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Whisker of Evil: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery Mass Market Paperback – January 25, 2005


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Whisker of Evil: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery + Cat's Eyewitness: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery + The Tail of the Tip-Off: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery
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Product Details

  • Series: Mrs. Murphy (Book 9780553582864)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (January 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553582860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553582864
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Brown (The Tale of the Tip-off, etc.) and her feline collaborator offer another winsome tale of endearing talking animals and fallible, occasionally homicidal humans, many of whom breed and raise horses in the small Piedmont town of Crozet, Va. Near Potlicker Creek, postmistress Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and her petsâ€"corgi Tee Tucker, tiger cat Mrs. Murphy and fat, gray kitty Pewterâ€"discover 34-year-old breeder Barry Monteith, "fit, handsome... and fun-loving," on the ground, his slashed throat gushing blood. "Death, often so shocking to city dwellers, was part of life here in the country." Later, Harry resigns in a pique when the overzealous, obnoxious animal-control officer prohibits her pets from the post office. A reawakening of affection for Fair, her former husband, and the building of an addition to her barn complicate things further. Her animals figure she's too distracted when Harry misses vital clues to Barry's murderâ€"and to the peculiar death of a second young breeder. The mystery thickens with a strange case of rabies that brings on the state health inspectors as well as the media. Brown perhaps overdoes the details of horse breeding, record-keeping and rabies, but fans are sure to cheer as Tee Tucker, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter rush to their mistress's rescue at the harrowing climax. Illustrations by Michael Gerraty not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–In a unique town in Virginia, the animals speak English to one another and help to solve murders. In this installment in the entertaining series, postmistress Harry finds the body of her friend Barry, a horse breeder, who seems to have been attacked by a bear. But no, it turns out that he died of rabies. When a second mysterious death occurs, the town is concerned that there will be an epidemic, and the officials refuse to let Harry's pets come to work with her. Readers learn details about rabies and horse breeding before the exciting climax in which Harry's animals fly into action to save her life. Delightful line drawings illustrate the creatures, usually in some adorable pose. Witty dialogue will bring a smile to readers' faces as the animals outsmart the humans.–Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By C. Ebeling on June 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Mrs. Murphy mystery series is like a favorite pair of old slippers. I'll read one no matter what, but I think this particular volume shows new life. Although I don't have the objectivity of someone who has never read any of the books by the team of Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown, I think a newcomer could easily join the club with WHISKER OF EVIL. It defines old characters and references to past events and purveys the strengths of the series. Comparing this book to others in the series and to its genre, it gets 5 stars.
The chief strength I find is that Brown succeeds in satirizing the "cozy" mystery genre at the same time she pays homage to it. She has created some genial though not uncomplicated regular characters and a world that she does not puncture even when shaking things up, which she does considerably this time around. She is realistic (well, as realistic as you get when animals have their own lines of dialogue). What began in her first books as a speck on a rural map of Virginia, the town of Crozet in Albemarle County, has become urbanized rural. Government regulations plague postmistress/heroine Mary ("Harry") Hairsteen. You can see the whole South grappling with its past, present and future through this series. In deceptively simple prose, she conveys a strong sense of how time and the world catch up with the individual.
The mystery itself is predictable. But who really reads or even writes "cozies" as brainteasers? Brown is having a lot of fun. She exercises a lot of knowledge about horse culture and airs her views on growth, government, taxes, ageing, and humanity, not to mention tourists who visit the real town of Crozet and don't find it as cute as they think a setting in a "cozy" should be.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By James A. White on May 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Rita Mae Brown, along with her cat Sneaky Pie, writes excellent mysteries set in the small town of Crozet, Virginia, with Mary Minor "Harry" Harristeen, the local postmistress, as the protagonist. Helping her are her three pets, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter--the cats--and Tucker--the corgi. All three animals carry on lively conversations and investigate along with Harry, even though none of the humans can understand them.

This mystery concerns the death of Barry Monteith, a local horse breeder. Even more mysterious is that fact that Barry, although viciously murdered, was also infected with rabies. Harry soon finds the class ring of Mary Pat Reines, a local horsebreeder who disappeared in 1967 with her prize stallion. Two more deaths soon follow, and the entire close-knit town is shaken, trying to discover the murderer and the source of Barry's rabies.

The only flaw with this book, and the reason I didn't give it 5 stars, is the author's fascination with horses. An excellent horsewoman (horseperson?) herself, she includes quite a bit of breeding information in the novel, which is interesting until she goes on for several pages about it. You can't skip it, though--there are clues enclosed in it. Fans of the series will do fairly well with the information, as Brown has given us a great deal about horses in all of her books, but it does drag after a while.

This book is very integral to the series, and many events that affect the entire series take place in it. For this reason, I don't recommend it to new readers. Pick up "Wish You Were Here" or "Rest in Pieces," the first two books in the series. Not only will you get the horse information, but you'll be better introduced to the marvelous cast of characters.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Allison on April 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When I bought this book, I realized that it was part of a series and in fact, the very last addition in it. I thought that I may have had a hard time understanding the characters and other important facts about this book. But, it didn't matter that I read the last book. Rita Mae Brown made it possible so that you could read this book first and still understand the whole story. I thouroughly enjoyed this book.
Mary Minor "Harry" Harristeen and her fellow animal companions have another mystery up their sleeves. A local horsebreeder has been murder. The catch is that this man also had rabies. Soon, Harry is following a trail of clues and reopened the disappearance of a horse breeder from 30 years ago. She feels that the 2 cases may be connected.
At the same time, Harry's post office will be moved into a new building with new rules, prohibiting her cats and dog from helping her with her job.
This book has many unsuspecting twists. I highly recommend it to any mystery or animal lovers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By doug Ciskowski on May 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up at random. I'm a cat lover so the premise didn't sound bad on the cover. I liked the animals. They were fine. Next time, I will research a series a little better. I expected it to be fluff but I was not prepared for the almost non-stop preaching. Everyone in town is the best. Horse people are better than the rest of Virginia. Virginia is better than the north. Pity those foolish non-hardworking non-Christians. Good writting? Forget it. Just throw in another adverb inexpertly.

If you like Christian mystery fluff, have at. Enjoy. Personnally, I am going now to finish the last three chapters in hopes that at the end, one cat will turn to the other and say "Man, these people are full of crap."
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