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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better the prior two or three books in the series
I've been reading the Mrs. Murphy series since they first began and really enjoyed them until a couple of books prior to this one. Like many readers, I thought they were a little too "preachy" and had lost the fun, engaging stories that made them such a joy to read. I almost stopped reading them after the last book but decided to give it one last try with this one. I'm...
Published on April 15, 2012 by Avid Reader

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59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay mystery
When several of Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen's friends have minor car accidents that end up with their cars needing major repairs, Harry becomes more than a little suspicious about the repair shop. Harry, being Harry, starts asking questions but before she can learn much, one of the mechanics is murdered. Soon the bodies start piling up and Harry is determined to find out...
Published on April 3, 2012 by drebbles


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59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay mystery, April 3, 2012
By 
drebbles (Arlington, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Big Cat Nap: The 20th Anniversary Mrs. Murphy Mystery (Mrs. Murphy Mystery, 20th Anniversary) (Hardcover)
When several of Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen's friends have minor car accidents that end up with their cars needing major repairs, Harry becomes more than a little suspicious about the repair shop. Harry, being Harry, starts asking questions but before she can learn much, one of the mechanics is murdered. Soon the bodies start piling up and Harry is determined to find out what is going on. However, she needs to be careful or her curiosity may get her killed.

I used to read Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy mystery books and enjoyed them, but I drifted away from the series several years ago, tired of the preachiness in the books. I won this copy of "The Big Cat Nap" and decided to see if the series had improved. Unfortunately, it really hasn't. In this case it wasn't the political issues that bothered me - although they do exist - Brown's major target in this book is the auto repair industry (as well as her usual thoughts about farming). For me the problem with the book is that is just seemed lightweight. It was obvious early on who the bad guys were, even before the bodies started piling up. The writing is sloppy - too many times Brown explains things instead of showing them - for example, how many times do we have to be told that Harry is a motorhead? (Brown eventually did attempt to show that a little but by that point it just didn't work for me). A car accident that is an important part of the plot is thrown in there thoughtlessly - almost as if it doesn't matter to the plot - a scene with the terrified driver would have worked much better. At times Harry is far too trusting. Too often Brown seems to underestimate the intelligence of her readers by explaining something that readers can easily figure out on their own. Finally, while the animals, Mrs. Murphy, Tucker, and Pewter are usually the strong points of this series, they, outside of an incident in the cemetery, don't really play an important part in this book. Instead, it seems like all they did was fight.

"The Big Cat Nap" is an okay book in what was once a good series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better the prior two or three books in the series, April 15, 2012
This review is from: The Big Cat Nap: The 20th Anniversary Mrs. Murphy Mystery (Mrs. Murphy Mystery, 20th Anniversary) (Hardcover)
I've been reading the Mrs. Murphy series since they first began and really enjoyed them until a couple of books prior to this one. Like many readers, I thought they were a little too "preachy" and had lost the fun, engaging stories that made them such a joy to read. I almost stopped reading them after the last book but decided to give it one last try with this one. I'm glad I did. I can't say the story is all the way back to being what they used to be but I can say that I enjoyed this one a great deal. I agree with some of the reviewers that the soap box quality is still there but it is dialed down a good bit from prior books; I also agree that the story is light on engagement with the animals - one of the key reasons I've enjoyed reading these stories; and, I also agree that the plot was a bit easy to figure out. That said, it is still a very enjoyable book with likeable characters and worth the time to read it.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great if you like lectures and sales pitches, May 29, 2012
By 
JBJ (Gresham, OR) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Big Cat Nap: The 20th Anniversary Mrs. Murphy Mystery (Mrs. Murphy Mystery, 20th Anniversary) (Hardcover)
I enjoyed the early books, but the last two I've read have been unbearable. I was willing to give her a second chance but this one is as bad as the last. She harps on breast cancer, lectures on religion and politics, and drops the names of products left and right. Is she getting a kickback from Coke and Apple Computers? Criticizing Dell service was just tacky. She seems to think no one will read her books more than a few months after she writes them, giving a "permanent" place to her current passions. And I, for one, won't be reading her books at all in the future.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Big Cat Nap: the 20th Anniversary, May 18, 2012
I digitally checked this book out from my Library. I'm glad I didn't spend any money for it as it was boring and too preachy. A few times I was the one taking a Big Cat NAP. Too much blah, blah, blah and not enought Mrs. Murphy, Tucker, Pewter and other animal sidekicks. This could have been a short story, half the length. I think Ms. Brown has gone over the edge in using her books to express her social issues agenda. I'm really disappointed as I have always looked forward to a release of her new books.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not so good anymore, April 28, 2012
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I used to read these books all the time and couldn't wait for the next one. Not anymore. The last two were downright boring. Not enough about Mrs. Murphy and Tucker. Too much about Pewter's whining. I do wish Ms. Brown would get back to her formula like when she was writing about Harry, Miranda, and the animals in the Crozet PO. I won't be buying anymore of these books.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too bad Harry couldn't have stayed in the Post Office, June 30, 2012
By 
Melissa Weintraub (Corvallis, Oregon USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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When Harry was the postmistress, the books were more organic, meaning that Harry (and the critters) came by information more naturally because people visited the post office and chatted and because Harry was downtown and thus in the midst of the action. With Harry mostly out at her farm, she depends on errands or visits for interactions, leading to a lot of exposition. In addition, in the earlier books, the animals talked more like animals.

Now, however, the books have become a grandstand for RMB's thoughts on various topics. Even the animals mostly discuss these issues, though how they get the information, apart from hearing Harry discuss it, is beyond me. I appreciate that part of the point of these books is to illustrate that animals are more perceptive than humans, but would they really care about non-dealer car parts?

The writing, as well, is less well-editing than in earlier of her novels. For one, there are too many adjectives--even about the same thing in the same sentence! In addition, in order to clarify information for the readers, RMB includes information when she could just write "Harry said"; instead, we get so-and-so "citing" a highway. (Not really a proper use of the word cite.) In many of these cases, they readers can figure out what is meant based on the content of the quote (for example, so-and-so complained).

Further, there is unnecessary information in that RMB inserts extra lines about how the characters feel about each other when she has already shown this in both this and previous books. In one case, a chapter begins with Cooper being described as envying Miranda, mostly for her garden and her skills in it; this would lead readers to believe that Miranda would play a role in the chapter. Instead, we get a description of Cooper's struggle with a burdock root and then a visit with Harry and Susan. So that first paragraph had no relation to the novel.

Finally, and this is less about this particular novel and more about all of them, is that she puts her animals at risk taking them for rides. (I sure hope all of them were hiding in the well behind the front seat during the chase scene in this book--and that if she had raced around the track, she would have taken them out first.) In general, it's not safe to have animals able to roam around the car. During a short stop or an accident, they can be thrown into or through the windshield or even hit the driver; even the small weight of the cats becomes a lot of velocity. Sneaky Pie's only caveat to this is that one begin this practice with cats when the cats are very young. Okay, that's the end of my grandstand--and of my review.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not interested in cars, motors or raceways, April 16, 2012
By 
Mary (Springfield, Virginia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Big Cat Nap: The 20th Anniversary Mrs. Murphy Mystery (Mrs. Murphy Mystery, 20th Anniversary) (Hardcover)
The only word that I can use for this book is "boring". To be honest, I am not interested in cars or machines. This book is too mechanical for me. I wish there was more of the animals and less on cars, motors, insurance and car repair. It is just not my type of storyline.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She's back!, May 4, 2012
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This review is from: The Big Cat Nap: The 20th Anniversary Mrs. Murphy Mystery (Mrs. Murphy Mystery, 20th Anniversary) (Hardcover)
Enjoyed the book very much, paced my reading so as not to finish too quickly. It's a long wait between books. Ms. Brown is moving the series back to her earlier style of writing. I'm looking foward to the next installment. She may have been what some reviewers called "preachy," however, she does induce one to think. I've learned a lot from her writings and also received enjoyment from the series.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 20th Aniversary cheat, May 22, 2012
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I bought this thinking the 20th aniversary was going to be something special. Instead it was too short, mostly a soapbox of her opinions, and very little story. Big dissapointment. I have read almost every book, and they keep getting shorter, with little content, and no fun.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, boring, May 30, 2012
This review is from: The Big Cat Nap: The 20th Anniversary Mrs. Murphy Mystery (Mrs. Murphy Mystery, 20th Anniversary) (Hardcover)
I've read all the books in this series and have become disenchanted with the recent ones. I find the author to be pedantic and preachy. I'm a positive person but the writing has become syrupy and dull. Characters are constantly saying overly sweet "things" to each other. The animals seem to have a small role which used to be the highlight of these books. Plot development is very poor. I tried one of the books in the canine series & returned it to the library after reading a few chapters & being bored. Life is too short to spend it reading unsatisfying books. This is the 20th anniversary of Mrs. Murphy--maybe the author should put this series to bed.
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