A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Review of “Hiss and Tell,” the Latest Sunny & Shadow Mystery

Is it wrong to do wrong to do good?

If that question confused you, don’t worry: that just means you’re probably a nice, reasonable person who would not dream of coercing people into doing things for you. But I’m getting ahead of myself and jumping to the conclusion of the delightful latest Sunny & Shadow mystery from Claire Donally, Hiss and Tell, when we really should begin at the beginning.

The beginning brings us back to Kittery Harbor, Maine, Sunny Coolidge’s hometown. Sunny used to be a journalist in New York City, but now she works for a little adventure-travel company and looks after her dad. She also looks after a big gray tomcat named Shadow. She is accompanied in much of this by hunky boyfriend Will, who is a local constable currently running for sheriff.

Our heroine gets drawn into a soon-to-be mystery when the local paper sends her to cover a press conference about a high-profile society wedding set to take place at a nearby private compound. Later that night, a woman who was part of the wedding party get-together dies under suspicious circumstances. The deed must have been done by an insider, someone who is involved with the wedding.

This brings us to a lukewarm tip Sunny gets from her former boss/boyfriend about a blackmailer called the Taxman. This mysterious ne’er-do-well is said to be a “cross between Robin Hood and the Godfather.” But that’s all just some kind of urban legend—isn’t it?

Sunny next has the great good fortune to get herself embedded in the wedding party goings-on. Her mission: ostensibly to write upbeat blog posts about the get-together while also investigating the guests to identify a killer…and to play a little beer pong, too.

Oh, and Shadow goes along for the ride, unbeknownst to Sunny. But when Sunny ends up in real trouble, it’s just a good thing for her that the cat tagged along.

It’s a good thing for us, too, because Shadow’s appearances are some of the best parts of the book. From his perspective, people are “two-legs,” dogs are “biscuit eaters,” and a car is a “go fast.” Oh, and he speculates that Sunny is embarrassed about him seeing her naked because she has so little fur (makes sense to me).

And then there is one good old-fashioned, cat-chasing romp through a posh event, in a scene we would really love to see on a movie screen. After that, an overzealous security detail is out to get Shadow, Sunny is out to find Shadow without letting on that the trouble-making feline belongs to her, and Shadow is out to get back to Sunny—or not—and figure out what the heck is going on.

All that brings me back to my original question: Is it wrong to do wrong to do good?

You’ll have to discover the answer for yourself in the latest installment in this engaging, well-written series. Highly recommended!

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