. I also like the side characters - Harrison (he and Scarlett have great chemistry) and the (almost inevitable in a cozy mystery) gay sidekicks Andre and Nick. There is a running gag in the book involving puns that adds a lot of humor to the book without becoming annoying. But what really makes this book such a delight to read is the intricate plotting of the mystery - I was completely fooled by some of the red herrings McKinlay put in the book. This is my favorite type of mystery where, as plot twists are revealed, you find yourself flipping back and rereading certain passages in the book and realize how expertly McKinlay pulled the wool over your eyes. This couldn't have been easy to write and is extremely well done.

"Cloche and Dagger" is an excellent cozy mystery and I look forward to the next book in the series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read and enjoy the author's cupcake bakery mysteries, so I really wanted to like this book, the first in her London hat shop series. Unfortunately, the story fell flat for me.

One of my biggest problems is that the book was very slow to start. Scarlett didn't even stumble across the murder victim until page 104. So, what did she do until then? Well, after arriving in London and getting 'jilted' by her cousin Viv, she met the hat shop's business manager, Harrison Wentworth. She argued with Harrison, she met shop apprentice Fiona, she quarreled with Harrison, she met her photographer neighbor Andre, she fought with Harrison, she dealt with 2 difficult customers (including the future murder victim), and she also squabbled with Harrison. (You get the idea.)

By the time the book started to pick up the pace a little, I was annoyed with Scarlett and Harrison and their childish behavior. (Plus, I was a little bored.) After the murder and a few unpleasant incidents at the shop, the pair called a truce and decided to team up together to solve the mystery (while also looking for Scarlett's missing cousin). But, once those two crazy kids started working together, Scarlett's internal monologue did a complete 180. She went from being constantly irritated with Harrison, to wanting to jump his bones every 5 seconds. While they were arguing like school children, I wanted to smack some sense into them, but after Scarlett started fixating on how great Harrison looked in a sweater (or whatever else he was wearing), I just wanted to smack her harder.

The duo didn't do a whole lot of sleuthing, either. Scarlett invited all the usual suspects over for tea, and Harrison wrangled an invitation to the victim's funeral, but that was about it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I LOVE this author's Library Lovers series and also enjoy her cupcake series so, naturally, I thought I'd love this first book in her new hat shop series. I didn't. This book started slowly (no murder at page 100) and never really got going for me.

Scarlett Parker, an American woman who, with her British cousin, inherited a London hat shop, heads over to London to help out her cousin, Viv. When Scarlett arrives, Viv seems to have disappeared. There's lots and lots of talk and the author very slowly (very, very, very slowly) introduces several characters. Finally, at long last, there's a murder and Scarlett and her new friends try to solve it.

The first half of the book drags on and on and the last bit felt thrown together.

There's some potential with this series as I like the characters somewhat so I may read the second one, before I decide whether or not to continue with it. I give the author the benefit of the doubt since I like her other series. However, if this book had been the first book I'd ever read from this author, it would've been my last.
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