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

Visit Mary at

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