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, October 2, 2017

Book Review: Donn’s Hill

Mysterious Monday

On this Mysterious Monday, we bring you our review of a book we stumbled upon completely accidentally (meaning we can’t remember how we found it). The book is Donn’s Hill, by Caryn Larrinaga. It features murder, a ghost, ghost hunters, some psychics … and of course, a cat. And not just any cat—a tortie cat, and a senior too!

The plot

Donn's Hill, by Caryn Larrinaga
Mackenzie Clair, “Mac,” arrives in the strange little town of Donn’s Hill looking for a fresh start. After the recent death of her father, she’s left her scummy, two-timing boyfriend and her dead-end job, certain she’ll find something better in this town that hosts the annual Afterlife Festival her long-deceased mother brought her to when she was a little girl. Donn’s Hill was like a second home then, so why shouldn’t it be her real home now?

Her first morning, though, as Mac wakes up in the cheap motel she slept at, she feels a strange presence. A strange presence that leaves wet footprints in her room. Probably nothing, right? Next, Mac meets a little tortie cat who seems to anticipate her every move, showing up everywhere she goes. She learns that the cat was named Striker by her former (now deceased) owner, and there’s nothing stopping Mac from keeping her new furry little friend. After acquiring a cat (first things first, as they say), Mac gets a pretty great apartment in an old house, she starts a friendship with a young woman, Kit, who lives downstairs, and she meets a psychic named Gabrielle, who happened to be an old friend of her mother’s. Kit even offers Mac a job doing odds and ends on a ghost-hunting TV show called Soul Searchers. So everything’s fabulous, right?

Not so fast … because Mac’s apartment seems to be haunted. Others tell her that this is not possible, but what’s she supposed to believe: their comforting words or the banging on the pipes and the apparition she keeps seeing? Then, in her very first outing with the Soul Searchers crew, Mac discovers she has psychic abilities—as in, she can connect with ghosts. So that could explain both the visitor she’s had in her apartment and all those imaginary friends she had as a child. These abilities soon lead her to discover the body of a murder victim, who looks an awful lot like the ghost that’s been haunting her. And all of that opens up a whole new world to her, a world of ghost hunting and amateur detective work.

Good thing she has Striker to take care of her.

Our verdict

Donn’s Hill is not the sort of light-hearted cozy we usually review here, but we loved it. Old SoLT was a longtime fan of the show Ghost Hunters and is currently loving Kindred Spirits, so she enjoyed the paranormal element, and she loved that the fictitious Soul Searchers is not the sort of show where everybody screams at every little sound. For those who are squeamish about ghosts and such, we did not find those elements to be scary at all. This is not a horror book; it is a mystery through and through. And speaking of the mystery, this one had us baffled almost until the end. Yes, we had our suspicions, but they were more along the lines of “Surely it couldn’t be…” than “Ooh, we know who it is!” We liked Mac immensely. This is a woman who has been through a lot and has a lot to figure out, but there is a kindness and toughness at her core that tells us she is going to come through it all with her grace, compassion, and dignity intact. And Striker.… We could hardly get enough of that little tortie cat. She is Mac’s companion, caretaker, and protector, and yes, she plays a part in the plot. This cat is not just for show!


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. This sounds like a great book! We hope our mom doesn't get scared reading it! MOL

  2. I watch every 'ghost hunter' TV show that there is! This book has been added to my reading list, thanks!

  3. This sound great. I love the show, Long Island Medium and seeing her connect with the departed.

  4. This sounds good! I enjoy books with ghosts and paranormal as long as it's not gory or too scary. :)