It's only appropriate to celebrate Jenn McKinlay's latest Hat Shop Mystery, Copy Cap Murder, with fireworks. It's a mystery that starts with Guy Fawkes Day and murder, but also serves up a healthy portion of romantic fireworks.
While Scarlett Parker, the American co-owner of the London hat shop, Mim's Whims, is on her eighth month of not dating, that doesn't mean she's any less interested in her friend and business manager, Harrison Wentworth. So, Scarlett, her cousin, Vivian, and their friends are excited when Harrison issues an invitation to his firm's Guy Fawkes party. But, even posh parties include sloppy drunks. When Winthrop Dashavoy accosts Scarlett, Harrison defends her. Of course, when Winthrop, Harrison's office rival and lifelong enemy, ends up dead, the fight puts Harrison right on top of the suspect list.
As usual, Scarlett and Viv team up to ask a few inappropriate questions. While Harrison appreciates their concern, he's worried the two women have made themselves targets. And, when Scarlett is followed by someone in a Guy Fawkes mask, she knows she's stirred up trouble.
Copy Cap Murder may be one of Jenn McKinlay's best stories. Scarlett is settling into her new life, although she's terribly homesick, missing her parents. McKinlay throws a crumb to readers of her Library Lover's mysteries by mentioning that Scarlett's parents recently bought a cottage in Briar Creek, Connecticut, where there's "a lively library". And, there's a great deal of sexual tension as Scarlett tries to keep her hands off Harrison with her no dating policy. Fortunately, McKinlay doesn't make the mistake of adding a second romantic interest to the mix when readers are already fond of Harrison.
Copy Cap Murder is a treat, with a surprising villain. While Scarlett mentions feeling "comforted and cared for", the reader will feel the same. McKinlay's combination of humor, mystery, sexual tension, and friendship between her wonderful characters makes this an enjoyable series.
Jenn McKinlay's website is www.jennmckinlay.com
Copy Cap Murder by Jenn McKinlay. Berkley Prime Crime. 2016. ISBN 9780425279588 (paperback), 292p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.