The Tail of the Tip-OffWhen winter hits Crozet, Virginia, it hits hard--and hangs on for months. That's nothing new to postmistress Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and her friends, who keep warm with hard work, hot toddies, and rabid rooting for the University of Virginia's women's basketball team at the old stadium affectionately dubbed "The Clam." But the usual postgame high spirits are laid low when contractor H. H. Donaldson drops dead in the parking lot. And pretty soon word has spread that it wasn't a heart attack that did him in. It just doesn't sit right with Harry that one of her fellow fans--perhaps even an acquaintance or neighbor sitting close by in the stands--is a murderer. And as tiger cat Mrs. Murphy is all too aware, things that don't sit right with Harry make her restless, curious, and prone to poking her not-very-sensitive human nose into dangerous places.
You don't have to be a cat lover to enjoy Brown's 11th Mrs. Murphy novel (after 2002's Catch as Cat Can), which centers on the "Clam," the University of Virginia's giant sports complex. After a women's basketball game, construction company owner H.H. Donaldson falls dead in the parking lot. The police and Crozet, Va., postmistress Mary Minor (Harry) Hairsteen are barely into trying to find out who killed H.H.-and how-when a second mysterious death occurs at the arena. While Harry snoops around, her cats, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and corgi, Tucker, do their best to help and protect their mistress. Thinking and talking pets may not be to every taste, but Brown writes so compellingly of the sprightly residents of the Virginia Piedmont, both human and animal, that you have to be a real curmudgeon not to be won over. The author breathes believability into every aspect of this smart and sassy novel. (Mar. 4) Forecast: National print advertising, public radio sponsorship announcements and a simultaneous e-book release all augur another run up bestseller lists. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2002
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