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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Death of a Mad Hatter (Hat Shop Mystery, #2)

Death of a Mad Hatter - Jenn McKinlay

Another Jenn McKinlay series, the newest of the three she currently publishes under that name, Death of a Mad Hatter was a light, entertaining read.  It's only the second book of the Hat Shop Series, so the author hasn't had a chance yet to screw with the characters.  I've enjoyed these first two books but I'm viewing them as a honeymoon period - at some point the honeymoon will end and a love triangle will be introduced and characters will be screwed with.  Until then, I'm cherishing the time I have with likeable characters, a great setting, and a good murder mystery.


Summary:  Scarlett Parker and her cousin, Vivian Tremont, are hard at work at their ladies’ hat shop on London’s chic Portobello Road to create hats for an Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea.  Scarlett and Viv are delighted to outfit the Grisby family, the hosts who are hoping to raise enough money to name a new hospital wing after their patriarch.  Unfortunately, the Grisby heir will not live to see it—he’s been poisoned, with traces of the poison found on the hat Viv made for him.


I gave 5 stars to the first book Cloche and Dagger, and while this book was very good, it wasn't as good as the first.  Scarlett is less likeable, more shallow.  She's vowed to go one year without dating - a worthy goal.  Unfortunately the reader has to put up with her going on ad nauseum about how she's not at all attracted to Harrison. It not only gets old, but makes her look like an idiot - Harrison is hot, kind, smart and successful.  Why any hetero woman would deny being attracted to that package is beyond me.  It is possible to say "yes, I'm insanely attracted; no, I'm not going to date you".  Her constant desire to run away every time Harrison is around and the fact that she does run away - or sneak away more accurately - also paints her in a childish light.  I mean come on, your an adult, act like one.  It's only a minor irritant over the course of the story, and I suspect Scarlett will be beyond such nonsense in the next book, but it's what niggled at me as I read. My rating of this book was also dinged by the incredibly TSTL move Scarlett made at the end.  Really, really dumb.


The mystery itself was really very well done.  I was completely suckered in.  Never saw it coming.  


Reading this, one might take away only my criticisms but it really is a fun read.  The things I mention are small, and they don't ruin the enjoyment of the story as a whole.  If not for the absolutely fabulous first book, Cloche and Dagger, I probably wouldn't have even noticed most of it.  I eagerly look forward to the third book.