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Hiss of Death: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery Mass Market Paperback – February 28, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Mrs. Murphy
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553591614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553591613
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers concerned about breast cancer will welcome Brown's 19th Mrs. Murphy mystery (after 2010's Cat of the Century). While Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen copes bravely with a diagnosis of stage one breast cancer, a sad discovery distracts her from her illness. Shortly before the 5K Run for Breast Cancer Awareness, Harry and her pets find the corpse of well-liked OR nurse Paula Benton, one of the event's organizers, who appears to have died of anaphylactic shock from a hornet's sting. But was it murder? Paula had been having problems with Thadia Martin, a former addict turned drug counselor at Central Virginia Medical Complex who was jealous of Paula's friendship with Dr. Cory Schaeffer. Brown sensitively depicts Harry's cancer treatment as the paw-biting action, which includes Schaeffer's almost fatal electrocution (via electric car), builds to the revelation of a surprising killer. (May)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“As feline collaborators go, you couldn’t ask for better than Sneaky Pie Brown.”—The New York Times Book Review

“[Rita Mae Brown] reunites the reader with beloved characters, supplies a wealth of local color and creates a killer whose identity and crimes are shocking.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
 
“The paw-biting action . . . builds to the revelation of a surprising killer.”—Publishers Weekly


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

This book was just plain BORING!!!
Jean F. Barley
I would not recommend this book to anyone, unless they want an education on breast cancer!
Sylvia U. Pritchard
I'm glad I only checked this one out at the library and didn't waste my money buying it!
DVD watcher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

144 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Julieanne on April 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wanted to like Hiss of Death, after all, some of my favorite books have been the Mrs. Murphy mysteries. I'm afraid this one fell prey to the same bugaboo as Cat of the Century--political, and other, rants. I understand Rita Mae's feelings, I even agree with a lot of her politics, but she has to get off that soapbox and write us a mystery we can enjoy.

I blame her editors, too, who have let this sort of thing through. There's about half a good mystery here, but the other half of the book is composed of polemics on politicians, taxes, big business, land development, and of course, in a book involving Harry's treatment for breast cancer, medicine. We don't see most of the characters we've come to know and love, don't even see Miranda when Harry is being treated for cancer, and Big Mim, Little Marilyn, BoomBoom, don't play any role. Susan's around, but more for window-dressing than anything. The plot, the characters, the animals, are all given short shrift in favor of the rants.

It would have been wonderful to actually see Harry's treatment, not just learn about it in a sentence or two, and we don't see how the conspiracy behind the murders is actually uncovered. No sleuthing, uncovering the truth, etc., etc. It all just seems to fall out of the sky in the last couple of chapters, and even the hints there are, are throwaways, skimped in favor of rants. Every time two characters start a conversation, one or the other launches into a monologue on some issue dear to Rita Mae's heart. This is what sank Cat of the Century, and it makes about 90% of the book just drag. When you have to skim big chunks just to maintain some interest in the book, it's just not working.

Please, Rita Mae, write letters to the editor to get all this out of your system, do editorials in Time and Newsweek, but when you sit down to write a mystery, write a mystery. We miss them.
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73 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on April 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
After years of being a faithful Rita Mae reader, I may have to hand over my card-carrying fan credentials. This is the second book in a row that has left me, gasp!, bored. Yes, bored. No plot. Very little mystery and none of the charm and humor that we've come to expect. Where are the animals??? And all the other characters that we've come to know and love? I have to agree with an earlier reviewer that Rita has gone off the rant deep end. I appreciate that she has opinions on what's going on in the world but writing them into a novel does not make for entertainment. Cut it out. Go back to writing. It's called "fiction" for a reason. I'll buy one more and if I'm bored again, I won't spend another penny. Boring is the "kiss of death" for me.
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Sylvia U. Pritchard on April 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hiss of Death is very disappointing. It's a book about breast cancer, diagnosis, and treatment, rather than a Mrs. Murphy mystery. The mystery plot is very poor and lacks cohesion, it doesn't seem to be very well thought out, and the animals, which are supposed to be the central point of the plot, are just not there. I do not buy these books to learn all about breast cancer, but that's what this book is mostly about. I would not recommend this book to anyone, unless they want an education on breast cancer!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By IRG VINE VOICE on April 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a longtime fan of the Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries, this is a real disappointment. In the past, I read them to relax and "catch up" with the beloved main characters that RMB developed over the years and to enjoy the leisurely descriptions of farm life and social life in Virginia.

These were never literary masterpieces, but they did have a homey/folksy feel and they were good, quick reads that left you satisfied.

This time around, not only is there next to no interaction with old faves, but the "new" folks seem like complete strangers because there's little real character development. We can't really care about their deaths and there's no real sleuthing to solve the mysteries.

Instead, this time around, the author seems to be on a soapbox, and while I have read other books that incorporate an author's views on a wide variety of topics, they have rarely been so obvious and relentless.

Cancer is a main theme in this book and that alone does not make a book unappealing. But the author seems to have left behind her storytelling skills. There are ways to tell cancer stories and explore the affects, especially on people we care about as we have come to care about the main characters.

But this is not what we get here. It's not about using cancer as a storytelling device, but rather it seems to be some sort of "platform" for the author who keeps dropping facts and all sorts of opinions about medicine, contemporary healthcare, alternative treatments, etc. in the middle of the story. The book needed serious editing and rather than getting us to consider some of the information that is included, it just seemed like we were getting bullet points from someone who was trying to "educate" us about cancer.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By RosieKip on April 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Oh, dear, after being a forever friend of Sneaky Pie and Rita Mae (have read the entire series 4 (yes, 4!) times, the last 2 "tails" have been major disappointments. Cat of the Century and Hiss of Death just didn't make it -- too political in every way with too much of a message. No charming escapism, just political 'stuff.' The wonderful friends of all the former books aren't here any longer and it's very sad for us very loyal purrfect fans. Perhaps if Rita Mae wants to write these books, she could use another format and leave out Mrs. Murphy and her wonderful friends. Please...
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