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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Harry (Mary Minor Haristeen) and her felony-finding felines are at it again (with a bit of canine help). From the six-footed writing team of Rita Mae Brown and her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown, comes another delightful mystery wherein Harry's curiosity is as dangerous as the proverbial cat's. This time out, the action centers around the town's hospital, where a body has been found in the basement. And before long, death is making rounds at the hospital right along with the doctors.
Hank Brevard, the hospital's plant manager, has had his throat slit from ear to ear, a violent and gruesome crime that no one can make sense of at first. His body is found beside the huge boiler in a 150-year-old section of the hospital's basement. Unsure if the crime has anything to do with the hospital, the local cops, with the unsolicited help of Harry, investigate the victim, the building, and the people in it, though the hospital director, Sam Mahanes, is less than helpful. There are plenty of problems at the hospital, not the least of which is an ongoing fiscal battle between Mahanes and one of the facility's key physicians. But none of these skirmishes seem connected to the murder victim. Not until a second murder occurs -- this one of a beloved and respected physician who has been with the hospital for decades -- does anyone become convinced that the crimes and the hospital are somehow connected.
Harry's usual nosiness earns her a knock on the head from an unseen assailant, resulting in a few stitches and an even greater determination. She and local police officer Cynthia Cooper theorize on all kinds of possible motives, everything from a tangled love affair to a black-market organ-procurement ring. But it's Harry's trio of four-footed companions -- her cats, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and her corgi, Tucker -- who discover the real secret at the hospital, which is connected to the facility's former function as a cornerstone of the Underground Railroad.
Brown's charming depictions of small-town life in rural Virginia give her story a cozy feel, while the often quirky characters help to keep the story lively. And feline lovers will delight in some of the mischievous antics of Mrs. Murphy and Pewter. As always, Brown has crafted a solid story with an intriguing mystery at its heart, but it's those crafty, four-footed compatriots that make this series so uniquely purr-fect. (Beth Amos)