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, December 28, 2015

Our 5 Favorite Cat Cozy Mysteries of 2015

It is once again and already time to select our five favorite cat cozy mysteries of the year. There were lots of tough choices to be made, and it was hard to have to leave some very good reads off the list. In the end, we chose the books that entertained us the most, that made us want to go back and read them again (and still we had to leave some off!). Our favorites have a few common themes: realistic human characters, often with complex relationships or life situations; clever cats who are far more than token characters; a mystery that is fun to try to solve, rather than dark and gruesome; and often, a little magic.

So, in the order in which we originally reviewed them, here are our favorites:

A Midwinter’s Tail by Sofie Kelly, in which librarian Kathleen Paulson gets caught up in a mystery when a woman suddenly dies during a library fundraiser. And of course there are the two magical cats, Owen and Hercules, whose purrsonalities (sorry, I couldn’t resist) are entertaining in themselves.

Meow If It’s Murder by T. C. LoTempio, in which former crime reporter and current sandwich-shop owner Nora Charles teams up with a stocky tuxedo cat to solve a murder in Cruz, California. The cat, Nick, once belonged to a private investigator who has gone missing. We love Nick’s skill with Scrabble tiles, arranging them just so to help Nora spell out clues.

Hiss and Tell by Claire Donally, in which Sunny Coolidge and a gray tom named Shadow become embroiled in the strange goings-on in the lead-up to a high-profile society wedding. The mystery (of course there is a suspicious death) is top-notch, and the scene in which Shadow romps through a posh event while being chased by security is hilarious and worth the price of admission.

Paws and Effect by Leighann Dobbs, in which we see the magical cats of Mystic Notch, New Hampshire, work to protect a mysterious box that must not fall into the hands of those who would use it for evil. This series has ghosts, which we love, but certain ghosts can only be seen by certain people (or cats). We also enjoyed seeing the world through the eyes of Pandora the cat as she matures into her abilities.

Look Both Ways by Carol J. Perry, in which Maralee “Lee” Barrett buys a bureau with a link to a well-known murder and soon finds herself involved in a much more recent murder (and by “recent” I mean “Lee finds the body”). Lee is oh so slowly learning what to do with her gift (or curse) of “gazing,” or seeing visions in shiny objects like the mirror on that bureau. This series features a big yellow-striped cat named O’Ryan who may once have been a witch’s familiar—and boy, is it a good thing for Lee that O’Ryan hangs around!

Friday, December 25, 2015

’Twas the Morning after Christmas

"Where's my Lexus?" asks the cat who did not
receive her top requested Christmas gift.
Photo © Isselee | Dreamstime.com -
European Shorthair, 11 Years Old, Sitting Photo

’Twas the morning after Christmas, when all through the house,
all the creatures were stirring, including the mouse…
and one extremely disappointed fictional cat who did not receive the new Lexus RX 350 she had very specifically requested,
in writing, from this so-called Saint Nick who is in reality nothing but a liar in a bad suit.

The stockings were empty, they’d never been hung,
’cause She of Little Talent hadn’t a clue how it was done.
So old SoLT did not receive any new talent for Christmas (yet another thing the cat had requested specifically, in writing),
which was even more disappointing to the cat than her continuing lack of a Lexus, and let me tell you, that is some kind of disappointing.

The sad cat was nestled all snug in her bed,
just sulking,
no more need be said.

While old SoLT was happy in that dumb hat she likes,
and continued to play Christmas music,
so the Lexus-less cat felt compelled to start a big fight,
because really, what’s Christmas without a fight?

The cat first hissed, and then scratched, and then climbed the fir tree,
and old SoLT grabbed her and shut her in the bathroom for a timeout times three.
Thus proving that life is unfair and Christmas is unjust and that Santa so-called Claus can refuse to lift even his little finger to help out a cat whose one basic need is a luxury car,
and the poor little cat’s complaints will be ignored as she sulks in the sink, which is not even totally dry the way she prefers it to be.

When Christmas is just too disappointing,
take a time out in your local sink.
Also, old SoLT totally messed up the cat’s post-Christmas poem,
which might have been completely different if only she’d hung up that one stocking so Santa could pour some little bit of talent into it,
not that he would actually do that,
since he tends to bring cheap catnip toys when what you really need is a car.

Eventually the poor cat was released from her prison,
and she chased the new toy old SoLT threw across her vision,
running and jumping, her tail all a-swish,
feigning happiness while plotting her next Christmas Eve wish (a.k.a. revenge).

So Merry Christmas indeed, Saint so-called Nick.
And to all a happier Christmas than mine.