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, November 7, 2016

Book Review: High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides

On this Mysterious Monday, we are pleased to bring you our review of High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides, the latest Happy Hoofers mystery by Mary McHugh. This is book 5 in the series, which sends a group of dancing friends around the world strutting their stuff—and solving mysteries along the way.

Mary Louise has some problems

One of the Happy Hoofers is Mary Louise, and Mary Louise has a problem. His name is George. George is her husband, and he’s not happy with her constant activity—that doesn’t center on him. She is a housewife, as he reminds her in the book’s opening pages, and all this dancing and traveling is interfering with her ability to take care of him. Now the Hoofers are getting ready to dance with the Rockettes—you know, at Radio City Music Hall? In the Christmas show? Yes, it’s kind of a big deal, so I think we can forgive Mary Louise for being peeved with George and his lack of support.

That brings us to Mary Louise’s second problem. His name is Mike. Mike is dreamy. He doesn’t criticize her. He listens to her. He makes her laugh. He’s ready to sweep her up and take her away from that humdrum life she’s living with George.

But is that what she wants? A significant part of this book is concerned with answering that question.

Who’s killing Rockettes?

The other question that needs answering is, who’s killing Rockettes, and why? This unfortunate question comes up after Glenna, the Hoofers’ main ally among the famous dancers, is found dead, mangled in some machinery. Accident…or murder? The same question comes up again after a second death.

Mary Louise is one busy lady. In between rehearsals (in forty-pound Santa outfits—did I mention the Hoofers are not young dancers?) and meet-ups in the city with Mike, she manages to get way too close to the reason behind the murders, she keeps things together with George, and she cooks a lot. Before everything gets straightened out, her own life could be in danger.

Yes, there’s a cat

There is a cat who plays a supporting role in this book. She’s a tabby named Ranger who hangs around the music hall and is sort of the Rockettes’ mascot. Ranger is not a major player in the plot, though she does give the Hoofers a warning at an important point. Purrs to Ranger!

Our verdict

I will tell you right now, if you don’t enjoy reading about relationships and cooking, this is probably not the book for you, because those subjects are a major part of the narrative. If you do enjoy reading about the intricacies of relationships and you like to cook, you’ll probably trip head over heels for this book (and probably the whole series), which also offers cooking tips and recipes.

High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides is also great if you enjoy New York City at all. Having a chance to tag along on all the jaunts through the city was probably old SoLT’s favorite part of reading this book, and it left her longing to return there. Getting a behind-the-scenes look at the Rockettes was fun too—the rehearsals, the costumes, the pressure.

I have to withhold one paw because of the relative lack of cats, but we found High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides to be an enjoyable read with quite a lot going for it besides being a good mystery.

A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good read; two paws is for a great read. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!

We received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. We wouldn’t tell you it was good unless we really liked it!

The link below is an Amazon Associates link. If you purchase the book through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account.

1 comment:

  1. I've not read any of the books in this series but they sound interesting. I like a good mystery, don't mind delving into relationships and really like recipes!