CLAWS AND EFFECTWinter puts tiny Crozet, Virginia, in a deep freeze and everyone seems to be suffering from the winter blahs, including postmistress Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen. So all are ripe for the juicy gossip coming out of Crozet Hospital-until the main source of that gossip turns up dead. It's not like Harry to resist a mystery, and she soon finds the hospital a hotbed of ego, jealousy, and illicit love.
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December 31, 2000
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Excerpt from Claws and Effect by Rita Mae Brown
"People tell me things. Of course, I have a kind face and I'm a good listener, but the real reason they tell me things is they think I can't repeat their secrets. They couldn't be more wrong."
"People tell me secrets." The corgi looked up at Mrs. Murphy, the tiger cat, reposing on the windowsill at the post office.
"You're delusional. Dogs blab." She nonchalantly flipped the end of her tail.
"You just said people think you can't repeat their secrets but they're wrong. So you blab, too."
"No, I don't. I can tell if I want to, that's all I'm saying."
Tucker sat up, shook her head, and walked closer to the windowsill. "Well, got any secrets "
"No, it's been a dull stretch." She sighed. "Even Pewter hasn't dug up any dirt."
"I resent that." A little voice piped up from the bottom of a canvas mail cart.
"Wait until Miranda finds out what you've done to her garden. She hasn't a tulip bulb left, Pewter, and all because you thought there was a mole in there last week."
"Her tulips were diseased. I've saved her a great deal of trouble." She paused a moment. "And I was careful enough to pull mulch over the hole. She won't find out for another month or two. Who knows when spring will come "
"I don't know about spring but here comes Mim the Magnificent." Tucker, on her hind legs, peered out the front window.
Mim Sanburne, the town's leading and richest citizen, closed the door of her Bentley Turbo, stepping gingerly onto the cleared walkway to the post office because ice covered much of central Virginia.
Odd that Mim would own a Bentley for she was a true Virginian, born and bred, plus her family had been in the state since the early 1600s. Driving anything as flashy as a Bentley was beyond the pale. The only thing worse would be to drive a Rolls-Royce. And Mim didn't flaunt her wealth. Miranda, who had known Mim all of her life, figured this was a quiet rebellion on her friend's part. As they both cruised into their sixties, not that they were advertising, this was Mim's salvo to youth: Get Out Of My Way.