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Assault and Beret

Cover of Assault and Beret

Assault and Beret

Hat Shop Mystery Series, Book 5
Allons-y to Paris for more hats and homicide from the New York Times bestselling author of Copy Cap Murder!
London milliner Vivian Tremont and her American cousin and partner, Scarlett Parker, tip their caps to their beloved shop on Portobello Road in Notting Hill and set off for Paris, where Viv can't wait to teach a hat-making class. But she has another reason to travel to the City of Light: to find the man she impulsively eloped with years ago and have their marriage annulled.

William Graham is not only handsome and charming, but he also has a glamorous job as an insurance investigator who works with priceless pieces of art, most recently a small Renoir that has been discovered in a junk shop. But when both Will and the masterpiece suddenly disappear, it's up to the ladies from London to follow the trail of clues. They'll need to hold on to their chapeaux, however, because someone is a master in the art of deception...
Allons-y to Paris for more hats and homicide from the New York Times bestselling author of Copy Cap Murder!
London milliner Vivian Tremont and her American cousin and partner, Scarlett Parker, tip their caps to their beloved shop on Portobello Road in Notting Hill and set off for Paris, where Viv can't wait to teach a hat-making class. But she has another reason to travel to the City of Light: to find the man she impulsively eloped with years ago and have their marriage annulled.

William Graham is not only handsome and charming, but he also has a glamorous job as an insurance investigator who works with priceless pieces of art, most recently a small Renoir that has been discovered in a junk shop. But when both Will and the masterpiece suddenly disappear, it's up to the ladies from London to follow the trail of clues. They'll need to hold on to their chapeaux, however, because someone is a master in the art of deception...
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  • From the book Chapter 1

    "You know everyone says that French waiters are rude, but I don't think our waiter is rude at all," I said to my cousin, Vivian Tremont. "He seems very pleasant."

    "That's because he's trying to sleep with you, Scarlett," Vivian said. "Why do you think our bottle of La Bodice Cheverny was on the house?"

    "Seriously? Free wine for a tussle in the sheets, do I look that easy?" I asked. "Well, that is rude."

    "Uh-huh," she said. Which was only slightly better than "I told you so," but not much.

    It was late evening in Paris, the City of Light, and we were enjoying a nosh as Viv, who is British, would say. We were seated inside the Bistro Renee on Rue Saint Charles.

    The bitter wind that whipped down the smaller streets from the Seine River could not get us here. We had ducked inside to eat but also to get warm.

    Thankfully, the food did not disappoint. I ordered quail with roasted spring onions while Viv indulged in suckling pig with salsify, which is a lot like a parsnip, and we shared a baguette seasoned with the mellow heat of the Espelette pepper from the Basque region, or so our waiter, David, informed us when asked.

    He was very charming and quite good-looking with his wavy dark hair and golden eyes. He told us his father owned the bistro, which was named for his mother, Renee, who had passed away when David was just a boy. Honestly, he broke my heart a little with that story but not enough to have a sleepover with him.

    The small restaurant was everything a late meal in Paris should be. Candlelight, soft music in the background, an exotic blossom of some sort in a blue bottle on our small square table swathed in a pristine white cloth with matching napkins.

    The crumbs of the baguette and the near empty bottle of sauvignon blanc sat on the table between us. We had scraped our plates clean. We did share as only cousins who live together like sisters can with some squabbling over what exactly was equitable and over who had ordered the tastier dish. I had, but Viv refused to admit it because I am her younger American cousin and she refuses to acknowledge that I am just as cultured as she is.

    I glanced out the window. It was beautiful but it was not exactly the Paris of my dreams. Instead of sitting on an outside patio enjoying the warm floral-scented breeze of spring, we were swathed in scarves and sweaters, sitting inside a small cafŽ watching a January snowfall.

    Why were we here? Here's the short version. Viv is an acclaimed London milliner hired to teach a one-week hat-making class at the local art school. I am Scarlett Parker, not just her cousin but also part owner in our millinery business housed on Portobello Road in Notting Hill, London, which we inherited six years ago from our grandmother Mim.

    Now because I know you're going to ask, since everyone does, the answer is no, positively, unequivocally no. I can't make a hat to save my life. So what am I doing here with her?

    I'm sorry, did you miss the part that we're in Paris? Yes, even in January it's still Paris. Besides, the fact is that while Viv is an amazing artist, she's not the best with people. That's where I come in.

    Viv being a creative type is known to occasionally be impulsive. I am generally the voice of reason when this happens but unfortunately when she decided on a whim to elope, she neglected to mention it to me thus I couldn't stop her. This was a couple of years ago while I was busy ruining my own life in a bad relationship.

    In hindsight, we were both reeling from the loss of our grandmother Mim and neither of us were making good choices in our grief. Why is hindsight always so much...
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Assault and Beret
Assault and Beret
Hat Shop Mystery Series, Book 5
Jenn McKinlay
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