It's no secret that cats are a mystery writer's best friend. Just ask the bestselling team of Rita Mae Brown and her furry partner, Sneaky Pie Brown, back on the prowl with another unforgettable whodunit. This time a controversial miracle in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains sparks religious fervor-and a suspicious death. Now the indefatigable felines Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, along with the dogged corgi Tee Tucker, must trust their animal instincts to sniff out the worst of human nature.With the holidays approaching, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and her best friend, Susan Tucker, take a much-needed time-out at the mountain monastery of Mount Carmel. There, under the benevolent gaze of the statue of the Virgin Mary, their worldly worries are soon overshadowed. For in front of their very eyes the statue begins to cry tears of blood.
The 12th novel in this bestselling cozy series from Brown and her feline collaborator (after 2004's Whisker of Evil) offers the usual irresistible mix of talking animals and a baffling murder or two. After she decides to quit her job as the Crozet, Va., postmistress because her animal companions-cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter and corgi Tee Tucker-are no longer permitted to accompany her to work, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and best friend Susan Tucker retreat to a Blue Ridge Mountains monastery, where a statue of the Virgin Mary suddenly begins to bleed from the eyes. This curiosity, which attracts national media attention after a local reporter, Nordy Elliott, files a short piece on it, becomes more of a concern when Susan's beloved great-uncle, a monk, turns up dead at the foot of the statue. While Harry, her two cats and her dog investigate, Elliott becomes the next murder victim, in a symbolic manner linked to the supposed miracle. Though the culprit's identity is fairly obvious and some exposition borders on the simplistic ("If a person's last name began with `A,' their large package would go on the `A' section," we learn as Susan sorts packages at the PO), the animals' wry observations on human nature and beliefs amuse as ever. Michael Gellatly's charming illustrations perfectly complement the text. Agent, Wendy Weil. (Feb. 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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January 24, 2005
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