Publication Date: 08/06/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Jenn McKinlay on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
Excerpt from Cloche and Dagger, courtesy of the author's website.
Not only is Scarlett Parker’s love life in the loo—as her British cousin Vivian Tremont would say—it’s also gone viral with an embarrassing video. So when Viv suggests Scarlett leave Florida to lay low in London, she hops on the next plane across the pond. Viv is the proprietor of Mims’s Whims, a ladies’ hat shop on Portobello Road bequeathed to both cousins by their beloved grandmother, and she wants Scarlett to finally join her in the millinery business.
But a few surprises await Scarlett in London. First, she is met at the airport not by Viv, but by her handsome business manager, Harrison Wentworth. Second, Viv—who has some whims of her own—seems to be missing. No one is too concerned about the unpredictable Viv until one of her posh clients is found dead wearing the cloche hat Viv made for her—and nothing else. Is Scarlett’s cousin in trouble? Or is she in hiding?
Author Jenn McKinlay has had great success in the cozy mystery sub-genre. McKinlay is just beginning her third cozy series, The Hat Shop Mysteries, with the first book in the series, Cloche and Dagger. McKinlay's trademark wit and dialogue banter is in true form here. With an English setting and everything from a missing cousin to an aristocratic murder, this book has a lot to offer McKinlay fans and new readers alike. Mim's Whim's is sure to be a hit as well as McKinlay's latest whodunit!
Many of you know that I am from Kentucky. And of course you know that Kentucky is known for horse racing and the Kentucky Derby in general. And what is one of the things that is synonymous with the Derby? Yep, you guessed it...Hats, hats and more hats. When I heard that Jenn McKinlay's latest cozy series would feature a millinery shop, by the name of Mim's Whim's I was all in! I love hats! The more exotic and beautiful the better.
McKinlay's book, Cloche and Dagger is set across the pond in England, where hats are still the norm. I loved the background into the millinery business that McKinlay gives readers in this book. It gives a real authenticity to the series and educates the reader about something they may never have had an interest in before. I loved the use of all the terms and traditions imparted about hats and the making of them. It was interesting and different. Certainly a unique setting for a cozy series.
McKinlay is one of my favorite cozy authors for many reasons. I think the most obvious one, is the fact that she is master at dialogue. It is always interesting to me when an author has the ability to make the reader feel like they are overhearing a conversation between characters as opposed to just feeling like they are being told what is happening. McKinlay uses a lot of witty banter in her dialogue that gives a lighter more playful note to a serious subject... murder! It's fun to read and puts a smile on the face of readers as they try to figure out where McKinlay is going with her latest revelation.
McKinlay's overall plotting is also an area in which she excels. Her mysteries are always hard to pin down. I often marvel at how she is able to keep readers in the dark, all the while feeding them bits and pieces of the puzzle. She has a knack for pulling the wool over a readers eyes and keeping them on the edge of their seat, with one red herring after another. But never too many to make it tedious or taxing.
In Cloche and Dagger, heroine Scarlett Parker has two mysteries on her hands the disappearance of her cousin and a murder. I liked the way McKinlay balanced the two and was still able to set up the entire series, without overdoing the basics. I liked this book a lot and think it is an excellent first book in a series, but I have a feeling that future books to come will also be exceptional. I look forward to more in this series.
Cloche and Dagger is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
A true Anglophile, Jenn McKinlay loves all things British. In her idea of a perfect world, every day would include high tea or wearing a fabulous hat, or both. This adoration of all things U.K. inspired her to write the Hat Shop Mysteries, which are set in London, one of her most favorite cities in the world. She now gets to visit London regularly—for research purposes, of course.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Cloche and Dagger by Jenn McKinlay.
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