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Santa Clawed (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries) Hardcover – November 4, 2008

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Product Details

  • Series: Mrs. Murphy Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807066
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #992,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Murder casts a shadow over the yuletide cheer in bestseller Brown's 17th Mrs. Murphy mystery (after The Purrfect Murder) to feature Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, former postmistress of Crozet, Va. On a visit to the Brothers of Love Christmas tree farm, Harry, her husband and their animal friends are dismayed to stumble on a murdered monk. Someone has cut the throat of Christopher Hewitt, a former insider trader, and placed a Greek coin, an obol, under his tongue (in Greek mythology an obol ensures safe passage to the underworld). Deputy Cynthia Cooper and sheriff Rick Shaw's investigation grows to include the similar murder of Brother Speed, a former jockey. Who's targeting the monks? Next, Harry's almost killed after her wily pets alert her to money hidden on her land. Figuring out whodunit leads the Haristeens and the authorities to a double-edged discovery regarding the root of all evil that fans of the furry detectives and their two-legged pals will appreciate. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Newly remarried Harry Harristeen, full-time farmer (and amateur sleuth), is excited about the upcoming holidays, but her spirits are dashed when she finds a dead monk at the Christmas-tree farm. Of course, Harry’s three cats, Mrs. Murphy, Tucker, and Pewter, are just as interested as Harry in uncovering the murderer, who’s wrecking the holidays for everyone by killing off the seemingly selfless monks. This series is just about as formulaic as cozy mysteries can be, but it’s a formula that works, and this entry is just as fun and satisfying as the rest, from the sassy dialogue between the animals to Harry’s dedication to solving crimes, even when it means risking her own safety. The secondary characters, from husband and equine vet Fair to friend and deputy Cooper, provide a solid backdrop to the story. Demand will make this an essential purchase for all mystery collections. --Jessica Moyer

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

I enjoy reading Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy mysteries.
linda wu
It is a very enjoyable and fun read, as are all of the books in this series.
Susan M. Gardner
The Sneaky Pie series is enjoyable and I look forward to each one.
C. Dibling

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on November 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
We are accustomed to talking about "summer reads," those light but compelling novels we have in hand on planes or at the beach, gulping down a few chapters on vacation or sunning at the park. In winter we like to turn to serious books, thick tomes to lose ourselves in, ideally sitting before a warm fire, snuggled in a favorite chair. But the holidays are times of rest and travel as much as the summer is, and snowy and cold days call for fun and well-written books as much as hot and humid days do. Enter Rita Mae (and Sneaky Pie) Brown and SANTA CLAWED, a solid mystery with familiar characters and a brisk pace, just perfect for wintertime reading.

The small, tight-knit town of Crozet, Virginia, is gearing up for Christmas. Mary Haristeen, known to all as Harry, is busy preparing for holiday parties and events, spending time with family and friends. But as colder than typical weather blows in, the town finds itself dealing with a series of murders, and the only clue to solving them is a bit of Greek mythology.

It all starts when Harry and her husband Fair go to the tree lot run by the Brothers of Love, a monastic order living on the outskirts of town, to select a Christmas tree. They find the perfect pine but also come across the slain body of one of the monks at the end of the lot. Brother Christopher had been raised in Crozet, and after getting in trouble for white collar crimes, he dedicated his life to The Brothers of Love. He was well liked, so it was hard to imagine who would hate him enough to slit his throat right before Christmas. Harry promises to stay out of the way of the police investigation, but another murder and her own assault --- after finding a suspicious box hidden in the woods near her home --- make that impossible.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By D. Morse on November 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This series has had its ups and downs but, happy to say, this latest entry shows Sneaky Pie and Rita Mae are definitely back on track. The authors' opinions and views are less preachy and integrated better into the story which is a darn good mystery. The ending has a couple of nice and (to me) unexpected twists. The animals are hilarious and delightful as usual. The very last page will have you smiling and shaking your head at the very least if not laughing out loud. This is also a great story to get you in the mood for Christmas. ENJOY!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
With the Christmas holidays arriving soon, life seems comfy in Crozet, Virginia; a place where all sorts of animals talk to each across species lines. The only ones who don't understand the inter-animal communication system are the dumb humans. Although Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen thinks she can sometimes comprehend what her pets are saying especially her two cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and to a lesser degree her corgi Tee Tucker.

Harry and her husband Fair are looking for a Christmas tree at a farm run by The Brothers of Love, a group dedicated to helping AIDS patients at their hospice. When they reach the monks' tree farm near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Harry and Fair are stunned to find the dead body of Brother Christopher, who joined the monastery soon after he left jail. He was sent there for insider trading bilking clients for millions. When a second monk is found murdered, his throat slashed similar in a way to Christopher's death with a coin also in his mouth, the police know they are dealing with a cold blooded killer. Harry and her animal caretakers investigate only to find her caught in a web by a predator willing to make the Yuletide season blood red.

Obviously similar to previous tales in the long running saga, anyone who appreciates a pick me up filled with humor and murder will want to read SANTA CLAWED. Although Harry and Fair remarried they are still honeymooning while finding corpses decorating trees. The animals do what they do best one claw make that clue at a time while trying to keep their meddling beloved owner safe from her actions that place her in danger. The mystery is fun as the killer is in plain sight but difficult to identify. Team Brown provides another enjoyable Harry and her PUSS `N CAHOOTS anthropomorphic whodunit.

Harriet Klausner
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By spiketheartist on December 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I used to enjoy this series. The characters used to have more depth and more differences; now nearly every one of the standard cast of characters is full of sweetness and light. That's not only not real, it's boring. The books used to be "cozy" but with spirit; now they're blah. The plots have become too predictable, with the heroine's cats and dog miraculously saving her time and again. I know from the earlier books in this series, and from Brown's other mystery series, also set in Virginia among horses, that she can do much better work. I fear she is running out of either inventiveness or interest, which is sad - I have enjoyed her books and many of her characters. I bought this Mrs. Murphy book, but I won't buy the next one - I'll just take it out of the library and read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Ebeling on April 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Rita Mae Brown's mystery series starring pets and their owner has been a guilty pleasure. After more than a dozen entries in the series, I am addicted. I read the good ones--which satirize at the same time they fondly celebrate the collision of traditional Virginia horse country culture with the modern world--and the not so good episodes that just don't deliver the same amount of character, wit and cultural coloring. When she's very, very good, RMB stays true to her airtight version of Crozet, Virginia. In a couple, she's strayed beyond her world either geographically or thematically. This time out, she mostly stays true to that world, but the air is out of it, like a flat tire.

I was worried that "Santa Clawed" arrived too quickly--less than a year--on the heels of the previous mystery and the haste shows. One of the trademarks of the Mrs. Murphy series is the author's introductory cast of characters list. This is half conceived, with only some of the regular residents of Crozet mentioned and none of the newcomers who traditionally fill the list of the dead, the suspects and the occasional new pal. Another trademark is that at some point in the story, you can count on a brawl of some sort breaking out at a social event. Nope. Big Mim and husband Jim, Little Mim and her husband, Aunt Tally, Tazio and Tracy hardly or not in evidence at all. The Christmas season should have given the author an opportunity to explore her community's traditions in comic yet respectful detail. Instead, even with the murders, it feels kind of eventless. Our human sleuth is injured and instead of solving the mystery with the lead of the pets who are always ahead of her, cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter and dog Tucker, she's mostly recuperating and being protected. The mystery is more inane than simple.

And yet, it is better than no Crozet, no Harry and Fair, no animals. A friend who has had a lot of good days is having a bad one. That's all.
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