Pipsqueak by Brian M. Wiprud

After Furiously Happy I will probably always read a book featuring taxidermy of any kind and this book, lent to me by a neighbor, was such a fun mystery to read!


New York City taxidermy collector Garth Carson was seconds away from snagging the greatest find of his career—the original Pipsqueak the Nutty Nut, stuffed-squirrel puppet star of his favorite 1950s kiddie TV show—until a biker, a brawny redhead, and a murder derailed his dreams and stole his squirrel. Now Garth would do anything to get Pipsqueak back. Unfortunately, so would someone else.

When Garth and his gal, Angie, two of New York’s most unlikely sleuths, enter a wacky, rollicking underworld of club-goers, jive cult members, and at least one very violent Pipsqueak aficionado, Garth’s black-sheep crime-prone brother joins the fray, sure that there’s more to this squirrel than old fur and a pair of glass eyes. Suddenly Garth is starting to get a clue: The puppet star of one old-time TV show is leading him straight into the heart of a loopy cult, a retro rage, and a diabolical conspiracy to first control Pipsqueak—then the world. from Goodreads.


I have a balcony. Little did I know, when I rented this place pre-pandemic, that the balcony would become my favorite place to escape and read. Sitting outside and reading while the sun sets was one of my favorite things to do all summer long. My neighbor two doors down would always ask, “What are you reading?” Eventually, that question changed to, “What do you like to read?” And I gave my honest answer – I like to read most anything! He ran inside and chucked this book at me swearing it was fun and weird.

Pipsqueak, originally published in 2002, is an off-beat mystery that is the first in the series of Garth Carson books. Garth, a professional taxidermist, lives in New York City with his girlfriend Angie (called, annoyingly, “his gal pal”). Angie is a jeweler and their apartment / workspace is constantly being visited by the odd collection of people including a friends and Garth’s black sheep brother.

There is a lot going on in Pipsqueak but it was the kind of fun that I used to have reading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum stories. It is almost as though Wiprud and Evanovich read the same newspaper and throw all the odd and interesting people together around a central mystery. Then, their “least-likely” sleuths can use their unique perspective and tenacity to solve it. It was weird, it was fun, and I enjoyed it tremendously!

I closed the book with one major complaint. It is the mistake so many publishers make – they design a book jacket that overstates, or oversells, what’s inside. Here, the book is supposed to be “Demented and Fun! This book is a hoot!” and “The wildest mystery to come down the pike in a stuffed squirrel’s age.” The book was, indeed, great fun but not truly weird à la Christopher Moore or Tim Robbins. I would place it squarely in “wacky” category instead which is, honestly, much more to my taste.

If you are looking for a quirky and fun mystery with a colorful cast of characters, this one was so fun!

Tell me, please! What do you do when people recommend books?


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