Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: The Big Cat Nap by Rita Mae Brown

Author: Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown
Publisher-Format: Random House, 2012, ppbck ARC, 220 pages
Subject: Insurance/auto repair fraud, murder
Setting: Crozet Virginia
Series: Mrs. Murphy Mysteries
Genre: cozy mystery
Source: Early Reviewer program from LibraryThing - publisher provided

Although this is #20 in this long-running series, readers who are unfamiliar with early episodes can meander into the Blue Ridge mountain town of Crozet and not feel they're missing anything.  I hadn't read one of these in several years, and I could notice big changes in character's lives but only because I'd read the earlier stories.  Rita Mae Brown still gives us Mrs. Murphy, the striped tabby cat, Tucker the Corgi, and luscious chunky Pewter, the "fat cat" who are devoted to the protagonist Happy Hairsteen, former postmistress now full-time farmer, now remarried to Fair, the local veterinarian.  We catch up with Harry's friend Susan, her pastor Rev Herb, her friend Coop the deputy sheriff, and we are treated to lively animal discussions among the critters who try to keep their human's overly active sense of curiosity from getting her into too much trouble as she discovers bodies, ponders anomalies in car accidents, and fixes tractors and trucks belonging to various members of the community.

There are indeed murders, there are indeed bodies and violence, but the southern ambiance of the small town, the glorious celebration of Flag Day, the description of small family owned farms and their attendant problems, the friendly cooperation of amateur sleuth and police professionals makes this a cozy with lots of meat.  It's an easy, comfy read, there are plenty of suspects, and solving the mystery of who killed all these young men who work at the auto repair shop is always just a few pages further than this reader could quite pin down, but it continues the series in its usual sharp, fun-loving tradition.  For fans of animals, farms, fast cars, and gentle southern manners.

1 comment:

  1. you know, I have never read any of the Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries...a cozy with meat sounds appealing.


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