Curiosity just might be the death of Mrs. Murphy--and her human companion, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen. Small towns are like families: Everyone lives very close together. . .and everyone keeps secrets. Crozet, Virginia, is a typical small town-until its secrets explode into murder. Crozet's thirty-something post-mistress, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, has a tiger cat (Mrs. Murphy) and a Welsh Corgi (Tucker), a pending divorce, and a bad habit of reading postcards not addressed to her. When Crozet's citizens start turning up murdered, Harry remembers that each received a card with a tombstone on the front and the message "Wish you were here" on the back. Intent on protecting their human friend, Mrs. Murphy and Tucker begin to scent out clues. Meanwhile, Harry is conducting her own investigation, unaware her pets are one step ahead of her. If only Mrs. Murphy could alert her somehow, Harry could uncover the culprit before the murder occurs--and before Harry finds herself on the killer's mailing list.
Crediting her cat Sneaky Pie as coauthor, Brown ( Rubyfruit Jungle ) sets the thoroughly likable heroine of this mystery, Mary Minor Haristeen, in an admirable position to figure out who is murdering, in ghastly fashion, various pillars of her community. Harry, with constant companions Mrs. Murphy, a cat, and Welsh corgi Tucker, is postmistress of Crozet, Va. Postcards are sent to a wealthy contractor shortly before parts of his body are found in a cement mixer and then to a storeowner whose corpse, tied to a railroad track, is cut in three parts by the express. The cards alert Harry and friends to a plot that will take more lives before they discover the treasure that inspires the violence. Brown's lively characterization brings merchants and first-family Virginians alive with affection and verve. Even the snippets of conversation contributed by Crozet's four-legged inhabitants are credible rather than cloying. Harry's in-process divorce of the town vet gives Brown opportunity to wax wise on issues of human relationships, feminism and the pitfalls of greed. A charming adventure, with teeth.