Book Review – Ma Tutt’s Donut Hut

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Here’s something I haven’t told a lot of people about: when I was in junior high and high school, I devoured Lilian Jackson Braun’s books. You know the ones, featuring James Qwilleran and his cats Koko and Yum-Yum. I read all the ones the library had and forgot about them for a while. Then when an elderly cousin passed away, I managed to inherit her collection of her “Cat Who…” books as well. I re-read them, catching up on the ones I missed when I went to college. I loved the characteristics of the books and the light-hearted tone, in spite of serious events that would transpire all around Qwill and his friends. A certain supernatural flair surrounding Koko probably fed into my love of the books as well (I will also say as a cat-lover, the cats’ presence in the narrative didn’t hurt, either).

Ma Tutt Cover ThumbSo…fast forward a few more years and I learn about the genre these books belonged to – cozies. As an “adult,” I kind of figured I was past reading these books. And then one of my friends went and wrote one. I agreed to give it a read before he published, and I do not regret it one bit. Ma Tutt’s Donut Hut by Lyn Perry is a fine addition to the Cozy Mystery genre and a great light read. A short novel, Perry tells the story of Ma Tutt, a recent retiree who settles in a new community to open a bakery. In doing so, she inherits a cat, who is a little more than he seems.

The book is really four separate short “tails” that compromise the beginnings of Ma Tutt’s time in her new town and her introduction to the main characters that presumably will propel this series further as Perry decides to write more about Mack the Cat.

As I read this book, I found myself reliving the stories of Koko and Yum-Yum and the seemingly telepathic and prescient way Koko interacted with the story. Since Jackson Braun passed away a couple years ago, I would say Perry’s new world with Mack the Cat may help fill any void left behind.

Ma Tutt’s Donut Hut is on sale for a limited time for just $1.75 ($3.95 normally). Don’t miss this opportunity to grab a copy for a low price!

(Writer’s Note: Lyn’s Silo story The Last Prayer is a part of WOOL Gathering, of which my story The Sheriff’s Son is also a part.)

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Captain America, Bacon and other suggestions

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READER MAILBAG #2

I did this a while ago and thought I’d do it again this weekend. A smattering of my thoughts on a variety of subjects. Thanks to Forbes West, Jeff Carter, Debbie Robbins, Thomas Robins (no relation), Jen George, Travis Mohrman, and my brother for the ideas.


With the impending release of Captain America 2: ‘Merica, I wish to share a story with you. This story will go to show the vast differences between my wife and me (besides the obvious).

So this year for Halloween, my 9-year-old daughter went as Hermione from Harry Potter (she was adorable). While we were out trick-or-treating, we came across more than a few of my wife’s elementary school students. One in particular caught her eye and she exclaimed, “What are you, Captain America?”

Image<——–The boys costume looked more like this.

Yep. That’s Thor. A few weeks later, I was shopping at our local Wally World and came upon this cup and bought a “Captain America” cup for my bride.

She will never live this down.

And on that note, I am pretty psyched about the newest movie in the Marvel universe. In fact, my wife was bemoaning the fact there was a lack of black superheroes just yesterday and I was able to tell her that Falcon, (in fact, the first black superhero) is in the movie. It’ll be nice to have Falcon and hopefully other black superheroes for when I finally bring my son home from Africa.


On a separate note — Bacon.

Consider this: You have been gifted a magnificent ability. You realize one afternoon that your touch can turn the simplest of items into bacon.

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Bacon Candles. (Note — NOT real bacon)

Bread = bacon. Potato chips = bacon. Green beans = bacon. Mushrooms = bacon. Bacon = bacon.

Of course, like any gift, this ability has drawbacks. Your clothes instantly become a slab of pork belly. Grease covers you from head to toe. You attempt to shower, only to find the water becomes little pellets of bacon bits that sprinkle you from above. I know, I know. It sounds delicious and amazing, but you can no longer leave the house. In fact, your house is slowly becoming a giant slab of bacon. (Thankfully, the north-facing side is Canadian bacon — that is, ham.)

Then, you go to bed…bacon wrapped blankets and all, and in the morning you wake to the crackle and smell of smoke. Your house is on fire…check that…it is crisping. Your neighbors have been driven to insanity watching and smelling your house for the past day and will stop at nothing to get at the salty pork fat.

As you lie in your bed, you munch on your cellphone and wait to perish with the rest of your glorious bacon. You realize no one should have this much power. With great power comes great responsibility and you can’t let this ability fall into the wrong hands.

mmmmm….bacon….


I’m just going to leave this bit of knowledge right here:

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Yesterday my wife and I sold our Pontiac Grand Am. We’d had the car for over a decade and it had been a good car. I used it extensively for driving to and from sporting events while working as a sports reporter and it survived a trip to North and South Dakota about six years ago.

It was a bit unexpected so we hadn’t cleaned it out yet. We found a lot of gross things (a pair of pliers covered in the remnants of exploded ketchup packets from the glovebox and a bottle of oil which had leaked in the back seat among others), some odd items (a racketball racket, multiple pens and pencils — the newspaper job, remember) and some nice memories. I found a custom-made Veggie Tales CD with Molly’s name inserted into various songs we used to play on trips. I found a dead watch my wife gave me for an anniversary gift. I sold the car that we brought our daughter home from the hospital in.

We did some cleaning and sold the vehicle. It was a bittersweet day for sure.


I also had a request today to talk about Southern Illinois defecting from the rest of the state and being annexed into Missouri. I must say, that is a fine idea. The corruption and waste of Illinois is well-known, but most people don’t realize the corruption is mostly limited to a fairly small area — Chicago.

Now, I don’t have anything against Chicago, but there is no way for Southern Illinois to be able to swing votes in the General Assembly because they simply lack the votes. I think Illinois could be a great state if everyone could just get along, but even when the House, Senate, and Governor are all Democrats, they can’t get anything accomplished. What a shame.

I’m all for joining Missouri or Indiana. Bring it on.


On a final note, here is a trippy picture of a cat.

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