Whiskers in the Dark
A Mrs. Murphy Mystery
Death stalks the Blue Ridge Mountains as a centuries-old mystery resurfaces and murder mars the lead-up to an annual beagle competition, in a thrilling new tale from Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown.
“As feline collaborators go, you couldn’t ask for better than Sneaky Pie Brown.”—The New York Times Book Review
A massive nor’easter has hit northern Virginia, where Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen joins groundskeeping efforts at the National Beagle Club at Aldie as the date for its springtime Hounds for Heroes veterans’ benefit approaches. Harry’s fellow volunteers, including her oldest friend, Susan Tucker, comprise a spirited group of hunting enthusiasts, some former service members themselves. But things take a sinister turn when, after a routine tree cleanup along the Club’s hunting trails, retired foreign services officer Jason Holzknect is found dead, throat slit from ear to ear. Soon enough, another murder in their midst jolts the preparations, convincing Harry that the killer is familiar with the Club—and must be close by, masked in plain sight.
The intrigue extends to the grounds of Harry’s beloved local church, where the identity of an eighteenth-century skeleton wearing precious pearls remains a mystery. The anonymous woman’s neck had been snapped, and marks on the grave where her body was secreted indicate that someone recently tried to remove it, leading Harry to question how well she really knows those around her.
As always, Harry’s crime-solving cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and Tee Tucker the Corgi share her determination to sniff out the foes among friends, even those long buried. Harry will need her four-legged companions’ help more than ever: a ghostly beagle only they can see may hold the key to the culprit.
Early in bestseller Brown's smoothly written 27th mystery featuring Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and her talking animals (after 2018's Probably Claws), Harry and her fellow volunteers are clearing away debris at the National Beagle Club in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains in order to make the grounds safe for a proposed hunt when they find retired Foreign Service officer Jason Holzknect with his throat slit. Another murder at the club ups the ante. Meanwhile, a woman's skeleton dating to the 18th century and wearing a pearl necklace is discovered in the local cemetery. Flashbacks to the years after the Revolutionary War tell the story of the woman who wore the pearls, which parallels the circumstances that led to the present-day murders. In lieu of detecting, Harry feels and intuits. For series fans, atmosphere is what counts: walking the dogs, stroking the cats, listening to the birds in the meadows, mucking out the stables, all accompanied by the animals' wise observations. Brown's love of nature shines through.