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.

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