Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Book Review: Assault and Beret by Jenn McKinlay (Hat Shop Mysteries #5)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Excellent mystery filled with delightful characters
Cons: One aspect of the plot not explained
The Bottom Line:
Cousins in Paris
Tracking a missing husband
Characters delight

Hold on to Your Hat for Another Fantastic Book

After spending most of 2014 and 2015 catching up on two of Jenn McKinley’s series, I hadn’t read any of her books since April of last year.  I hadn’t realized just how much I missed her writing until I picked up Assault and Beret, the fifth Hat Shop Mystery.  I was quickly whisked right back to her delightful mix of strong characters and fun stories.

If you are just now meeting Vivian Tremont and Scarlett Parker, I don’t recommend you pop in here.  In fact, just talking about this book will spoil a few things in the on-going storylines for the characters.  But fans of the series will be thrilled with how cliffhangers from the previous two books are resolved here.

You see, cousins Vivian and Scarlett are in Paris for this book.  Vivian, a master hat maker, is there to teach a class.  Scarlett’s along for moral support, but she has another agenda.  She is there to track down Will, Vivian’s husband.  The two eloped a couple years ago, and then Vivian left him just after their honeymoon.  Now, she wants to find him to get an annulment.

Scarlett finds Will, and he is delighted at the prospect of reuniting with Vivian.  Even Vivian’s resolve to get an annulment seems to waiver when she goes to see him.  But a night out together, with Scarlett as the chaperone, ends in horror when the cousins watch Will being forced into a waiting car.  Now Scarlett has to track down Will to figure out what happened to her cousin-in-law.  Can she do it?

I seem to be running across a number of books in a row that break from the traditional cozy plot, and I absolutely love that.  The book starts out with the search for Will, and while we know that is just setting up the main plot, it is still engaging.  Once Will is kidnapped, things really picked up and we are off on another delightful romp.  Kidnapping might not be the normal crime in a cozy, but I loved that break with tradition.  Of course, as Scarlett investigates, things get more complicated and confusing.  One aspect of the plot is never explained, although it is easy to come up with a plausible explanation for everything based on what happens in the page turning climax.

Since this book is set in Paris instead of the normal London, I wasn’t sure how much of the regular cast of characters we’d see.  I’m delighted to say that they manage to find their way over to help as the case progresses.  I truly love them, and they are as entertaining as ever here.  We meet some charming new characters as well.

The romances in this series have been quite interesting, and if you’ve been reading the series, you’ll know what I mean.  Things progress nicely on that front as well, enhancing the characters without slowing down the book.

Fans of the series will be delighted with Assault and Beret.  And if you’ve missed this delightful series, pick it up today.  These characters will charm you as you enjoy the excellent mystery.

Here are the rest of the Hat Shop Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.


Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Tuesday, January 17th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 1/17.  You will have until midnight on 1/22 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 1/23.


  1. Sounds so good Thanks for the chance to win a copy especially print as disabled and can't do ebooks! ptclayton2@aol.com

  2. Thanks Mark. Loved the review and I look forward to reading the book. It has been confirmed that this will be the last book in this series right? Jenn McKinlay is one of the best cozy authors out right now. I look forward to reading thee romance book she is putting out later this year. I don't read romances but if it's written by her I won't miss it. Thanks for the chance.
    Rlewis11797 ( at) yahoo (dot) com

  3. Thanks for chance. I want to read. Janngrogan@yahoo.com

  4. Assault and Beret sounds great. Thank you for the chance.

  5. Thanks for the awesome review! You are always tough but fair and you "get" me :) - LOVE it!!!

  6. Enjoyed your review. Sounds like a book I would like to read. Thanks for a chance to win a copy. elainehroberson@gmail.com

  7. I liked your review. Looking forward to reading this! mommatoodle at msn dot com

  8. I liked your review. Looking forward to reading this! mommatoodle at msn dot com

  9. Would love to read this one! It sounds like good. Thank you!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  10. What a fun review, I can feel your excitement! Can't wait to read it!

  11. I love Jenn McKinlay's books. Would love to win a copy of Assault and Beret. Thanks for the chance. vlhcats@gmail.com

  12. Great review of a favorite author's latest! Thanks, Mark.

  13. Great review on the book!! Would love to read it. Thank you for the giveaway! Piogkm19@aol.com

  14. I really need to read this series! Great review.

  15. would love to read this book..love this series..

  16. I like everything I am reading about this series. I haven't read any of her books, but I would like that to change. dmh5858@msn.com