Whiskers in the Dark (Mrs. Murphy Series #28)

Whiskers in the Dark (Mrs. Murphy Series #28)

by Rita Mae Brown, Sneaky Pie Brown

Hardcover(Library Binding - Large Print)

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Whiskers in the Dark: A novel of the war in Vietnam 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous 8 months ago
It's always a fun trip when you join Rita Mae Brown's cast of characters. This is the first time she's added a ghost beagle, but he seems to fit in with the regulars. Whiskers in the Dark joins my library right next to all of the other Sneaky Pie Brown adventures. A murder during the run up to the beagle show leaves our cats and dogs investigating along side our ghost. Their shenanigans are always entertaining and they always get their man. But you can count on a very entertaining read along the way.
P-Lopez 11 months ago
Whiskers in the Dark by Rita Mae Brown has two murders—one current day and one from the eighteenth century. I loved all the animals written about and involved in this story. It took me a bit to get fully invested in the storyline, and there were several characters to keep track of, but it was relatively easy to follow. The mystery held my interest. I liked the way the author unfolded the story from current day 2018 and the older story in 1787. I enjoyed the characters in the 1787 setting and their storylines. The illustrations were a nice touch to the book.
MerriGib 12 months ago
I have been a fan of the Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown from the very beginning, and I always look forward to the latest story. As with several recent Mrs. Murphy stories, this one features a dual story line: a new, current story in April, 2018, the other an ongoing story from September 1787, resulting in a multi-layered, multi-century piece that brings historical perspective to the present day. The historical material is thought-provoking. For me, it strikes a chord as my own ancestors settled in Virginia in the 18th century. So many themes appear--including the process that created our country, the effects of slavery, the impact of war on the South--and indeed, on all of us. I learned about hunting with beagle hounds, which is quite a different process than foxhunting (another topic that is dear to Ms. Brown--Rita Mae, that is). As always, we are given an intriguing mystery to solve, we meet again our favorite characters, human and animal. There is an endearing new animal character here, the devoted beagle ghost Ruffy, waiting patiently for his ghostly human to be at peace. I found this an absorbing and touching story. Once again both Browns have woven an intricate and absorbing tale for us to enjoy, even as they move us to ponder some important subjects, both past and present. My thanks to authors, publisher, and NetGalley for providing an advance copy to read and review.
jdowell More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting mystery set in two time periods - present day and 1787. There are suspicious murders in both time periods. In the present day scenario Harry Harristeen and her pets - cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter (love this name for a cat) and two dogs Tucker and Pirate - investigate both the present day and the 1787 murders. The talking animals are adorable - I enjoyed them. The setting is against a backdrop of an annual Hounds F4R Heroes beagle and basset hunting competition at an estate in Virginia. Unfortunately I didn't find the ending to either scenario very satisfying, but did find the investigation interesting. There's quite a bit of historical discussion that history buffs may enjoy. The descriptions of the dogs competing was enjoyable as well.
kaitlynspet More than 1 year ago
Rita Mae Brown's Whiskers in the Dark takes place in the late 1700s and 2018. There is the mystery of a person wearing her good jewelry buried in someone else's grave. Has she been there for over 200 years? Harry finds the dead bodies of two of her friends and Mrs. Murphy and her friends try to help Harry solve the murders before she is one of the dead, too.
diane92345 More than 1 year ago
Set at a National Beagle Association event, Whiskers in the Dark is another satisfying entry in the Mrs. Murphy cat cozy mystery series. Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, crime solving cats, plus Tee Tucker, a Corgi dog, and Pirate, an Irish Wolfhound puppy, get clues to two mysteries from a ghostly beagle only they can see. In current day, a man is found murdered before the annual Hounds for Heroes benefit hunt. Then, a woman’s skeleton from the 1780s is found with a broken neck and wearing an expensive necklace. What is her story? I enjoyed the past mystery the most. It tells a story of slavery and freedom. The current day mystery seemed to be a little rushed to make room for the historic one. However, it is always a pleasure to spend a few hours with Harry and Mrs. Murphy. Whiskers in the Dark is no exception. 4 stars! Thanks to Bantam Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
bamcooks More than 1 year ago
In the 28th outing of this mystery series set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, 'Harry' Haristeen and her friend Susan have joined a crew of workers who are cleaning up the weather-damaged site belonging to the National Beagle Club of America in Aldie, Virginia which is about to host an annual competition put on by Hounds F4R Heroes. Just days before the event occurs, one of the volunteer workers is found brutally murdered, but his wife insists the annual event must go on. When another death occurs, Harry starts putting her considerable mental skills into solving the case. The area itself has seen many deaths, as it was a site involved in the Civil War, and many think it is haunted, including Harry's pets who actually meet the ghost of a beagle. Yes, the animals are a fun addition to the cast of characters of these books. Ms Brown has begun weaving a bit of historical fiction into her mysteries in alternating chapters, giving us a sense of what life was like for both plantation owners and slaves in the years following the Revolutionary War. I recommend this as a quick summer read. If you enjoy an intriguing mystery mixed with a bit of historical fiction, this series is perfect for you. The animals are quite amusing too. Don't worry too much about jumping in in the middle of a series--Ms Brown thoughtfully includes a 'Cast of Characters.' And as always, there are some delightful pen and ink drawings that enhance the enjoyment of the story. Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for providing me with an arc of this new mystery for an honest review. It was a delight to spend some time with old 'friends.'
SandySez More than 1 year ago
This books tells two different, but intertwined stories, told in both modern and historical times. As expected of this author, this book is skillfully written with a tight plot and great 2 and 4 legged characters. I was kept guessing until the very end! I received this book free and chose to make a voluntary, unbiased review.
trulynightwing More than 1 year ago
A time traveling story *and* a work by Rita Mae Brown. It does not get any better than that! I read this in one sitting and just wished it were longer!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this 28th book in the 'Mrs. Murphy' series, amateur sleuth Harry Haristeen investigates several unnatural deaths with the help of her cadre of 'talking pets': the cats - Mrs. Murphy and Pewter; the corgi - Tucker; and the half-grown Irish wolfhound - Pirate. ***** The story, set in northern Virginia, ping pongs between the present (2018) and the time right after the Revolutionary War (1787). In the present, Harry Haristeen and her best friend Susan Tucker are helping prepare the grounds at the 'Institute Farm' in Aldie, Virginia. The Institute will be the site of a fundraiser called 'Hounds F4R Heroes', being held to benefit veterans. The fundraiser will consist of a beagle hunt and a basset hound hunt, and fallen trees need to be cleared to make the area safe for running dogs and the humans that follow them. A large number of Virginians are involved in the upcoming hunt, including prominent citizens who were formerly in the armed services or diplomatic corps. These include Arlene Billeaud -'Master of Blastoff Beagles', and Jason Holzknect and his wife Clare Holzknect- 'Joint Masters of Chesapeake Beagles.' Many other people will attend the hunt as well, either entering their dogs or just running along for fun. In the meantime, a grave in the cemetery of St. Luke's Lutheran Church has been vandalized, and - when the grave is opened - a woman's body is found on top of two long buried caskets. The caskets were interred in the late 1700s, and it's assumed the body (just bones by now) was thrown in at about the same time. What's really shocking, however, is that the body is wearing a pearl necklace and pearl and diamond earrings estimated to be worth at least $600,000. Of course amateur sleuth Harry, who's intensely curious about odd occurrences, wonders about the dead woman - and hopes to figure out what happened to her. The bejeweled body leads to flashbacks from 1787, when two large farms - called Cloverfields and Big Rawly - occupied the area. The property owners, in addition to running their farms, constantly discuss the Constitutional Convention (occurring at the time) - and we get a big dose of history. Moreover a British prisoner who was captured during the American Revolution married one of the farmer's daughters, and - being an architect - designed St. Luke's Church. As was usual in the 1700s, both Cloverfields and Big Rawly used slaves. Some of the slaves in the story - like the butler, cook and weaver - seemed relatively content and some of the slaves - like the stable boys - became runaways. I was uncomfortable with the author's somewhat rosy-ish depiction of a slave-owning family - which has nothing but the slaves' best interests at heart. Really?? I suspect the author's loyalty to Virginia influenced the writing. As we follow the 1787 storyline, we learn how the bejeweled woman came to be in St. Luke's cemetery. In the chapters that jump back to the present, we find that events take an ominous turn and Harry soon has a lot on her plate. First Harry finds a body with a slit throat and later a body that APPEARS to have died from natural causes.....but Harry suspects foul play. In between investigating the three deaths (one ancient and two current), Harry spends a lot of time talking about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War with her friends - all of whom are knowledgeable about the battles that occurred in Virginia. There's lots of chit-chat about w
RaineyMae-Cupcake More than 1 year ago
As a cozy mystery, Whiskers in the Dark may seem cute with cats and dogs that talk to one another and try to help their person, Mary Minor Haristeen (known affectionately as Harry), when trouble comes her way. Having read most of Rita Mae Brown’s 28 books in this series, I have grown quite fond of Harry, her cats Pewter and Mrs. Murphy, and her Corgi, Tee Tucker. Now there is a new pup in the family as well, Pirate. We don’t see much at all of Harry’s veterinarian husband Fair in this one, but we do see her friend, Susan Tucker, who accompanies her as she journeys to the Blue Ridge Mountains to help with the cleanup in preparation for the Hounds for Heroes benefit event. The dogs and cats accompany Harry, naturally. Did I say mystery? During the cleanup, one of the volunteers is found brutally slain. Harry, of course, is right in the thick of things. Did I say “mystery”? Make that “mysteries.” Harry also assists at her church, where an eighteenth century skeleton is found. The victim was murdered , most likely a black woman. What makes this even more strange is that the skeleton is wearing what appear to be very expensive pearls. What was her story? In recent “Mrs. Murphy” books, Rita and her co-author have delved into the past. This time, the discovery of the skeleton segues into a tale of two plantations, Big Rawly and Cloverfields. Ms. Brown and Sneaky Pie don’t tell us that slavery was difficult, that it was wrong. They show us. We see the contrast between the treatment of slaves by the two owners, Maureen Selisse Holloway at Big Rawley and Ewing Garth at Cloverfields. I was struck, too, by the portrayal of the slaves. They are not perfect human beings. They are, simply, human. Some are good to the core. Some are untrustworthy thieves. Unlike some other works of literature, Brown’s slaves do not speak in a dialect that distinguishes them from their white owners, even though they lack education. Some care deeply for their white families, and it is mutual. There is even the opportunity for love between slaves from different estates. How will that be dealt with? Both owners have individual slaves upon whom they depend for the operation of their properties. Is someone among them a murderer? Back to the present day, a rare April snowstorm makes the cleanup challenging. When another death occurs, Harry is convinced that it is no accident. In fact, she is certain that it is related to the first one. Her animals are concerned. They know what their mom is like! Everyone, including the cats and dogs, knows that Harry is a busybody who loves playing amateur sleuth. She just can’t help herself. There is another little mystery tucked in here too – a ghost beagle named Ruffy appears. Is he from the eighteenth century, or did he die more recently? Will he be reunited with the ghost of his person? As mysteries go, Whiskers in the Dark is just average. There are just a few modern-day political digs, fewer than in some of Brown’s recent books. However, she focuses on more enduring concepts, like equality and justice. Harry, and ultimately, the reader, must decide whether the surprise ending is acceptable. It took me by surprise, and I am still not sure... I missed some of the banter that is a hallmark of these stories, but I did like the addition of Pirate to the critter family. I also have to mention, once again, that the illustrations are marvelous, as always!
Tangen More than 1 year ago
pets, urban-fantasy, friendship, basset-hounds, beagles, murder, 18th-century, contemporary, Virginia ***** A fully dressed skeleton complete with obviously expensive jewelry and a neatly snapped neck is found atop a coffin buried in 1787. While preparing the field and kennels after a violent storm prior to the annual competition hosted by Hounds F4R Heroes, a local huntsman well known to the usual participants is discovered almost immediately after having had his throat cut. The investigation into these two murders is followed in alternating narratives to bring each to resolution. Of course Mrs Murphy and her fellow pets of Harry Haristeen are the main detectives, but are helped out in this case by a dog from 1787. Very interesting and engaging! Good sleuthing by all, and a totally unexpected resolution. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine via NetGalley. Thank you!
PamMcC More than 1 year ago
Rita Mae Brown writes of history during the colonies’ struggles and about the people, free, slave, honest, cruel, intelligent and cunning in both good and bad. She writes of today’s world and brings out in the characters of Harry, Susan, Arlene and others the same traits. Her story is rich in fact as well as enjoyable in fiction. The animals ponder humans and although they despair of them at times, they love and defend. In this setting, Harry and Susan are helping with the basset and beagle trials funding Hounds F4R Heroes an actual organization. The animals find a ghost beagle who wants her owner to finally be at rest. When two hunters are murdered, Harry thinks things through and only needs to find out who, and why. Things aren’t just black and white and Harry may be in danger. Meanwhile, the past setting is around the lands inherited by Susan, Harry’s dear friend. The year is 1787, a year of unrest in France and the time of the Constitution written and discussed by our colonies. The people at this time must learn to maneuver with their neighbors in business and personal affairs. It’s obvious that the author will lead us into another book to look forward to. The history is rich and the times and characters are true to their times.
joannefm2 More than 1 year ago
Harry and her friend Susan are helping out clearing the grounds for the Hounds for Heroes run for Bassets and Beagles. Along with other volunteers, they find a problem on the road that needs the help of a tractor, and one of their friends, Jason Holzknect, sets off to find one. But when he doesn't return, they set off to find him...and they do, with his throat slit. While Harry is convinced someone at the club killed Jason, everyone wants her to let the police handle the case. And when another body is found Harry begins to connect the dots, never realizing that the truth is indeed stranger than fiction... Meanwhile, the discovery of a centuries-old skeleton in a grave marked for another leads to other questions: who killed the woman and why put her on top of the casket of someone else? Why a couple of parishioners are more interested in the expensive jewelry she wore, Harry, of course, is interested in her origins and who hated her enough to leave her there... Harry's joined, of course, by her faithful friends: cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, dogs Tucker and new friend Pirate, who's recently adopted and still growing. The animals make their own friend in this book, that of a ghost Beagle named Ruffy who has a tale of his own, and hopes his new found friends can help him. It's a mesmerizing story of love, betrayal, death, revenge, and money, and the author tells it well. As Harry refuses to let go of Jason's murder, she's warned off gently but it doesn't stop her, and she's determined to solve the case. She begins to put the pieces together and convinces herself of the reason why the man was murdered; and through her determination and self-will, she keeps going, knowing there's more to the story. Once again we revisit the eighteenth century where the Ewings and Holloways are neighbors, and we see how difficult life was in that century, where the author puts a different spin on the thoughts of certain beliefs of that era. I do believe that people forget that all souls are products of their time, and to expect anything different is sheer foolishness. I, for one, understand this and never expect the past to be the same as the present, nor would I wish it to be. It was a different world, when America was new and people were learning to survive in this country - any way they could. When the truth of the murder is found, I had already figured out the killer as I read a lot of mysteries and for the most part it's rarely difficult, but I have always stated that it's the journey that's the most fun in mysteries - watching how the protagonist puts the pieces together, and Harry's almost an expert in this. It brings home a few questions of our own to answer, and our answers will tell us how we feel about this book. I, for one, absolutely loved it, and felt that justice was done. I was satisfied with the ending, and look forward to the next in the series, where I can continue visiting with Harry and her friends, and of course the Ewings and Holloways. Highly recommended.
DragonNimbus More than 1 year ago
Harry, Mrs. Murphy, Pewter and Tucker are back in a new mystery! I was pleased and honored to read an ARC- I love Rita Mae Brown and the Mrs. Murphy mysteries. In this newest mystery, Harry Harristeen joins clean-up efforts in northern Virginia. A fierce storm ran through the National Beagle Club and Harry, best friend Susan, and their loquacious critters are helping to clear the area before the annual Hounds for Heroes benefit begins. While clearing trees from the trails the group uncovers a body with its throat cut. The corpse turned out to be retired foreign services officer Jason Holzknect. Another body turns up soon after, pointing the crew in the direction of members of the Club. Yet another body turns up, but this one is an eighteenth century skeleton with a snapped neck. Moreover it was found in Harry's local church. Marks were found around the skeleton, showing that someone had recently tried to remove it. Could the murderer be someone she knows? The murders are somehow connected and Harry must rely on the help of her four-legged friends to uncover more clues than the human eye can detect. They have the help of a beagle ghost for some inside information. Readers new to Mrs. Murphy will love this book as will long-time fans. The conversations between the pets are hilarious and add a unique voice to a great story. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rita Mae Brown began writing poetry before she wrote her first novel, Rubyfruit Jungle in 1973. I read Rubyfruit Jungle shortly after its publication. The second Rita Mae Brown book I read was Starting from Scratch: A Different Kind of Writers’ Manual, published in in 1988. Brown has written more than 60 books which include several series: “Sister Jane” Mysteries (11), Runnymede (4), Mrs. Murphy Mystery Series (28), and Mags Rogers Mystery Series (2), as well as 14 novels, and four nonfiction books. Additionally, as a screenwriter, Rita Mae Brown has written approximately nine screenplays. Whiskers in the Dark: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery is the first book written by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown that I read to review. I would never have considered that I would give the infamous Rita Mae Brown a four-star review, and yet I have. Brown is one of the best authors I’ve read to date, and I want to be clear that my four-star review has absolutely nothing to do with her writing ability. I found no fault in her writing style in regards to plot, character development, setting, problem, or solution. Brown is an unfettered mystery writer. Had there not been animals talking to one another and at their humans, I would have read Whiskers in the Dark in a day, at the most. However, I could not wrap my mind around the talking animals that were developed characters in Brown’s mystery novel. And each time the animals began conversing, I would stop reading and walk away from the book. I found the historical events that Brown wrote into her novel from the opposing differences of the cruelness of Henry VIII to the Virgin Queen’s compassionate rule fascinating. From the Civil War and the signing of the U.S. Constitution. The similarities of Russia in the days of Julius Caesar to that of today between Russia and its manipulation into our government. For the record, Brown does not come out and explicitly say this; however, it is implied. Brown also speaks to the questioning of the Vietnam war and the antiwar movement to the civil rights movement, and her reference of the Feminist Movement to the #MeTOO movement. The historical references were brilliant. And while Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown wrote a unique murder mystery that baffled me, Brown’s inclusion of humor was refreshing. There is an audience for Brown’s Whiskers in the Dark: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery, but I did find the talking animals distracting. Had there not been any animals, aside from pets, that were characters within Brown’s story, I would have thoroughly enjoyed the mystery as it was, without the talking animals. Thank you to Random House, NetGalley and Rita Mae Brown for the opportunity to read and review Whiskers in the Dark. D.B. Moone
Mama_Cat More than 1 year ago
It is pure delight to visit Harry, best friend Susan, and Harry’s pets and horses! The setting is interesting, with the backdrop of hunting to raise funds for a worthy cause, Hounds F4R Heroes, present day Crozet, historical events, and the intriguing mysteries occurring before and after the hunts. We visit Aldie, VA, as Susan, Harry, and a group of huntsmen prepare the National Beagle Club of America for the upcoming event that will raise money for military veterans to have sports events. Anything that could cause harm to the hunting dogs and people had to be trimmed or cleared, including trees downed by wind and storms and repairs to buildings as needed. I enjoy our regular characters, the history, and the camaraderie of Harry, Susan, and Coop. Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, Harry’s cats, and Tee Tucker and Pirate, her pups meet a ghost beagle. Ruffy is quiet at first but seems to be on a mission. The second weekend they are there, a tragedy occurred. Jason, a hunter who owns a Toyota and Lexus dealership, is found dead, clearly murdered, when bringing a tractor to where others are clearing a tree. It looks like he knew the person who got up close and personal enough to harm him. Jason had once worked overseas in the Diplomatic Corp, primarily in Turkey. His wife, Clare, was a retired Navy captain who had spent time in a ship outside Finland. A couple years earlier, after some damage was done around headstones of the first two folks buried, in the 1780’s, at St. Luke’s Cemetery, a unique murder was discovered. Laid on top of the two caskets with a snapped neck, no casket of her own, is the skeleton of an African American woman. She wore $600,000 worth of pearls and diamonds. There was no record of a death among the church membership, no missing person’s records found. The question is raised – what should they do with the jewelry now locked safely away? We return to 1787, to the family we met in other novels. Ewing Garth, his daughters and their families on Cloverfields, and the slaves who live at Cloverfields and the neighboring Big Rawley, which has been owned by Susan’s family for many generations are like old friends. I enjoy the characters and concerns of both Ewing’s family and the slaves, as well as learning about the history of the early days of our country. It’s hard to imagine that this is 28th in the Mrs. Murphy series, it has fresh, new elements. I enjoy Harry’s pets and their communications. Herself a Master of Hounds and a Huntsman, the author writes about the hunt, sharing a tale rich in action. While not a hunter, I was fascinated to have a front-page seat to the competition and a setting integral to the murder. It was a learning experience as Harry considers the political climate in which Jason and his wife had met and the drug culture of past employees, then tries to understand what could be behind murder. There was no way I could have discovered the motive for murder in this complex mystery even though I did guess whodunit. There was only one thing I was disappointed by; I felt as if I was on another 1787 cliffhanger with regards to events occurring in their lives. Otherwise, I highly recommend this to those who are fans of this series and author, dogs, cats, and horses, and well-written, intriguing clean mysteries. From a thankful heart: I received a copy of this e-ARC from the publisher through NetGalley, and this is my honest review.
4GranJan More than 1 year ago
Cozy Virginia Mysteries This story runs 2 murder mysteries side by side. One happens in modern-day Virginia, the other happens in the same area in 1787. It is fun running the two together. What is not fun is the constant soapbox speechifying. From wars to diabetes to the economy it drones on and on in the discussions of the modern day people. While the history lessons caught my interest, most of it did not. This was just not my cup of tea. I received this ARC from Net Galley for free and this is my honest opinion.
Reader4102 More than 1 year ago
This is a slow-moving story that takes place on two time lines – first in 2018 Virginia where Harry Harristeen and her friends are getting ready for the spring Hounds for Heroes benefit – assuming the weather cooperates – hosted by the by the National Beagle Club. The second storyline takes place in 1787 Philadelphia where the Founding Fathers have gathered to create the Constitution. Both storylines are well told but for the unsuspecting reader, perhaps the one who doesn’t pay attention to chapter headings, the changing from the now to the past can take the reader right out of both stories until she becomes used to the way the book is written. And having the animals carry on discussions in the middle of the humans’ activities is a little off-putting as well. And then there may be ghosts hanging about since the benefit is taking place on the grounds where a major Civil War battle occurred. This is the 28th entry in the Mrs. Murphy series, but you needn’t have read the first 27 books to enjoy this one. Brown does a good job of giving enough information about the characters and location so she doesn’t bore her long-time readers, doesn’t leave the new-to-the-series in the dark. Overall, this was an interesting read once Brown got the story in gear. If you like the concept of animals speaking to one another and helping their human solve crimes, this will certainly be the book for you. But if the concept of crime-solving animals is beyond you, then you’ll probably want to pass on this book. Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for a free eArc.
BeagleGirl123 More than 1 year ago
Whiskers in the Dark by Rita Mae Brown is not the first in the series, but it was the first I've read. Two mysteries happening at the same time - one present day and one historical - so there's a lot for the reader to follow along with. Nicely written, and even the pets have a say in the story. Everything wrapped up nicely at the end. Enjoyable.
MKF More than 1 year ago
Buy the premise of talking, crime solving pets! Do it! This latest installment in Brown's long running series sees a dual time line - the current day and 1787. Of course there are murders in both eras and Harry is going to solve them. A lot of the charm for me is in the location and characters- those familiar with the area will see that she nails them both. The mysteries themselves aren't especially twisty but you'll learn a bit about hunting hounds and the Revolutionary War. And you'll smile, especially at Pewter, Mrs. Murphy, Tee Tucker, and Pirate. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A satisfying read for fans and one which is fine as a standalone.