Hat Shop Mystery is a series of cozy mystery novels written by Jenn McKinlay. The books follow the exploits of two women who run a business and also solve crimes in London.
Order of Hat Shop Mystery Series
|1||Cloche and Dagger||2013||Description / Buy|
|2||Death of a Mad Hatter||2014||Description / Buy|
|3||At the Drop of a Hat||2015||Description / Buy|
|4||Copy Cap Murder||2016||Description / Buy|
|5||Assault & Beret||2017||Description / Buy|
The Hat Shop Mystery is written by Jenn McKinlay who developed a love for writing at a young age. As a teenager, she saw the movie Romancing the Stone and knew she wanted to be a writer like Kathleen Turner in that movie. That idea always stuck with her even as she didn’t act on it right away in her life. She attended Southern Conn State University where she studied English and Library Science which led her to a full-time job as a librarian. Despite being surrounded by books, she didn’t begin writing yet as life was just too busy for her at this time. Connecticut was a very expensive place to live and she hoped to move somewhere that would be more affordable and thus more conducive to writing.
She ended up traveling 3,000 miles and moving to Arizona where she was finally able to start writing. She started writing romance novels and had a lot of struggles along the way. Her books weren’t great at first, but she ended up sticking with it and getting better and better with the knowledge she would one day become a published author. She met her husband at a library and had a child, but always kept her on the prize of becoming a published author.
She found that success when Harlequin called and wanted to buy a book that she had submitted a year prior. This led to her writing a few romance novels, but also made her realize that she was better suited as a mystery writer. That realization would lead her to the Hat Shop Mystery series.
Scarlett Parker and Vivian Tremont both inherited Mim’s Whims, their grandmother’s ladies’ hat shop in London. However, Scarlett has never participated in the running of the business, having left the operations of Mim’s Whims to Vivian.
All that changes when Scarlett’s relationship ends disastrously, leading to a public spat that goes viral. Unable to cope with the embarrassment, Scarlett accepts her cousin Vivian’s invitation to come to London and take up her position as proprietor of Mim’s Whims.
Arriving at the airport, Scarlett is immediately intrigued when she is met by Harrison Wentworth instead of Vivian. Harrison is Vivian’s handsome business manager. The two of them met years earlier but it becomes clear from the moment they lock eyes at the airport that the nature of their relationship is about to change.
When Scarlett realizes that Vivian did not pick her up because she’s missing, and then discovers one of her cousin’s clients dead, she immediately throws her sleuthing hat on and attempts to make sense of the mystery at hand.
Even though Scarlett and Vivian are eventually reunited, it becomes clear that running her grandmother’s ladies’ hat shop won’t be without its challenges. Scarlett keeps meeting all sorts of quirky individuals, most of them clients of the shop, and some of whom actually knew her grandmother.
And these clients are prone to theft, accidents and even murders. Whenever someone close to the shop dies, Scarlett always makes it her business to investigate. Sometimes it is because she has been implicated in the crimes in question.
Other times it is her cousin that everyone suspects of criminal activity. On more than one occasion, Scarlett is simply curious and cannot help but snoop around dead bodies, especially if the victim is a client.
The Hat Shop Mystery series is written from the first person perspective of Scarlett. Scarlett is a strong protagonist. She’s charming, funny and cunning. She is surrounded by a cast of quirky characters that come in handy when she starts following the trail of a murderer.
Her burgeoning relationship with Harrison is given a lot of attention. The books have been criticized for failing to effectively bring London to life. While the author provides accurate descriptions of the city, she doesn’t work as hard to explore the life, culture, and traditions of Scarlett’s new home.
Best Hat Shop Mystery Books
The Hat Shop Mystery books are most commonly commended for Jenn McKinlay’s humorous writing style, with some of the best titles in the series including:
At the Drop of a Hat: Scarlett Parker fled the United States to escape the pain and embarrassment of a public break up with her previous lover. She settled down in London to run a ladies’ hat shop with her cousin Vivian Tremont, a decision that has made her life all the more interesting.
Ariana Jackson comes into the shop because she’s getting married and she wants Scarlett and Vivian to restore her mother’s bridal hat and veil which the cousins’ grandmother made decades earlier.
Scarlett and Vivian are more than happy to take the job. Things take a complicated turn when Scarlett visits Ariana at work and finds her standing over a dead body. With Ariana eventually arrested and her wedding on hold, Scarlett and Vivian decide to investigate the murder, if only to secure their client’s happily ever after.
Copy Cap Murder: Scarlett Parker cannot wait to attend her first Bonfire Night with her cousin. Scarlett and Vivian are invited to a posh party by their business manager which they attend, determined to market some of their more outrageous hats.
When it comes time to throw a straw man into the fire, someone decides to feed Harrison’s office rival to the inferno, an occurrence that brings the police into the equation and drives Scarlett and Vivian to investigate the murder to clear their business manager’s name.
Other Book Series You May Like
Many readers also enjoy the “China Bayles” Series by Susan Wittig Albert. China Bayles was a successful criminal lawyer in Houston. She quit her job and bought a herb shop in a small town where she solves murders in between crafting signature herbs.
Be sure to check out the “Taste of Texas Mystery” Series by Rebecca Adler as well. Josie Callahan is a part-time reporter and the head waitress of a restaurant in Texas who somehow finds the time to solve crimes and uncover killers.
What Is The Next Book in The Hat Shop Mystery Series?
There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The Hat Shop Mystery Series. The newest book is Assault & Beret and was released on January, 3rd 2017.