Book Review: DEATH OF A MAD HATTER by Jenn McKinlay

Series: Hat Shop Mystery, #2
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★

Scarlett Parker and her British cousin, Vivian Tremont, are hard at work at Mim’s Whims—their ladies’ hat shop on London’s chic Portobello Road—to create hats for an Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea, a fund-raiser for a local children’s hospital. It seems like a wonderfully whimsical way to pass the hat, and 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. When traces of the poison are found on the hat Scarlett and Viv made for him, the police become curiouser and curiouser about their involvement. Now the ladies need to don their thinking caps and find the tea party crasher who’s mad enough to kill at the drop of a hat…

DEATH OF A MAD HATTER was great fun to read.  This time around, cousins Scarlett and Vivian are hired to design hats for a special charity event. The wealthy Grisby family is hosting an Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea to raise money for expansion on a local children’s hospital. Each family member is wearing a fanciful hat inspired by characters from Alice in Wonderland. Guests are having a merry time until the Mad Hatter hat wearer ends up dead in the garden, and Scarlett and Viv are once again pulled into a murder investigation.

I liked being back with the girls at Mim’s Whims. Their hat shop sounds so charming, and I love its Notting Hill location. While Viv is the hat designer and maker, Scarlett prefers waiting on customers and ringing up sales. Scarlett is a gregarious and empathetic person, though she can be childish at times, especially when she’s jealous! She’s also a clever and determined amateur sleuth who won’t stop until the culprit is exposed. Vivian, on the other hand, is still a bit of a mystery. Yeah, she’s withholding something big about herself, and I hope that we get to know her better in the next book.

DEATH OF A MAD HATTER was an enjoyable continuation of the Hat Shop Mystery series. Light, witty, and fun. The mystery was intriguing with lots of viable suspects. We get to learn more about the cousins’ business manager Harrison and his involvement with the shop. Scarlett and Harrison continue to dance around the fact that they’re mad for each other, which made for some funny and frustrating moments. I do wish they’d stop butting heads already!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.