By Rita Mae Brown and Sneeky Pie
Copyright April 2011
Beloved authors Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-conspirator, Sneaky Pie Brown, sow the seeds of an all-new mystery featuring Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen, sleuthing cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and that incorrigible corgi Tee Tucker. This time around, the onset of spring ushers in more than hay fever as the animal friends must come to the aid of an ailing Harry to sniff out the season’s first blossom of murder.
Ah, spring! The redbuds open, the robins return, and the days lengthen. People’s spirits lift—as do those of their animal companions. As a wave of tilling and planting sweeps over Crozet, Virginia, Harry is especially excited: This year is her first harvesting grapes to sell. But then a health crisis sends her reeling into the forbidding world of hospitals and doctors, treatments and procedures.
Surviving this journey will be tough, but Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tucker will do their best to steer Harry in the right direction—as will her ever-helpful husband, Fair. Others will have worse luck: An especially promising nurse’s lifeless body is discovered without a mark on her. Then another hospital employee, who had seemed in perfect health, is also found dead. It’s clear there’s a mystery afoot—and that’s one thing Harry and her menagerie can’t keep their noses out of.
Let me preface my coming remarks by saying. I truly love Rita Mae’s writing. I’ve been reading her books for over 30 years, starting with a 2nd paperback printing of Ruby Fruits.
This new Harry book just isn’t up to her usual standards. It started slow, jumped into a murder that Harry gets drawn into, and spends the next 40 or so pages discussing cancer (an important subject of course but) to the exclusion of what I thought should be the story. Then she gets into politics, which we all know from the papers is that Virginia is not a happy state for Gays and Lesbians to live in.
She just seems to be losing the sparkle that made the Mrs. Murphy series so much fun to read and try to figure out before the pets did.
I will say though that her new series, which takes place on a ranch out west has all the things that made me love Mrs. Murphy. I hope she can find it in herself to pull it back together and bring the Mrs. Murphy books up to the standards that her fans have always expected and enjoyed.
This book unfortunately was a definite DNF