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, July 9, 2018

Book Review: Two by Clea Simon

Mysterious Monday

On this Mysterious Monday, we are excited to share our thoughts on not one but two new releases from one of our favorite authors, Clea Simon. First up is Cross My Path, the latest in the Blackie and Care mystery series, and next is Fear on Four Paws, the latest in the Pru Marlowe Pet Noir series.

Cross My Path

Cross My Path, by Clea Simon

This book picks up the story of a young pink-haired private investigator named Care and her feline companion, Blackie. They live in a run-down port town where work is hard to come by and the living is hard. Care, though, is building a reputation and a clientele, even if many clients can barely pay her. Now she has two jobs, one for a woman seeking something that belonged to her missing brother, the other for a man seeking his younger work companion who has gone missing. Meanwhile, she is also trying to figure out what her former acquaintance AD, who is supposed to be in prison, is doing walking the streets, and she’s still trying to protect young Tick, the growing boy she feels an almost motherly attachment to. These tasks all keep taking her to the docks, a dangerous part of town where it is rumored that trade is about to start up again. The question is, trade in what, and why do people Care knows keep turning up dead?

The story is told entirely from Blackie’s point of view. He is a unique cat (or maybe not so unique—who knows?) in that he used to be someone else. Specifically, he used to be Care’s former mentor, now deceased. The first two books in this series dealt largely with Blackie coming to understand who he now is and who he once was. Now he knows, but there are still many things he does not know about his former life. We love how devoted he is to Care, to protecting her, and we love getting to see the world through his senses. He is one of the most fascinating feline characters we have ever read, and his character grows with each book.

We think Cross My Path is the best book in the series so far. The story, set in a dark world, is completely engrossing, filled with characters who keep you wondering what they’re really up to. It’s hard to tell who Care should trust, and the consequences if she chooses wrong could be deadly for her and Blackie. This is not a cozy by any means, but if you’re up for something grittier and featuring a truly great cat, we highly recommend Cross My Path and the whole Care and Blackie series!

Fear on Four Paws

Fear on Four Paws, by Clea Simon
We have been wanting to try the Pru Marlowe series for a while now, and we are so happy we finally got a chance to. Pru is an animal behaviorist who has the ability to communicate with animals, although she doesn’t always interpret their messages correctly. She’s also a former wild child who speeds around in her muscle car, drinks a fair amount of bourbon, and sleeps with local police detective Jim Creighton. In this book, Pru gets involved in a murder investigation after a bear is illegally trapped and Pru finds her boss, Albert, passed out at the scene. Unfortunately for Albert, there’s also a body—a human one—stashed in a cabin used by him and his buddies.

Albert is your basic disgusting slob, but Pru knows he couldn’t have organized the trapping of the bear, much less killed anyone, and so she has to help him clear his name. Trouble is, the only known witness is his ferret, Frank, but given the messages Pru gets from him, she has to wonder what he’s holding back. Meanwhile, local pets belonging to well-off newcomers keep going missing, only to turn up a short while later, found by a nice young man who often receives a small reward for his efforts. Pru suspects that something weird is going on there too.

The main cat in this book is Wallis, Pru’s tabby with an attitude. We enjoyed their blunt exchanges. Wallis is quick to comment on whatever Pru is up to, but it’s really up to the ferret, Frank, to help put together the pieces of this mystery.

We enjoyed Fear on Four Paws a lot. Pru is not a polished person by any means—she is who she is, and we like that. We also like how Clea Simon handles the animal communication parts of the story. It’s not always clear what the animal is trying to tell Pru, and Pru just might get the sensation of a mouth full of fur along with the communication. The plot is also a real puzzler. We did not figure it out at all, and the end had us turning pages like crazy to find out what would happen. Fun!

 Both of these books are great reads, and we give them both a very enthusiastic Two Paws Up!

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!

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

The links below are Amazon Associates links. If you purchase anything through these links, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!


  1. Sorry, but I cannot read your post! I've 1/3 of the way through "Fear On Four Paws" and I don't want to get spoiled, not that you'd let out any info but I don't want to take a chance. I tried to read it on Sunday, but the weather was too nice, so I had to get outside and that, of course, takes away time from reading. Such a conundrum.

  2. How wonderful, Ms. Cuddlywumps! Thank you for posting (and for reading too).
    Clea (and Thisbe)

  3. These sound great, especially Fear on Four Paws.

  4. Both sound very interesting. Cat Scouts has a Bookclub, and Mauricio is going to suggest both of the books. Thank you. XOCK, angel Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, angel Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth, Calista Jo, Cooper Murphy and Sawyer

  5. Thank you for two excellent book reviews of what sound like awesome books. Thats two more for the list.... for Mrs H to buy! MOL
    Toodle pips and purrs