A Mrs. Murphy Mystery
by Rita Mae Brown
Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine
Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 29 May 2018
It is never easy to keep a long running series fresh and interesting. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of repetition. Rita Mae Brown’s success as an author is a testament to her ability to move forward and allow her characters- both human and animal, to develop with time. As in her previous novel, Probable Claws has two related storylines separated by over two centuries. The narrative alternates between present day Crozet and post Revolutionary Virginia. It is a fascinating and unusual storytelling method.
In the present, Harry and a friend are present when their friend Gary, a local architect, is gunned down. Anger and devastation make her nosing in on the investigation a certainty. Before Gary went into private practice, he worked for a major developer, and its possible that something from his past made his elimination a necessity.
In the past, the former colonies are struggling to decide on a government design and monetary policy, and the landowners like Rachel and Katherine’s father, who provided money and arms for the revolution are working hard to keep things together. Slavery is present, but Rita Mae Brown treats all of her characters as individuals, and does not glorify the past.
The murder mystery aspect is secondary to the human drama, and as always the situation is enlivened by the assistance of Mrs Murphy, Tucker and Pewter. The inclusion of illustrations is another nice touch. Though they may not be to everyone’s taste, the Mrs Murphy mysteries are in a category all their own.
Probable Claws is an enjoyable novel, blending mystery with human drama. Fans will definitely enjoy Rita Mae Brown’s newest novel. Though the novel can be read by newcomers, I recommend reading at least a few of the previous novels first.
4 / 5
I received a copy of Probable Claws from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown return to Albemarle County, Virgina, as tangled mysteries past and present converge in the bestselling Mrs. Murphy series.
“As feline collaborators go, you couldn’t ask for better than Sneaky Pie Brown.”—The New York Times Book Review
With the New Year just around the corner, winter has transformed the cozy Blue Ridge Mountain community of Crozet, Virginia, into a living snow globe. It’s the perfect setting for Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen to build a new work shed designed by her dear friend, local architect Gary Gardner. But the natural serenity is shattered when out of the blue, right in front of Harry and Deputy Cynthia Cooper, and in broad daylight, Gary is shot to death by a masked motorcyclist.
Outraged by the brazen murder, Harry begins to burrow into her friend’s past—and unearths a pattern of destructive greed reaching far back into Virginia’s post-Revolutionary history. When Harry finds incriminating evidence, the killer strikes again.
Heedless of her own safety, Harry follows a trail of clues to a construction site in Richmond, where the discovery of mysterious remains has recently halted work. Aided as always by her loyal, if opinionated, companions, crime-solving cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and Tee Tucker the Corgi, Harry hunts for a link between the decades-old dead, the recently violently deceased—and ancient secrets that underlie everything. And while other deaths are narrowly averted in a flurry of fur, the killer remains at large—ever more desperate and dangerous. The deep-rooted legacy of corruption that’s been exposed can never be buried again. But if Harry keeps pursuing the terrible truth, she may be digging her own grave.