Usually, Yuletide season in Crozet, Virginia (population: 2,820) resembles a Norman Rockwell tableau or a scene in a Jimmy Stewart film. This year, however, a homicidal "secret Santa" has decided to leave dead bodies under Mary "Harry" Haristeen's Christmas tree. Harry has no choice but to solve the killings. To sniff out the guilty, she once again calls on her trusty feline assistants, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter. Super snooping corgi Tee Tucker also comes bounding to the rescue. A brisk Christmas caper.
Brown is perhaps the only known novelist who collaborates with her cat, Sneaky Pie, but if their writing is any indication of their inherent talent, then the relationship should be celebrated. The pair's 17th novel finds Harry and friends Mrs. Murphy, Pewter and Tee Tucker involved in a holiday investigation in which an old friend is the prime suspect. For newcomers to this popular series, the catch is that the supporting characters are, you guessed it, talking animals. Kate Forbes gives a solid performance, creating interesting and original voices for each character, both human and animal. Her voice flows well, drenched in a certain storybook charm that manages to entertain an adult audience. A Bantam hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 15). (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The 16th entry in the Mrs. Murphy mystery series (Puss 'n Cahoots) is the first holiday offering from Brown. Regulars "Harry" Haristeen and her sleuthing cats, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, seek out a murderer when a dead body appears under the Christmas tree. For all mystery collections and essential for series fans.
The holiday spirit takes it on the chin when a series of murders blemish picture-perfect Crozet, Va.
Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and her equine vet husband Fair are happily shopping for a Christmas tree when they discover a monk with his throat slit. The Brothers of Love, who support themselves by selling trees, do good works in the area. But many of their members are ex-cons. Surely they have some enemies from the past. Brother Christopher, for instance, was a schoolmate of Harry and Fair who lost millions for investors in an insider-trading scheme. Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the crime is the obol found under Christopher's tongue. One of three stolen from a local coin dealer, it was the customary payment to Charon to transfer souls across the river Styx. Harry, who along with her garrulous pets is a veteran of genteel homicide (The Purrfect Murder, 2008, etc.), can't keep her nose out of this latest puzzle. When another Brother, an ex-jockey, is found dead in the same fashion, the animals must pitch in again to keep their mother out of trouble. A local physician is the recipient of the third obol, but Harry's discovery of a chest full of money almost makes her the final victim.
Brown's legion of pet-smitten fans will no doubt overlook the preachiness of her latest in their eagerness to spend more quality time among her fearless feline and clever canine sleuths.
Agent: Wendy Weil/Wendy Weil Agency
As feline collaborators go, you couldn’t ask for better than Sneaky Pie Brown.”—New York Times Book Review
"An easy, enjoyable read ... Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie have written another winner in the Mrs. Murphy Mystery series." —Albuquerque Journal
“Reading a Mrs. Murphy mystery is like eating a potato chip. You always go back for one more…A deserving bestselling series.”—Midwest Book Review
“[Rita Mae Brown is] a master of the cozy cat genre.”—Publishers Weekly