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!

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