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Publisher's Summary

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?
©2013 Jennifer McKinlay Orf (P)2013 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Fancy hats and British aristocrats make this my sort of delicious cozy listen." (Rhys Bowen, author of the Royal Spyness Mysteries)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Beatrice on 11-23-13

It was okay

The star of this book was the narrator. She did a great job with the accents. I can't say too much about the book. I didn't find the characters or plot believable. It just didn't grab me.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Victoria J. Mejia-Gewe on 10-05-17

Escaping the media to a murder

In Cloche and Dagger by Jenn McKinlay, Scarlett needs to be able to move past a meltdown that turned into a YouTube sensation. This leads her cousin Vivian to order Scarlett to move from her home in Florida to England and help with the hat boutique that the two cousins inherited from their grandmother and which Viv manages. But when Scarlett arrives in London, she gets surprised not to find Viv waiting for her, but instead the handsome Harrison, the shop's business manager, is there. Scarlett notices that he seems to run hot and cold towards her and learns that when she was 10, she stood up Harrison when he asked her for ice cream to chase after an athlete of some sort. He still holds this against her to some degree.

No one but Scarlett has much concern about the disappearance of Viv, who has been known to take off from time to time. Trying to take care of the shop, Scarlett impresses Fiona, the apprentice, by selling a hat to a woman who has never bought a hat from them before, despite visiting to look often. Then Lady Ellis and her husband, an earl, come into the shop to pick up a specially ordered hat. Trying to locate the hat, to the increasing ire of Lady Ellis, Scarlett gets the idea of asking if the lady would model her special hat for a photo shoot. Fortunately, that night Scarlett meets a new arrival to her neighborhood, who is setting up a photography studio. So Scarlett arranges a photo shoot for later that week.

But when Scarlett shows up with Andre on Friday to do the photo shoot, the housekeeper discovers the body of Lady Ellis, wearing nothing but the hat made for her by Vivian and stabbed in the heart. And with Viv mysteriously missing, she becomes the main suspect. This throws Scarlett and Harrison into a case for their lives.

This book is nice, light reading, but it does not live up to the standards of Jenn McKinlay"s other works. The mystery plot does not have a lot of development to it, with few actual clues to it. Instead we just see a few events happen to Scarlett but no real detecting or hints to help the characters and readers determine the killer. The redeeming feature of this book is the delightful characters in it. The gay couple down the street from the hat shop are two of the liveliest people in mystery fiction. The romantic tension between Scarlett and Harrison adds to the plot.

I enjoyed the narration of Karyn O'Bryant in the audio edition of this book. She creates good, believable voices for the voices based upon the descriptions in the book. Further, ahe does a good job modulating between the different accents of the various characters.

Cloche and Dagger comes across as a fun book, but it has a fairly incredible conclusion to the mystery that felt strange to me. Will I get book two in this series? Probably. I wouldn't if this were by an author unknown to me, but since I really appreciate the writing of McKinlay"s Cupcake series and Library series, I'll give the second book another shot. But for this book, I give it only three stars.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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