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, January 22, 2018

Book Review: Small Town Trouble

Mysterious Monday

On this Mysterious Monday, we review Small Town Trouble, by Laura Benedict. This title is book 5 in the Familiar Legacy series, and it is the first book of the series we have read. Based on how much fun we had reading it, we will be trying to make time to go back and read the earlier books as well!

The plot

Small Town Trouble, by Laura Benedict. #FamiliarLegacy #catcozymystery
Trouble the black cat is in Kentucky, where Erin Walsh is caring for him while his main human, Tammy, is off in Italy. This sounds like a pretty good deal, since there is a nice lake to explore and plenty of interesting people to keep an eye on, not to mention a dog named Jocko who is, well, a dog. Things take a mysterious turn when Shelby Rae, Tammy’s young stepmother, is kidnapped during a big party. A ransom note demands that Erin’s father, Bruce, pay $50,000 in cash. The police must not be involved. The ransom is paid, Shelby Rae is recovered (yay!?), but the question remains, Who took her, and might they do it again for more money? This is far from the only question, though, as soon a woman is murdered on the Walsh property. Now the police have to get involved, although the Walshes still try to hide the original abduction.

 Could the killer be the man, recently released from prison, who was responsible for the death of Erin’s mother even though he did not pull the trigger? Or perhaps his son, Noah, who seems to be attracted to Erin? Or does it all have something to do with the woman who has been embroiled in a nasty lawsuit against Bruce Walsh’s car dealership?

The cat

Obviously, it’s going to take a cat to sort all this out, and fortunately Trouble is on the job. He is an excellent cat. I mean an excellent cat. Sherlock Holmes is his role model (which would explain his very British vibe, despite his being from Wetumpka, Alabama). Portions of the book are told from his viewpoint, so we get to know exactly what he is thinking and planning—and he thinks and plans quite a lot. It is Trouble who finds major clues (indeed, it is Trouble who finds the body in the first place). It is Trouble who heroically saves Erin from the killer. It is Trouble who … oh, but I don’t want to give too much away. Let me just say that the crime in this book turned out to be way more diabolical than I suspected.

Our verdict

We loved Small Town Trouble, from the mystery itself to the tangled relationships and untidy pasts of the characters, and even the budding romance between Erin and Noah. Erin herself is pretty awesome. She is a young woman who’s not had an easy life, losing her mother at a young age, only to see the shallow Shelby Rae move in to replace her … and then she starts having feelings for Noah, whose father is such a slimeball. She is pulled in many directions in this book, but she handles it as only a true heroine can. She and Trouble make a great team. Which brings me to Trouble, who, as I said, is excellent. It seems like we’ve been reading a lot of mysteries in which the cat is a minor character, and we were so ready to read one that puts the cat right where we like him: front and center. We enjoyed getting an inside look into Trouble’s thoughts, and we just love his bit of Britishness. This is a cat we plan on reading a lot more of!

Small Town Trouble is a thoroughly enjoyable, quick-paced read, well plotted, with characters we loved getting to know.

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. We love Trouble! I've collected all the Fear Familiar books and now this new series too. I haven't read this one yet though!

  2. This book sounds like a lot of fun and very intriguing! With so many suspects, it sounds like there's never a dull moment!

  3. I'm just discovered your books and am reading the first one in the Miss C series. I love it!

    I appreciate this book review and just added it to my TBR list.

  4. This sounds good, but I am sure it can't top your books. :)