Genre: cozy mystery
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?
When Scarlett’s life is turned upside down, when she discovered that her boyfriend was not seperated from his wife at all, but celebrating their anniversary with a very lavish party. Scarlett became an instead hit on the internet when someone filmed how she attacked the man by throwing the expensive cake at him. Her cousin Vivian demands that Scarlett comes to London, and work with her in the millinery they both inherited from their grandmother, Mim. Viv is a genius when it comes to creating hats, but Scarlett is an absolute disaster when it comes to crafty things. But, she is an amazing sales woman, and that is also needed in the shop.
When Scarlett arrives in London, she is not awaited by her cousin, but by a strange man, who tells her he was asked by Viv to pick her up. Scarlett doesn’t really trust the man, because why wouldn’t her cousin be there? If she has disappeared, how come no one knows where to? And so Scarlett is left on her own to run the shop, and help the customers. Lucky for her, Viv has a gifted apprentice who knows the ropes and together they manage just fine.
Scarlett also makes some new friends when she goes out into the rain one evening to get some dinner. The shop down the street is turned into a photography studio, and she promised an important client to do a photoshoot with her in the new hat she just bought. Nick and Andre are a great couple, and they quickly become good friends.
The man who fetched Scarlett at the airport is not a stranger after all, they knew each other as kids, and Scarlett once broke his heart. He has never quite forgiven her for that. Now he is Viv’s bookkeeper, and he usually knows where she has gone off to, as Viv has a habit of disappearing at the drop of a hat. But this time Harrison is clueless and finally he begins to worry as well when Viv does not contact him. She has only send two emails to her mother, telling that she is fine.
The police can only tell them that she has taken flight to Africa, and nothing else. But then trouble starts, when the important client is found murdered, wearing only her new hat and nothing else. The shop is broken into, Scarlett is almost killed in her bed, and no one can make any sense as to what is happening and why. And so Scarlett is determined to find out who wanted her client dead, and she starts looking at the victim’s closest friends first. But how can she get those important society ladies to talk to her?
I enjoyed this first book by Amanda Cooper, I especially loved the quaint English sayings. I liked all the main characters from the start, and was so curious as what has happened with Viv, where did she go to? And the murder mystery, that was a good one, I did not figure it out in time. There is some romantic tension between Scarlett and Harrison, that was fun to follow. The police inspector on the case was a character as well, with apparently a great singing voice.
This story is entertaining, well written and I will certainly pick up the next book soon. I am almost tempted to buy a hat myself ...
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian