BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Rita Mae Brown's The Big Cat Nap.
Ah, spring! The brighter days and singing birds have a way of lifting people’s spirits, as well as those of their animal companions. But the season can also bring out the first blossoms of murder. As the redbuds open in Crozet, Virginia, Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen is especially excited—until a health crisis sends her reeling into the forbidding world of hospitals and doctors, treatments and procedures. Surviving this journey will be tough, but Harry has her animal friends—and her ever-helpful husband, Fair—to support her. Others are considerably less fortunate: A promising nurse’s lifeless body is discovered without a mark on her. Then another hospital employee, who had seemed in perfect health, is also found dead. There’s a mystery afoot—and that’s one thing Harry and her menagerie can’t keep their noses out of.
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.