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Hiss of Death: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery Mass Market Paperback – February 28, 2012
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
I was hoping the last novel was just an aberration, but it appears not to be so. I agree with RMB on some of the political issues, but if I wanted a political rant and how unfair the world is I would go to Huffington Post to get my daily dose of politics as usual.
Cancer is a serious subject, but I would prefer not to see it in the Sneaky Pie books. These books were always light hearted and fun and I enjoyed the antics of the animals. I didn't find that in this. Nor do I feel that a mystery novel is the place to rant about politics.
What started out as a fun series of books have turned boring and into a soapbox. No More.
On the other hand, since reading the book, I've started doing push-ups and walking a mile on my treadmill - so it wasn't a total loss! It might be a good book for someone struggling with breast cancer to read.