Monday, August 19, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Cloche and Dagger

Cloche and Dagger (Hat Shop Mystery - Book 1) by Jenn McKinlay

Publication Date: 08/06/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425258890
ISBN-13: 978-0425258897

(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.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Cloche and Dagger by Jenn McKinlay.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, September 2nd.

1. Please leave a comment describing a favorite hat or head covering.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Charlotte said...

I have a off white knit cap that I have had a long time and I love it.

Carol N Wong said...

I have pretty navy and white striped hat that I love. It folds up so it is easy to pack or put in my purse and it always looks cute.


cyn209 said...

i'm not a head-coverer....the closet would be a shower cap!! LOL!!

thank you for the giveaway!!

NoraA said...

I have a problem with thinning hair. I'm extremely vain and never ever go out without a hat (summer), a beret (winter) or a wig.

Jenn I love your books and if I'm not the lucky winner I'll acquire a copy by hook or by crook.


Carol M said...

I haven't worn a hat in years but I still would enjoy reading this book! I love to put the pieces of a story together!

ape2016 said...

My all time favorite hat was an electric blue fedora that I had when I was about 15. Loved it, but sadly it got blown down into a ravine.

april yedinak

Rachelle21 said...

I have been wearing a hot pink hat that I bought in Canada. Everyone wants it! I think they love the bright color.

lag123 said...

I want to find out what happened to Viv.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Nancy Luebke said...

I crocheted this big floppy brim hat for my brother in laws wedding. It was a big hit. My husband even put it on for a while and the children called him, Aunt Jerry.

Elizabeth Schroedle said...

I have a navy blue beret which I call "My Monica Lewinsky Beret".

holdenj said...

I don't wear hats as a grown up, but my favorite hat when I was a kid was a straw hat that I wore outside as much as possible!

Mary V said...

I love how hats look on other people but never could find one that I liked on myself. This summer I found a big, floppy beach hat that I have lived in on the it!

Rita said...

I have a cute denim hat I wear in the summer.

ann said...

I normally dont wear a hat. But I do so love reading mysteries

bn100 said...

Don't really like hats

Linda Kish said...

I wear a ball cap with a dog on the front and on the back it says "It's a dog's life"

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Tarri said...

As a knitter, I make many hats in different patterns. The most recent one was made with the Seattle Seahawks colorway. For mowing the lawn, it's a pink John Deere ball cap and if I get caught out in the rain, it's my VW ball cap that lives in the car.

TigerofMu said...

I have three favorite hats. My good old trusty cowboy hat, a warm, winter Wyoming Cowboys hat, and my pink, "Women of Faith" ball cap.

Anonymous said...

I have a white hat with a flower on the side which I wear only in the summer.

Barbara T. said...

A black hat that looks similar to one worn by Marlon Brando only mine has an anchor on the bill.

Sue Farrell said...

My mom knit me a wonderfully warm hat-scarf combinations thirty years ago---and I'm still wearing it.

Piepie Beuttel said...

A hat I wore once was a Victorian bonnet, and it matched perfectly with a dark green cape I was wearing - I was helping promote a Christmas pageant...and the setting took place around that time period. It was a lot of fun dressing up!! :D

Libby Dodd said...

A visor-blocks the sun from my face with minimal head covering heat

DK said...

I have an old blue cloth hat that I wear when i'm out in the sun.

Brooke said...

This sounds like such a fun new series! I've never worn any hat other than a ball cap. I think it would be so fun to wear a fancy hat, like the royals do!

Karen B said...

Any non-wool knit cap that I can pull down over my ears and forehead in our freezing MN winters!

Theresa N. said...

I always admire the purple hat ladies.
tehresa n