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The Tail of the Tip-Off: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery Mass Market Paperback – Print, March 30, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Mrs. Murphy
  • Mass Market Paperback: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (March 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553582852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553582857
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #736,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

You don't have to be a cat lover to enjoy Brown's 11th Mrs. Murphy novel (after 2002's Catch as Cat Can), which centers on the "Clam," the University of Virginia's giant sports complex. After a women's basketball game, construction company owner H.H. Donaldson falls dead in the parking lot. The police and Crozet, Va., postmistress Mary Minor (Harry) Hairsteen are barely into trying to find out who killed H.H.-and how-when a second mysterious death occurs at the arena. While Harry snoops around, her cats, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and corgi, Tucker, do their best to help and protect their mistress. Thinking and talking pets may not be to every taste, but Brown writes so compellingly of the sprightly residents of the Virginia Piedmont, both human and animal, that you have to be a real curmudgeon not to be won over. The author breathes believability into every aspect of this smart and sassy novel.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

When a contractor drops dead at the local basketball game after an unfortunate encounter with poison, Mrs. Murphy is not amused. The fluffy feline takes on her 11th case.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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

Mrs. Murphy and Tee Tucker are my favorite sleuths!
Marilyn V
I have read nearly every book written by Rita Mae Brown.
mary s gregory
The characters are really interesting in this book.
Mary K. Louk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on March 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Life in rural Virginia seems simple, committee meetings to determine whether the church can afford new carpeting, snowfall, University of Virginia woman's basketball, and casual meetings of women to discuss the weather, children, and relationships. But these superficial goings on don't completely hide the reality of adultery, crime, and murder. When post office manager Harry Harristeen sees a construction contractor die of an apparent heart attack, and then learns that it was a cleverly disguised murder, she resolves to find out the truth. Harry is aided in her relentless curiosity by her two cats and one dog, all superhumanly intelligent but saddened by humans' inability to understand what they say oh too clearly.
Harry has her own problems--problems relating to her ex-husband, Fair, and the woman that Fair once had an affair with (Boomboom). She can't get Fair's unfaithfulness out of her system, but she doesn't want to let him go either. As for Boomboom, Harry likes to believe the worst of her, despite Boomboom's assurances that the affair happened only after Harry and Fair had separated.
Author Rita Mae Brown, along with her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown, create a compelling tone of rural life and death. Brown details a social structure that seems to have survived intact from pre-civil war days with women dominating the important events of the society and men providing entertainment and heartache. Pets, of course, are hugely important and the animal insights into humanity, religion, and nature, add to the enjoyment.
Brown resrains her pets in this story--there are no pet-driven vehicles, for example, but the animals manage to save the day once again as Harry's impetuous curiosity comes close to getting her killed.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on March 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It looks as if I'm in the minority here but I was not overly impressed with "The Tail of the Tip-Off." This latest Mrs. Murphy mystery novel is not a terrible read, but it is not vintage Rita Mae Brown either. For me, this book lacked focus. The mystery was an interesting one with plenty of promise, with lots of really interesting character realizations, and the usual humourous antics of Mrs. Murphy, Tucker and Pewter (plus their assorted friends) -- but I still finished the book feeling fairly unsatisfied.
The town of Crozet, Virginia is currently in the grip of both winter and basketball mania. And while tempers are running a little high, no one expected murder to work its way into the latest University of Virginia's women's basketball game. But that's exactly what happens when building contractor H. H. Donaldson suddenly collapses and dies after a game, and an autopsy soon reveals that he was mysteriously poisoned during the game. Bored and restless, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen (post mistress of Crozet, amateur sleuth and owner of Mrs. Murphy, Tucker and Pewter) is eager to figure out the who, why and how of the murder. (Anything is better than trying to decide once and for all if she should allow her ex-husband, Fair, to work his way back into her life on a more intimate footing.) Was H. H. murdered because of some past project and because he crossed someone in business? Or was he murdered because of his extracurricular marital affairs? How did the murderer manage to poison him in the full view of everyone at the stadium? Was his murderer his long suffering wife, Anne? Or a spurned lover? Harry and her furry friends, Mrs. Murphy, Tucker and Pewter are determined to get to the bottom of this latest murder...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. L Sadler VINE VOICE on August 24, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I just realized that selling a house in Harry's hometown of Crozet would be very hard to do given the amount of people who manage to get themselves killed there. Maybe the residents hold grudges a bit more than most, or maybe the area just seems to attract irritating people. I have to admit, many of the people who get killed there would drive me batty, but resorting to murder seems a little over the line answer to the problems.

Anyhow, having two cats and a dog myself, I can testify to their general nosiness and their tendency to get 'into' things you don't want them to get into. Over the years I've come to realize that scientists are definitely wrong about a lot of things concerning animals and their abilty to understand. When I was growing up I remember a rather famous scientist stating that animals don't 'play' and we should stop anthromorphizing them (meaning: don't give them human characteristics). Since then, I've seen significant amount of evidence that animals do 'play', and do many other things we don't understand. I won't go so far as to give them the ability to solve crime...but I am willing to suspend judgement so I can enjoy Brown's books.

Part of the reason Brown's books are enjoyable is the fact that she characterizes well. It would be lovely if we could all live in small towns where people really know each other and their quirks. But the reality is that most of us don't stop to take the time to get to know people and enjoy them, as well as the animals around us.

Harry always manages to be involved some way or another in these crimes. In this case the guy who was sitting behind her during Crozet's beloved basketball games, manages to keel over in the parking lot.
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