Tag Archives: Mary McHugh

A Day in the Life of Mary Louise by Mary McHugh

High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and HomicidesWho would have thought I’d be dancing at Radio City Music Hall in New York City with the Rockettes? I’ve loved them since I was a little girl, when my mother would take me to see them dance between movies and shorts and westerns at that incredible theater.

Now my four friends – Tina, a bridal magazine editor, Gini, a documentary film maker, Janice, an actress and director, and Pat, a family therapist — and I were hired to dance with the Rockettes in their Christmas show. We were going to dress up in Santa jackets and hats, and be part of their “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” number. Sounded like the best job we’d ever had, even better than dancing on a cruise ship in Russia, on a luxury train in Spain, a bateau mouche in Paris or at the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro.

It turned out to be the hardest work we’ve ever done. Those Rockettes don’t fool around. They work their toes off achieving the perfection the audience sees at every show. We were all out of shape and it took every ounce of strength we had to keep up with them. We practiced for hours, which didn’t always make my husband George happy when I got home to New Jersey too late to fix him dinner. He grumbled and groused about my dancing, which he wished I would stop doing. I could never make him understand how important it was to me, how much dancing meant to me.

As if the hard work and George’s complaining weren’t enough, three of the Rockettes were killed. Somehow the killer thought I knew more than I did, and my life was in danger several times in the book I narrated about all this, High Kicks, Hot Chocolate and Homicide. If you’ve been following the adventures of me and my four friends through the first four Happy Hoofer books, you will want to know how I escaped.

In between murders, I cooked, so there are lots of recipes in this book, which is a cozy mystery that welcomes good food. If you get this book, you will learn how to make: Lobster salad, salmon with anchovies, crabcakes, snickerdoodles, veal piccata, croque madame, veal cordon bleu, blanquette de veau, oatmeal pancakes, spaghetti with swordfish in tomato sauce, trout and bacon, vinaigrette salad dressing, cheese puffs, and pastry shells with caviar.

There’s also a cat named Ranger who is a heroine in our story.

Join me in New York and visit the Frick museum, the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park. Ride a horse-drawn carriage through the park with me and see the John Lennon memorial. Take a boat ride around the end of the island in Tina’s fiance’s yacht. Listen to the music in Washington Square. You’ll feel like you’re in New York, savoring its variety, its beauty, its excitement. A little too much excitement for me when the killer closes in, I must say.

Are you up for it?


High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides is the fifth book in the Happy Hoofers mystery series, published by Kensington, August 2016.

Murder takes center stage . . .

It’s a Christmas miracle for the Happy Hoofers—Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini. They’ve scored a gig at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall with the legendary Rockettes, complete with sexy Santa suits and microphones on their shoes. But when a dazzling diva of a dancer is found dead under the stage, there’s quite a lineup of suspects. In between rehearsals and seasonal sightseeing—and the discovery of a multi-talented, multi-colored cat—the toe-tapping troupe has to sort out the intrigue before another victim kicks the bucket . . .

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About the author
Mary McHugh has published 27 books, most recently the first four books in her Happy Hoofer series of cozy murder mysteries for Kensington Books.

She worked for The New York Times, and her article, “Telling Jack,” in the Sunday Times magazine was nominated for an award for best personal essay by the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Her book “Special Siblings: Growing Up with Someone with a Disability,” was awarded a prize for Special Recognition of a National Project by the Arc of New Jersey.

She worked as an articles editor at three national magazines and was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle and seniorwomen.com.

Visit Mary at www.marymchugh.org.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides. U.S. residents only, please. The giveaway will end September 28, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life of Pat Keeler by Mary McHugh

Bossa Novas, Bikinis, and Bad EndsI belong to a group of five dancers in their early fifties who perform on cruise ships, luxury trains, resorts and anywhere else they’re willing to let us tap, samba, carioca or flamenco. There’s Tina, a bridal magazine editor, Gini, a documentary film maker, Janice, an actress and director, and Mary Louise, a homemaker, besides me.

I’m a family therapist when I’m not off dancing in Moscow, northern Spain, Paris, Rio or New York. I live with my friend Deirdre and her 10-year-old son David in Champlain, New Jersey. Most of the time I lead a normal life, counseling people with problems, doing stuff with David and being respectable.

But when I get the chance to dance with my friends in some exotic place, something inside me goes wild. No longer the staid family therapist, I’m a force, a burst of joy, a totally different person, freed of all inhibitions, fears, anxieties and problems.

When we flew to Rio to dance at the Copacabana Hotel, I expected to have fun and to hang on to my purse when we walked around the city. We went to the top of Corcovado mountain where the statue of Christ towered over us and I was overwhelmed by the power of his presence. We wandered through the Botanical Gardens and marveled at the wide variety of orchids displayed there. I fell in love with the cat who lived in the hotel who produced several kittens during our stay there. I got the recipes for picadinho and pastels, delicious Brazilian dishes. I went up to the slums called favelas to a baile funk, an all-night dance festival. Oh, and I learned some Portuguese words.

I didn’t expect my life to be in danger several times during our stay there.

If you want to travel to Rio with my friends and me, get the recipes for the Brazilian food, and experience my adventures with me, read Bossa Novas, Bikinis, and Bad Ends.”

See you later, or as they say in Rio, “Tchau.”


Bossa Novas, Bikinis, and Bad Ends is the fourth book in the Happy Hoofers mystery series, published by Kensington, April 2016.

Murder’s a showstopper. . .

The fancy-footed Happy Hoofers–Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini– are kicking off Carnival by entertaining posh guests at the most elegant hotel in Rio de Janeiro. Stunning beaches and spectacular views abound. But the party is cut short for the fab five when their alluring Brazilian companion is found dead in her room, without a clue as to what killed her.

As the samba-loving sleuths sift the evidence, they realize that even in beautiful Rio, murder can set the stage–and steal the show. . .

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About the author
Mary McHugh has published 27 books on subjects ranging from feminism to crotchety old men, and most recently including four books in her Happy Hoofer series of cozy murder mysteries for Kensington Books.

She worked for The New York Times for their special sections, and her article, “Telling Jack,” in the Sunday Times magazine was nominated for an award for best personal essay by The American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Her book “Special Siblings: Growing Up with Someone with a Disability,” was awarded a prize for Special Recognition of a National Project by the Arc of New Jersey.

She worked as an articles editor at three national magazines and was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan magazine.

Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle and seniorwomen.com.

Visit Mary at www.marymchugh.org.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Bossa Novas, Bikinis, and Bad Ends. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end May 2, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

A Day In The Life Of Janice Rogers by Mary McHugh

Cancans, Croissants and CasketsOccupation: Actress

I can’t believe I woke up in Paris this morning! It’s still the same beautiful city it was when I came here on my honeymoon with my first husband, Derek.

Two husbands later, I’m here dancing with my four other fifty-something Hoofers on a Bateau Mouche –Tina, a bridal magazine editor, Gini, a documentary film maker, Mary Louise, a homemaker, and Pat, a family therapist. on Bastille Day, one of France’s biggest holidays. I’m Janice, an actress and director.

We’re eating the best French food — quail Veronique, shrimp bisque, tarte tatin, salade nicoise (recipes are in “Cancans, Croissants, and Caskets,” the third book in the Happy Hoofer series). We’re seeing all of Paris. Oh, and there are also two murders while we’re here. Seems to happen wherever we go. I almost got killed myself!

Yesterday I went sightseeing with Ken one of the guys in the band, an American ex-pat, who will probably never go back to the States. He says he loves it here because there’s nobody to tell him what to do or say or be.

lacemaker veermeerWe went to the Louvre and, at my request, ran up to the second floor to see “The Lacemaker” by Vermeer, my favorite painter. There’s something about the women that Vermeer painted that I identify with completely. I could imagine being that woman concentrating intently on the bobbins and pins with which she is making lace. I’m there in that room with her in the seventeenth century.

Ken watched me dive into the painting, so absorbed in it that he must have felt invisible.

“You really like Vermeer, don’t you?” he asked, interrupting my thoughts.

“There’s nobody else like him,” I said. “His paintings are smaller than Rembrandt’s and Hals, for one thing, so I can take them in better, I think. And his subjects are always doing something. They’re not just posing for a painter.”

“Where do you want to go next?” he asked me.

“Let’s go up to Sacre Coeur and have a drink in the Place de Tertre,” I said.

“Perfect!” he said. “Haven’t been there since last Thursday.”

Paris with riva 046We climbed the path up to the Place de Tertre, a square just below the cathedral, where artists display their work, and cafes Paris with riva 042serve you anything you want. We watched the tourists and artists and drank a glass of wine and then climbed the hill to the Sacre Coeur, at the very top of Paris’s right bank. A few moments of quiet in that incredible church and I was ready for whatever else Paris had to offer.


You can read more about Janice in Cancans, Croissants, and Caskets, the third book in the “Happy Hoofers” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first two books in the series are Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses and Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities.

Here is a video where the author cooks Quail Veronique, one of the dishes featured in the book.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 31 for the chance to win a print copy of Cancans, Croissants, and Caskets. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

About the author
Mary McHugh has published 22 books on subjects ranging from feminism to Crotchety Old Men. At present she is writing a series of Happy Hoofer murder mysteries for Kensington Books. “Cancans, Croissants, and Caskets,” set in Paris, is the third in the series.

She worked for The New York Times for their special sections, and her article, “Telling Jack” in the Sunday Times magazine was nominated for an award for best personal essay by the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Her book, Special Siblings: Growing Up with Someone with a Disability, was awarded a prize for Special Recognition of a National Project by The Arc of New Jersey.

She worked as an articles editor at three national magazines and was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan magazine.

Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle and senior women.com.

Visit Mary at www.marymchugh.org

Blog Tour With Gini Miller by Mary McHugh

Flamenco Flan and FatalitiesI’m Gini Miller, narrator of the second book in the Happy Hoofers series by Mary McHugh called “Flamenco, Flan and Fatalities.” It takes place on a luxury train traveling across northern Spain from Santiago de Compostela to San Sebastian.

My four friends and I are hired to tap dance on the train and we’re having a great time until a famous, loud-mouth talk show host is murdered on our first day. If you read the first book in this series called “Chorus Lines, Caviar and Corpses,” you’ll remember my four dancing friends: Tina Powell, a travel editor for a bridal magazine and our fearless leader who gets us jobs on cruise ships, luxury trains and resorts; Janice Rogers, an actress and director who falls in and out of love regularly; Pat Keeler, a family therapist and our mother hen, Mary Louise Temple, a housewife, and me, a documentary film maker.

As in all these Happy Hoofer cozy mysteries, there are recipes, a dog, a language lesson, romance, suspense, and visits to lovely places in northern Spain like the little seaside town of Luarca where all the houses are white.

Best of all, you’ll dance the flamenco with us, learn some dance steps, enjoy a cooking lesson with a wise-cracking chef, share my photography tips, visit a pre-Romanesque monument and a cave in Covadonga.

Laugh along with me as my four dancing friends and I solve another couple of murders and marvel at the beauties of northern Spain.


You can read more about Gini in Flamenco, Flan and Fatalities, the second book in the “Happy Hoofers” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Chorus Lines, Caviar and Corpses.

This is the 7th stop on the Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities Great Escapes Tour. Click HERE to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for the chance to win one of five print copies of Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities. More stops on the tour can be found here.

About the author
Mary McHugh has published 22 books on subjects ranging from feminism to Crotchety Old Men. At present she is writing MaryMa series of murder mysteries for Kensington Books.

She worked for The New York Times for their special sections, and her article, “Telling Jack” in the Sunday Times magazine was nominated for an award for best personal essay by the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Her book, Special Siblings: Growing Up with Someone with a Disability, was awarded a prize for Special Recognition of a National Project by The Arc of New Jersey.

She worked as an articles editor at three national magazines and was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle and senior women.com.

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My Musing ~ Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities by Mary McHugh

Flamenco Flan and FatalitiesFlamenco, Flan, and Fatalities by Mary McHugh is the second book in the “Happy Hoofers” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, February 2015

Murder is nothing to tap at. . .

The high-kicking Happy Hoofers–Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini–have been booked to flaunt their fabulous flamenco footwork on a luxury train ride through northern Spain. But when a blowhard talk show host is found deader than four-day-old flan–with Gini as suspect numero uno–the feisty friends waste no time stepping into their sleuthing shoes to protect one of their own.

The dynamite dancers will have to step up their game before a clever killer brings the curtain down on one of them . . . for good!

This was quite an enjoyable read once again with the ladies who danced their way into another murder, this time in Spain aboard a train. These ladies are so different it is so appealing as the combine their efforts as amateur sleuths to clear their friends name and what a fun ride it was. The author did a very good job in setting up the action, keeping me on my toes and it was fun to watch all the pieces fit into the puzzle for a clear picture of the killer. The characters are quirky, yet lovable and I look forward to their next adventures on the road.

A Day in the Life of Tina Powell by Mary McHugh

Chorus Lines Caviar and CorpsesMy name is Tina Powell and I’m the travel editor at Perfect Bride magazine. I live in a little town in New Jersey and commute to New York. I hang out with a bunch of four friends I’ve known forever. There’s Janice Rogers, an actress and director, Gini Miller, a documentary film maker, Pat Keeler, a family therapist, and Mary Louise Temple, a housewife.

To stay reasonably thin, we started tap dancing and got to be so good at it, we were hired to dance first for community groups and then on cruise ships, luxury trains and resorts. We call ourselves the Happy Hoofers, and we thought we’d have a lot of fun dancing and eating good food and making some money. Who knew we’d get mixed up in a couple of murders on some of our gigs?

So far we’ve danced and almost been killed on a cruise ship sailing from Moscow to St. Petersburg, on a luxury train traveling across northern Spain, on a bateau mouche in Paris and at the Copacabana in Rio. Luckily, murders haven’t stopped us from eating and there are recipes in each book from every country we’ve danced in.

Each one of us is the narrator of a series of cozy murder mysteries called the Happy Hoofers Mysteries: Me for Chorus Lines, Caviar and Corpses set in Russia and published on November 4, 2014; Gini for Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities, set in Spain and out next March; Janice for Cancans, Croissants and Caskets, set in Paris and published in the fall of 2015.; and Pat for the one set in Rio. Each of us brings her own quirks, assets, personalities and flaws to her narration.

Here’s to great food, lovely wines, romance, puppies and kittens, with a couple of murders thrown in.


You can read more about Tina and her friends in Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses, the first book in the new “Happy Hoofers” mystery series, published by Kensington.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 12 for the chance to win a copy of CHORUS LINES, CAVIAR, AND CORPSES. Two lucky winners will be selected. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Meet the author
Mary McHugh has published 22 books on subjects ranging from feminism to Crotchety Old Men. At present she is writing a series of cozy murder mysteries for Kensington Books.

She worked for The New York Times for their special sections, and her article, “Telling Jack” in the Sunday Times magazine was nominated for an award for best personal essay by the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Her book, Special Siblings: Growing Up with Someone with a Disability, was awarded a prize for Special Recognition of a National Project by The Arc of New Jersey.

She worked as an articles editor at three national magazines and was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan magazine.

Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle and Senior Women.

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