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 26, 2017

Book Review: All Cats Are Grey in the Dark

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Today on Mysterious Monday, we are very pleased to introduce a new-to-us series, the Celtic Witch mysteries, by Molly Milligan. All Cats Are Grey in the Dark is the third book in the series, and the first one we’ve read. Judging by this volume, this is a most excellent series for readers who like a little witchcraft with their mysteries.

Welcome to Wales; meet the hedge-witch and her cat

All Cats Are Grey in the Dark (Book 3 in the Celtic Witch mysteries), by Molly Milligan
The story takes place in Wales, and the book starts with a paragraph about how to pronounce Welsh. Our note on that paragraph is “Got It! Ha ha!” So, we did not learn how to speak Welsh (although, joking aside, the explanation is helpful; it’s just a lot to remember) or pronounce gwfhygyff.[1] This in no way reduced our enjoyment of the story, which is well plotted and filled with characters who are, well, characters.

Our protagonist, Bron, is a Welsh witch—a “hedge-witch,” to be exact. We looked this up and learned that a hedge witch is, according to several websites, “a solitary practitioner of the herbal arts.” So, Bron isn’t part of a coven or group that gets together to do witch stuff. In this book though, she has been roped, however unwillingly, into participating in a course called “Unfurl Your Inner Spirit.” This course is the sort of thing that takes place in a remote area, an area with yurts and a cauldron. You just know this thing is bound to go sideways, and it does go rather seriously sideways when one of the participants ends up dead. Poisoned. But by whom?

It seems that nearly everyone is a likely suspect, because nearly everyone had reason to want the victim dead. Bron investigates, with help from her cat, Harkin, who is also her magical partner. Bron and Harkin have a connection, and he can send images to her mind. Not that they always make sense to her. Harkin is not a constant presence in the book, but he is a major player and is important to the plot, just the way we like it.

Details, details

Another thing we like about this book is, it’s full of the sorts of details that add a sense of realism you can’t get from simply describing things. For example, after the death is discovered, Bron finds that the emergency personnel have wrapped a red blanket around her, and she wonders what she’s supposed to do with it once they’ve gone. Is she to turn it in somewhere, or what? That moment put is right there in the scene and wrapped us in a red blanket, while it also gave us a glimpse into Bron and what she was thinking and feeling. There are not too many writers who do this sort of thing really well, and Milligan does.

Yet another of our favorite things is the book’s “unglamorous” look at being a witch. This is not Hollywood witch stuff, where a wand is waved and something magical happens. Here, witches are said to be often “cold, damp, uncomfortable and slightly unsure of what to do.” The otherworldly realm Bron touches is powerful—and dangerous. She and Harkin do not come through it unscathed. The real question is, will they both come through it alive?

Highly recommended!

Two Paws Up--A Great Read!

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!
  

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. Thank you!




[1] Not an actual Welsh word. Or, if it is a Welsh word and it’s some kind of especially unpleasant curse word, we’re really, really sorry.

3 comments:

  1. I definitely need to check this one out! (Purring like crazy for Paisley (and you!) today too!!!)

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  2. Sounds like a good read. I hope you get some good news for Paisley today. XO

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