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Cat on the Scent Hardcover – March 2, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1ST edition (March 2, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055309971X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553099713
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,409,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

More About the Author

Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of the Sister Jane novels-Outfoxed, Hotspur, Full Cry, The Hunt Ball, The Hounds and the Fury, The Tell-Tale Horse, and Hounded to Death-as well as the Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries and Rubyfruit Jungle, In Her Day, Six of One, and The Sand Castle, among many others. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia.

Customer Reviews

Cat on the Scent is the usual Sneaky Pie read.
cat lover
It's like the last chapter was left off. (end spoilage) I'm giving this three stars, because it's the last point that really ruined the book for me.
jen-marie
After reading one book in this series I was hooked.
Susan L. Duncan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chrijeff VINE VOICE on October 23, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The sixth "Mrs. Murphy Mystery," featuring Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and her pets (Mrs. Murphy, the tiger cat; Tee Tucker, the corgi bitch; and Pewter, the fat gray cat who used to live in Market Shifflett's grocery), takes some interesting new tangents. There's a Civil War re-enactment, a haughty Britisher who gets shot (not fatally) in the very midst of the fray, a small plane hidden in an old stone barn, and a missing pilot; a dismaying discovery by the three animals in a pit full of discarded farm machinery, and the revelation it leads to; an appearance by the Reverend Herb Jones's cats, Elocution and Lucy Fur, who've been mentioned but never introduced before in the series; a cabal that may or may not be illegal but is certainly leading to some strange doings; and a murder that goes unsolved, even by the notoriously nosy Mrs. Murphy.
The high point of the novel, though, has to be the astonishing scene in which Tucker and the cats, having discovered Harry's neighbor Blair Bainbridge lying in his Porsche freshly shot, contrive to literally drive the car home to their mistress so she can call for help. It sounds incredible, but as Brown has set it up (foreshadowing with a newspaper story about a dog ticketed for driving without a license), it just seems a believable outgrowth of a series in which animals talk to one another, read the mail and the newspaper, and help solve crimes while still acting plausibly like animals. A not-to-be- missed entry.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 23, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although I'll still give it three stars for the simple reason that Rita Mae Brown writes with enjoyable style, I can't recommend CAT ON THE SCENT as highly some others in the "Mrs. Murphy" series. Brown's mystery novels have always been more about funny characters than plot, but this particular novel pretty much throws plot completely out the window.
CAT ON THE SCENT finds Mary "Harry" Harristeen (the young postmistress of tiny Crozet, Virginia) and her friends (both human and animal) drawn into a series of mysterious deaths that may or may not have something to do with a proposed reservoir. As usual, the writing is bright and the characters (including the felines Mrs. Murphy and Pewter and canine Tee Tucker) are entertaining... but on this occasion Brown seems to be straining her concept of animal characters, the overall novel seems unfocused, and many readers will find the conclusion frustrating. Mildly enjoyable, but not greatly memorable.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By jen-marie on January 25, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of the previous Rita Mae/Sneaky Pie Brown books, and really enjoyed them. I sort of enjoyed this one as well, but if I had it to do over, I wouldn't read it. Here's why:
- It's preachy. I can put up with, and even enjoy, some amount of commentary on the human condition from a "cat", but this book went overboard.
- In the previous books, it was a clever literary device to use pets to push the silly humans in the right direction, but this book went too far. Cats aren't smarter than people. Cats have brains the size of walnuts. I love my cat, but I've had her ever since I was a child, and she's never shown any desire to use her intelligence for anything other than catching birds, squirrels, moles, etc.
(Warning! Small spoiler to follow):
- The people never found the answer. Even the pets were just guessing. If I want to read about unsolved murders, I can read the newspaper. When I read a mystery story, the only thing I absolutely require from it is that at the end of the book, at least one non-guilty person has figured out (or been told) who did it, how, and why. The reader finds out who, how, and why, but none of the characters do. I don't think I've run across that in a mystery before--at first I thought maybe some pages had fallen out of the book or something. It's like the last chapter was left off.
(end spoilage)
I'm giving this three stars, because it's the last point that really ruined the book for me. Since it came at the end, most of the book was reasonably good.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't have much new to add to the previous reviews, except to say that I, too, have read all of the previous Mrs. Murphy books as well as Riding Shotgun and Rita Will. For some reason this story was strangely lacking. Maybe because she went a little over the top at the end and I couldn't suspend my disbelief as willingly as usual.
If this book had been the first one I read, I'm not sure I would come back for more. I also think the new illustrations are jarring after the previously wonderful ones. Growing up, Marguerite Henry was my favorite author (because she wrote about horses), but the books would have not been complete without Wesley Dennis' illustrations. I feel the same way about Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, Tucker without Wendy Wray.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Susan L. Duncan on January 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After reading one book in this series I was hooked. I read to escape the daily stress and pressure our modern world throws at us. If I want reality I'll watch the evening news. It is easy to visualize the three friends working together as a team. It was one of the best parts of this book. My advice, relax and enjoy these tails again and again!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ellen C. Falkenberry on April 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Personally, I like to see the killers in a cozy little mystery "get theirs" in the end. This one doesn't tie up the loose ends to my liking. Also, some of the animal action is just a little hard to take...even for me, a mother of 3 cats. Sorry.. not my fave. I'd like to see a series spin off from Riding Shotgun...
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