Saturday, April 8, 2017

Assault & Beret

Author:  Jenn McKinlay
Series:  Hat Shop Mystery #5
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  January 3, 2017

Description:  London milliner Vivian Tremont and her American cousin and partner, Scarlett Parker, tip their caps to their beloved shop on Portobello Road in Notting Hill and set off for Paris, where Viv can’t wait to teach a hat-making class. But she has another reason to travel to the City of Light: to find the man she impulsively eloped with years ago and have their marriage annulled.
William Graham is not only handsome and charming, but he also has a glamorous job as an insurance investigator who works with priceless pieces of art, most recently a small Renoir that has been discovered in a junk shop. But when both Will and the masterpiece suddenly disappear, it’s up to the ladies from London to follow the trail of clues. They’ll need to hold on to their chapeaux, however, because someone is a master in the art of deception.

My Review

It was a little bitter sweet for me to read Assault & Beret knowing that it was the last book in the Hat Shop Mysteries by Jenn McKinlay.  I have been a fan of this series since the first book was published and have spent many hours of enjoyment with Viv, Scarlett and the rest of the gang.  This is a terrific series filled with wit, humor, fun characters and interesting mysteries.  I am hopeful that with enough fan feedback that perhaps the author may consider continuing this series with another publisher.

What continues to draw me to this series and makes me come back for each new book are the characters.  Quite simply this group of characters are some of the best in the cozy mystery series that I have read.  Viv and Scarlett are witty, fun, spontaneous, caring and loyal.  Their relationship has continued to grow from the first book and they feel like old friends by now.  Each cousin has a distinct personality but together they just compliment each other.  The regular secondary cast of characters round out this story nicely.  That add to the witty dialogue and provide some relief humor. 

The mystery in this book is a bit different in that Viv and Scarlett are in Paris where Viv will teach a class and Scarlett will look for Viv's husband Will.  As a result, the full scope of the mystery doesn't develop until about 1/3 of the way into the book, but it is every bit as good as the mysteries in the previous stories.  There are the twists and turns we come to expect from this author and a surprise or two along the way, that I didn't see coming.  I think the mystery was resolved in a very satisfying way and I was very entertained throughout the entire book.

This is a wonderful series, full of fun, witty characters, a charming location and great mysteries.  If this is in fact the last book in the series, while I would be disappointed, I think the author did a great job of providing closure for her readers. Now it's time to check out the other two series she writes to see if I can find some new friends in those books.

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