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Caturday Reads: Tall Tail is an impressive addition to the Mrs Murphy mystery series

Tall Tail

A Mrs. Murphy Mystery

by Rita Mae Brown

Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine


Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 17 May 2016


Rita Mae Brown continues to be one of the most well known and beloved authors of cat/dog cozy mysteries. Despite the long run of the series, her plots remain fresh and captivating, as well as pertinent.

Tall Tail is an intriguing novel that links two murders - one modern (the unexpected death of Barbara Leader, former governor James Holloway's nurse) and one historical (the murder of Francisco Selisse, a businessman with a penchant for brutality). The connection between the deaths is surprising but quite believable. When it comes to developing a strong plot, Rita Mae Brown is an expert.

What may cause some to waver in interest is the amount of political discussion that takes place throughout the novel. Rita Mae Brown doesn't shy from the issues, particularly racism and is clearly against politicians who seek out power for its own sake rather than to serve the needs/desires of constituents. Politics does play an important role in the plot, so its inclusion is planned, not gratuitous.

My only wish is that the illustrations included with the text were better. Somehow, they were not as nice as those in her previous novels.

I can definitely recommend Tall Tail, as well as Rita Mae Brown's other novels. The Mrs Murphy mysteries do not have to be read in order.


I received a copy of Tall Tail from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



At any moment a perfect summer day in Crozet, Virginia—nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains—might turn stormy and tempestuous, as Harry knows too well when a squall suddenly sweeps in. In a blink, Harry's pickup nearly collides with a careening red car that then swerves into a ditch. Harry recognizes the dead driver slumped over the vehicle's steering wheel: Barbara Leader was nurse and confidante to former Virginia governor Sam Holloway.

Though Barbara's death is ruled a heart attack, dissenting opinions abound. After all, she was the picture of health, which gives Harry and her four-legged companions pause. A baffling break-in at a local business leads Harry to further suspect that a person with malevolent intent lurks just out of sight: Something evil is afoot.

As it happens, Barbara died in the shadow of the local cemetery's statue of the Avenging Angel. Just below that imposing funereal monument lie the remains of Francisco Selisse, brutally murdered in 1784. Harry's present-day sleuthing draws her back to Virginia's slave-holding past and the hunt for Selisse's killer. Now it's up to Harry and her furry detectives—Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tee Tucker—to expose the bitter truth, even if it means staring into the unforgiving eyes of history and cornering a callous killer poised to pounce.

Praise for the Mrs. Murphy Mysteries

“As feline collaborators go, you couldn't ask for better than Sneaky Pie Brown.”—The New York Times Book Review

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