Secrets are sneaky little things and they always escape, no matter how hard you try to hold them, like smoke through your fingers.
My name is Vivian Tremont and I’m a milliner in the shop I inherited from my grandmother Mim. My American cousin Scarlett Parker and I run Mim’s Whims together. It is good to have Scarlett here with me as she is much better with people than I am. She is the balm to my erratic artistic temperament and since we spent our school holidays together, it is more like being in business with a sister than a cousin.
Now my days are supposed to consist of hours spent gluing feathers onto fascinators and hand stitching elaborate borders onto wedding veils, but my life hasn’t been like that for a while. In fact, sometimes when I look at my life, I don’t even recognize it. And much as I love her, I know for a fact, it is all Scarlett’s fault.
Mind you, I love her gift for dealing with people. When we have an annoying customer that I find too difficult to deal with, Scarlett manages to smooth what could easily become a nasty altercation into a satisfactory interaction. Of course, the flipside to this is that Scarlett’s customer service tends to get us into some rather awkward situations.
For instance, take our current predicament. Ariana Jackson came to us with her late mother’s bridal hat. She wanted to wear it in her own wedding so that she could have a part of her mother with her on her special day. It was especially sentimental for us as it was designed by Mim over thirty years ago. So, naturally, we were eager to take the job.
Unfortunately, when Scarlett went to meet with Ariana to discuss the cost of the refurbishment, she found Ariana kneeling beside the body of her boss, who had fallen several stories to his death. Ghastly!
Now a normal person would take in this horrid situation, call the police, and back away without a second thought but not Scarlett. Oh, no, the next thing I knew she had me visiting our client at the Notting Hill police station, where Ariana convinced us of her innocence by sharing her darkest, most personal secret with us.
Her candor convinced us that she wasn’t guilty and we agreed that we would do whatever we could to see her free from suspicion. Now, our poor intern Fiona Felton is manning the shop while we race all over London, with our friends Nick and Andre, trying to find someone else who wanted Ariana’s boss dead. To our dismay, it appears to be a pretty long list.
Meanwhile, our business manager Harrison Wentworth has hired a friend to try and help Ariana with her defense. Alistair Tucker, a noted defense attorney, agrees to take the case. I have to admit I find Alistair quite dishy, but as the case heats up and things between Alistair and I get equally warm, I have to shut everyone out, including my cousin Scarlett for I have secrets of my own that I dare not let out.
To find out what Vivian’s secret is, be sure to read At the Drop of a Hat, the third book in the “Hat Shop” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first two books in the series are Cloche and Dagger and Death of a Mad Hatter.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on March 6 for the chance to win a copy of At the Drop of a Hat Book. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.
About the author
Jenn McKinlay is the New York Times bestselling author of the Library Lover’s mysteries, the Cupcake Bakery mysteries and the London Hat Shop mysteries. Clearly, writing gives her an excuse to read, eat, and travel. It’s a perfect career for sure. Jenn lives in Scottsdale, AZ in a house overrun with kids, pets and her husband’s guitars.
Visit Jenn at www.jennmckinlay.com