Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown are back chasing mystery with their unique circle of Southern sleuths. And though the changing colors of fall are a beauty to behold, this year the scattered leaves hide a grim surprise.
“As feline collaborators go, you couldn’t ask for better than Sneaky Pie Brown.”—The New York Times Book Review
Autumn is in the air in the Blue Ridge Mountain community of Crozet, Virginia—and all the traditions of the changing seasons are under way. Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen cleans her cupboards, her husband, Fair, prepares the horses for the shorter days ahead, and the clamorous barking of beagles signals the annual rabbit chase through the central Virginia hills. But the last thing the local beaglers and their hounds expect to flush out is a dead body.
Disturbingly, it’s the second corpse to turn up, after that of a missing truck driver too disfigured to identify. The deaths seem unrelated—until Harry picks up a trail of clues dating back to the state’s post-Revolutionary past.
The echoes of the Shot Heard Round the World pale in comparison to the dangerous shootout Harry narrowly escapes unscathed. Next time, it may be the killer who gets lucky. But not if Harry’s furry friends Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tucker can help it. Lending their sharp-nosed talents to the hunt, they’ll help their mistress keep more lives from being lost—and right an injustice buried since the early days of America’s independence.
Praise for A Hiss Before Dying
“Clearly the cat’s meow.”—Library Journal
“Thoroughly delightful!”—Red Carpet Crash
“An air of mystery, a touch of history and that undeniable voice . . . Sneaky Pie Brown is back on the prowl.”—Daily Progress
“The staccato conversation style of the contemporary chapters contrasts nicely with the more fluid prose of those set in the eighteenth century. Brown’s signature asides—on such subjects as local and national politics, traditional art, race, God, and just about anything else that strikes her fancy—give readers plenty to think about.”—Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Brown's leisurely paced 25th Mrs. Murphy mystery (after 2016's Tall Tale) finds farm owner Mary "Harry" Haristeen's pets Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, both cats, and Tee Tucker, a corgi enjoying a walk one autumn day near sundown in Virginia's rural Albemarle County. When the animals spot an eagle carrying a strip of bloody flesh in its talons, an obliging blue jay informs them that it's a blue human eyeball. "Sometimes a horse will have blue eyes," Tucker comments. (Yes, these animals can communicate with each other, which is a big part of the appeal of this long-running series.) Soon two unidentified bodies turn up, and Harry and her pets do what they can to assist in solving the murders. The present-day action is supplemented by a story, told in flashback, of prominent families in Albemarle County and Richmond shortly after the Revolutionary War. Brown uses her knowledge of Virginia history to illuminate some of the economic hardships facing the new nation and the social mores of the time. The staccato conversation style of the contemporary chapters contrasts nicely with the more fluid prose of those set in the 18th century. Brown's signature asides on such subjects as local and national politics, traditional art, race, God, and just about anything else that strikes her fancy give readers plenty to think about besides the loosely connected plot lines.
A Hiss Before Dying
I enjoy this series and looked forward to reading this one. However, I didn’t like it at all. It flipped back and fourth between 1786 and 2016. Lots of focus on complaining about government then and now. I felt more educated than entertained.