The animals in Crozet, Virginia, are a lot smarter than the humans, which will come as no surprise to the devoted fans of Rita Mae Brown's mysteries featuring Mrs. Murphy the tiger cat, the luxury-loving feline known as Pewter, and Tee Tucker, a curious corgi. In their seventh outing, they're leaps and bounds ahead of Harry Haristeen, the spunky postmistress they call Mom. Long before anyone else knows what's going on, they've figured out the connection between the shot fired at wealthy Sir Henry Vane-Tempest during the reenactment of a Civil War battle and a missing airplane hidden in Tally Urquhart's barn. They're better at finding evidence trampled underfoot at a crime scene than any detective is, and they know just whose lap to drop it in. While they might not understand exactly why county commissioner Archie Ingram is so exercised about Vane-Tempest's plans for development in Albemarle County--particularly when it promises to make him as wealthy as the husband of the woman he loves--they've sniffed out the sexual shenanigans that threaten to derail the private pact between Crozet's leading citizens. If Harry and her friends knew what the animals know, there'd be no mystery about it; there'd only be a charming and lighthearted story of chicanery in the new Old South with plenty of local color, the scent of lilacs wafting through every page, and the deft prose of a writer on top of her game. But then, there'd be no raison d'etre for the liveliest scene in the book, wherein Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tee take a turbo-charged Porsche for a breakneck ride through Virginia's verdant hills and dales. By the end of the book, the only mystery is whether Harry and Fair, her favorite ex-husband, will manage to get back together again in the next installment--or the one after that--of this popular series. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
The latest collaboration (after last year's Murder on the Prowl) between Brown and her feline muse is a charming and keen-eyed take on human misdeeds and animal shenanigans. Mrs. Murphy, the cat sleuth, out for an evening prowl, spots a small plane landing near an abandoned barn. Soon after, at an Albemarle County (Va.) Commission meeting, dissension arises over plans for a new reservoir, and two murders ensue. The owner of the plane, Tommy Van Allen, disappears, only to turn up later, frozen stiff in the refrigerator of a local food plant. Next, during a Civil War battle reenactment, a local landowner, Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, is shot in the back. Mrs. Murphy, ably aided by Tee Tucker the corgi and Pewter the cat, nudges the humans around her into finding evidence to braid all these stray strands. She even orchestrates a daring rescue. Told with spunk and plenty of whimsy, this is another delightful entry in a very popular series. Illustrations by Itoko Maeno not seen by PW.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.