Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Harrowing Hats (A Renaissance Faire Mystery, #4)” as Want to Read:
Harrowing Hats (A Renaissance Faire Mystery, #4)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Harrowing Hats

(A Renaissance Faire Mystery #4)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  346 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Working as a hat-maker in the Renaissance Faire Village is pretty sweet for Jessie Morton-until one of the fair's chocolatiers is found drowned in a vat of chocolate in his shop. Now Jessie must sort through a long list of knaves, knights, and wenches who might have wanted to see the chocolatier double-dipped and dead.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Berkley
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Harrowing Hats, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Harrowing Hats

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  346 ratings  ·  40 reviews

More filters
Sort order
It's the final week in our readathon and I've just finished reading the fourth book in the Renaissance Faire Mystery series by Joyce and Jim Lavene -- Harrowing Hats. As I've come to realize, each book gets better, but on the whole, I'm not an ardent fan of the series. I like some of the characters, the overall setting, and the general writing style, but there are too many aspects I didn't like to make this a series I'd recommend to others. Part of me wants to continue to see what happens with J ...more
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I still love this series and the setting in the Adventure Land Renaissance Faire. The Characters are well developed and they still continue to be pointed out in a great fashion. The mystery of this book is fine, in fact it had me going around in circles for a time. I was a bit disappointed in Jessie's apprenticeship though. She was to be working for the hat maker and most of the time she was either late or talking movies with the hat maker who used to work in Hollywood. Little was talked about t ...more
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
SUMMARY: Working as a hat-maker in the Renaissance Faire Village is pretty sweet for Jessie Morton-until one of the fair's chocolatiers is found drowned in a vat of chocolate in his shop. Now Jessie must sort through a long list of knaves, knights, and wenches who might have wanted to see the chocolatier double-dipped and dead.

REVIEW: A great, easy-to-read cozy mystery that takes place in the midst of a Renaissance Faire Village in South Carolina. Loved the setting, great plot, and enough twists
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads
More adventures at the Renaissance Fair! This time Jessie ends up working in the hat shop, but as always murder disturbs the village. Fun series, and good mystery, which was more true to life than some stories of crazed serial killers stalking the land. Good read.
Diane ~Firefly~
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, ftc
This year Jessie is apprenticing at the Hat makers. And by now you think everyone would reject her just because whomever she is apprenticing usually ends up a suspect in a murder. There is also a new group of Templars at the Faire causing conflict with the regulars. Unfortunately when one of the Three Chocolatiers is murdered, Jessie's boss, Andre is suspect and she is determined to help clear him.

I still enjoy the characters and the setting as both continue to grow with the books.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
In this installment, Jessie apprentices to a hatmaker. The Renaissance Faire has a new attraction, the Knights of Templar. And there's a murder to be solved. The hatmaker has a past...and not everyone is what they seem to be.

Jessie continues to be headstrong and the relationship between her and Chase had its ups and downs. I dreaded getting to the end of the book as I felt that a bad thing was going to happen with a prank, but it all turned out in the end. A fun read.

Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This series features Jessie Morton, an assistant history professor at the University of South Carolina at Columbia. Each summer she returns to Renaissance Faire Village to work as an apprentice for her dissertation - "The Proliferation of Medieval Crafts in Modern Times".

This summer she is working with Andre Hariot at Harriet's Hat House. Andre used to work in Hollywood making hats for many famous movies but something drove him away and he ended up at the Renaissance Faire Village.

Living at the
Dec 29, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked this book well enough and I will try another of the series, but I like the authors' other series better, especially The Missing Pieces Mystery series.
I'm not sure if it's the setting of an entire Renaissance village or the cutesy names of each shop and eatery that irritated me.
Or it might have been the insecurity of the main character, Jessie, with her boyfriend, the Village Bailiff, Chase Manhattan...(really)....apparently every woman just waits for Jessie to no longer hold interest f
Nov 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
There are times I wish that Goodreads allowed 1/2 stars. This is one of those times because really I'm between liking this one and really liking it. There are elements of the story that I really enjoy and yet the mystery itself wasn't that exciting for me. It got to the point that by the time we found out who killed the chocolatier, I just didn't care. But there were other parts of the story that I thoroughly enjoyed, such as Jessie & Chase's relationship and the way it grows through this st ...more
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the fourth book in this series. Jessie works summers and university breaks at a Renaissance Village where her boyfriend works full time as the baliff. Each time she interns for a different crafter for her dissertation. This time it's hats.
Someone has killed one of the Three Chocolatiers, candy makers extrordinare, and Jessie is caught up in the investigation. Also, there's a new group at the Village, the Knights Templar, and they are causing all kinds of problems for the other entertain
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
If you are OK with suspending judgement, and ignoring continuity concerns, this is a delightful series for you.
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
"Harrowing Hats" is a cozy mystery set in a permanent Renaissance Faire attraction. The vivid setting details take you into daily life as a worker/actor at a Renaissance Faire. The varied, memorable characters were engaging. Jessie and her boyfriend dealt with realistic relationship uncertainties and problems, especially considering the general bed-hopping behavior of the other characters and in their own past.

Suspense was created by physical danger to Jessie and by wondering how her relationshi
Susan Ferguson
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
As always, I enjoy the books in this series. Jessie is at the Renaissance Faire again. She is apprenticed to Andre Hariot, the hatmaker who used to work in movies making hats for the stars. Most of his hats are custom-made to order and he makes all the hats for the different workers at the Faire. He also designs an individual hatpin for each customer. An idiosyncrasy that comes in handy in solving the murder of the bossy head chocolatier of the Three Chocolateers.

Jessie has no apprenticeship set
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I didn't realize this was part of a series until I'd already started it. Fortunately for me, the way the story is laid out it didn't really matter. The premise/setting is unusual and the setting vividly described, with lots of colorful inhabitants of the Renaissance Village. The characters that play a more prominent role are pretty well rounded and the plot flow is smooth, with a good integration of fun, mixed in with Jessie's sleuthing. Chase is a typical hero and a nice guy...but he most defin ...more
Oct 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cozy, mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dharia Scarab
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Since I don't normally write reviews unless I have something specific to say, here's the break down of how I rate my books...

1 star... This book was bad, so bad I may have given up and skipped to the end. I will avoid this author like the plague in the future.

2 stars... This book was not very good, and I won't be reading any more from the author.

3 stars... This book was ok, but I won't go out of my way to read more, But if I find another book by the author for under a dollar I'd pick it up.

4 sta
Julie P
Nov 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Considering the previous three books in this series, I'd have to say that this one reads the best of all. The author(s) have finally let the Renaissance Village characters be themselves instead of, well, Renaissance village "characters." Personally, I'd love to see what Jessie looks like because apparently the men just can't seem to stop hitting on her. And honestly, this gets to be a bit much. I get it that she is brave, and nosy, and relatively friendly to everyone, but she comes across as a k ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
The best part of this book is the Renaissance Faire setting. How can such characters and situations not be fun and clever? The answer is that they most certainly give this book a unique and creative background for the action. However, the only thing good about the book "is" the background. The rest is just boring silliness. Think of this book as an "I Love Lucy" episode in an alternate universe (where "I Love Lucy" stinks). Instead of Lucy trying to get into show business behind performer Ricky' ...more
Jesse's original plans for the summer fall through and she ends up apprenticing to Andre, the hat-maker. Chase's summer is also being rearranged by circumstance. The new Templar attraction is causing a lot of irritation and heartache around the village. Both he and Jesse are distracted by the mismatched loves and spats of couples around them, but did any of these quarrels or the hat-maker's old stalkers have a hand in murdering the womanizing chocolatier?
Dec 06, 2011 rated it liked it
This is the 4th book in the cozy/amateur sleuth Renaissance faire mystery series. Jessie Morton is apprenticing to a hat maker this time. One of the chocolatiers is found drowned in a vat of chocolate with a hat pin in his eye. Jessie finds herself in the middle once again of finding who dunnit. The Knights Templar are living at the Faire now and that adds a new dimension. Jessie is growing on me. I still love a good Renaissance Faire!
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was written for the fun of a Renaissance Faire. The unique way it's written is that everyone plays a part. Lady Jessie becomes an apprenticeship at a Hat Maker. The hat maker Andre becomes a suspect in the murder of one of the Chocolate maker brothers. The underlying characters also stand out.
Aug 27, 2011 rated it liked it
I took this on vacation as a relaxing read. Both my sister and I read it -- with polar opposite reactions. While I found it entertaining (after all, I like Ren fairs, hats, chocolate and straightforward mysteries...) she found it shallow, dull, and predictable. This is the first book in this series that I read. I'd read another, but my sister certainly would not.
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
Jessie is back at the Ren Faire during another break in school. She finally gets an apprenticeship in Harriet's Hat House. But one of the 3 chocolatier brother is found dead and Jessie's hatmaking boss is the prime suspect.
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a fun mystery set in a renaissance festival setting. The downside for me is that the renaissance festival in the book is a permanent village that is open all year round. This kind of bugs me since there isn't a renaissance festival like that. But it is a fun read.
May 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Liked it more than I expected to. It's mass chaos and ridiculous, but it's curiously engaging.
Alyssa White
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozy-mystery
A Renaissance festival murder mystery?! It is like a dream come true for me! Chocolate dipped murder. Another great book by this joint writer.
May 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
The heroine is a bit annoying but it's a fun read.
Oct 12, 2011 rated it liked it
A little like the others but I finished it. Unusual setting for a cozy.
Sharon Chance
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My absolute favorite book of the series so far!
Tracy Briggs
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another instalment in a great series. Wonderful to visit Jessie and Chase and all the renaissance faire characters. Joyce and Jim Lavene score again.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ink Flamingos (Tattoo Shop Mystery, #4)
  • Rosolio Red (Franki Amato Mysteries #2.5)
  • A Killer Column (Mystery by the Numbers, #2)
  • Finger Lickin' Dead (A Memphis BBQ Mystery, #2)
  • Liver Let Die (A Clueless Cook Mystery, #1)
  • Murder Off the Books (Sullivan Investigations Mystery, #1)
  • Pleating for Mercy (A Magical Dressmaking Mystery, #1)
  • Dire Threads (Threadville Mystery, #1)
  • Cries & Whiskers (Theda Krakow, #3)
  • How to Party with a Killer Vampire (Party Planning, #4)
  • Grace Interrupted (Manor House Mystery, #2)
  • Drip Dead (A Georgiana Neverall Mystery #3)
  • While My Pretty One Knits (Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, #1)
  • Town in a Blueberry Jam (A Candy Holliday Mystery, #1)
  • A Murderous Glaze (Clay and Crime, #1)
  • Unraveled (A Knitting Mystery, #9)
  • Set Sail for Murder (Henrie O, #7)
  • Deadly Notions (A Southern Sewing Circle, #4)
See similar books…
aka Elyssa Henry and Joye Ames, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant

Joyce Lavene and Jim Lavene are a wife and husband team who have written and published more than 70 books since 1999. They live in North Carolina with their family and enjoy cooking, photography and ghost hunting.

Other books in the series

A Renaissance Faire Mystery (8 books)
  • Wicked Weaves (A Renaissance Faire Mystery, #1)
  • Ghastly Glass (A Renaissance Faire Mystery, #2)
  • Deadly Daggers (A Renaissance Faire Mystery, #3)
  • Treacherous Toys (A Renaissance Faire Mystery, #5)
  • Murderous Matrimony (A Renaissance Faire Mystery #6)
  • Bewitching Boots (A Renaissance Faire Mystery #7)
  • Fatal Fairies (A Renaissance Faire Mystery #8)