Cloche and Dagger

Hat Shop Mystery Series # 1
Narrated by: Karyn O'Bryant
Series: Hat Shop Mystery Series, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 7 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (653 ratings)

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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

Critic Reviews

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

What listeners say about Cloche and Dagger

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Charming story. Disappointing ending.

I enjoyed this book.
Love the playful banter.
Fun characters.
I wish Scarlett was more moral. ( I know, she's young.) Or That she learns to be more principled throughout the stories: Respecting marriage vows and telling the truth. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but there it is.
I will probably avoid this author in the future.
I want to read about people I can look up to. Is that too church ladyish?

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Cute, Modern, British Mystery!

What I enjoyed:
-the British accents. I think the narrator did a good job hopping between American and different types of British. I was really impressed with her ability and it made the book more enjoyable.
-I couldn't tell who had done it.
-The hat shop angle was unique and cute. It made me want to travel to London and return with one!
-the side of romance. It was enough to keep it interesting, but not the whole focus to be boring.
-There also is no sex scene, and the swearing is minimal. I'd rate it a conservative PG-13, for those that care. There is a homosexual couple that are side characters.

This book made me feel like I'd vacationed in London while doing my chores. I'd recommend it for anyone wanting a fun escape, with some humor, a lot of mystery, good writing, and some cute romance.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great New Series

I loved the social media shame then vindication. Love that it's set in London. I'm listening to Death of a Mad Hatter now!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

Nowhere near as good as the authors Library Series. Readable if you want something light, easy, and pure froth. Totally without substance. Characters too beyond quirky to be anywhere near believable.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Narrator talks soooooo slow!

I had to increase the speed just to make it bearable to listen to. Even then I only made it a few chapters in before I gave up. The story couldn’t hold my attention and the performance wasn’t great.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Either porrly written, poorly read or both

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

No one that I can think of. This book is poorly written and the narrator only made it worse.

Would you ever listen to anything by Jenn McKinlay again?

Probably not.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

She has a way of making the book sound like a primary reader. She may have had very poor material but her voice and method of reading made a bad book sound worse.

What character would you cut from Cloche and Dagger?

All of them. Very poorly written.

Any additional comments?

Don't bother.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I can't believe how much I liked this!

I just wanted a quick summer read- and this was perfect! light, funny, great characters, fabulous setting! yes there were some stereotypical tropes but I want looking for anything particularly deep. Just fun and interesting. I can't wait to read the next one!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Main character immature and annoying, as was the plot.

I wish I had found a new series to like, but the main character was rather irritating, more like a petulant teenager than a thoughtful adult. I’d blame the narrator but I believe she was actually just performing her as she was written. Also, many of the plot elements were rather far fetched and the mystery was almost a side plot. Everything is resolved quickly in the last two chapters, as if the author suddenly realized she was running out of paper.