The Big Cat Nap: The 20th Anniversary Mrs. Murphy Mystery (Mrs. Murphy Series #20)

The Big Cat Nap: The 20th Anniversary Mrs. Murphy Mystery (Mrs. Murphy Series #20)

by Rita Mae Brown

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
“As feline collaborators go, you couldn’t ask for better than Sneaky Pie Brown.”—The New York Times Book Review 
 
It’s mid-May and murder is once again in full bloom in Crozet, Virginia—or so it seems to Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen. The trouble begins when Harry’s dear friend Miranda Hogendobber takes her on a leisurely drive that ends in a narrow drainage ditch. The chaos continues when the Very Reverend Herbert Jones’s Chevy pickup also abruptly goes kaput. But these vehicular mishaps are nothing compared to the much more distressing state of a mechanic discovered by Harry in a local repair shop: His head’s been bashed in. Despite numerous warnings from her much-loved coterie of friends, human and otherwise, Harry quickly surmises that the time has come to pop the hood and conduct her own investigation. Her animal companions see disaster fast approaching but can do little except try their best to protect their foolishly intrepid human. Harry’s race to the truth leads straight to powerful forces determined to avoid scrutiny at any cost—even if it means running Harry Haristeen off the road for good.
 
Includes a preview of Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown’s next Mrs. Murphy mystery, The Litter of the Law

“Harry and her pals are on the case. . . . [Brown] fills the series with rich central Virginia color, and readers will greet the recurring characters with fondness.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
 
“[A] delightful book.”—Huntington News

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345530455
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/30/2013
Series: Mrs. Murphy Series , #20
Edition description: Anniversary
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 112,795
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of the Sneaky Pie Brown series; the Sister Jane series; A Nose for Justice and Murder Unleashed; Rubyfruit Jungle; In Her Day; and Six of One, as well as several other novels. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia.
 
Sneaky Pie Brown, a tiger cat born somewhere in Albemarle County, Virginia, was discovered by Rita Mae Brown at her local SPCA. They have collaborated on numerous Mrs. Murphy mysteries—in addition to Sneaky Pie’s Cookbook for Mystery Lovers and Sneaky Pie for President.

Read an Excerpt

A red-shouldered hawk, tiny mouse in her talons, swooped in front of the 2007 Outback rolling along the wet country road. She landed in an old cherry tree covered in pink blossoms, which fluttered to the ground from the hawk’s light impact.

“Will you look at that?” Miranda Hogendobber exclaimed from behind the Outback’s wheel, as she drove to the garden center over in Waynesboro.

“Raptors fascinate me, but they scare me, too,” Harry Haristeen remarked. “Poor little mouse.”

“There is that.” Miranda slowed for a sharp curve.

Central Virginia, celebrating high spring, was also digging out from torrential rains over the weekend.

Harry, forty and fit, and Miranda, late sixties and not advertising, had worked together for years at the old Crozet post office.

When Miranda’s husband, George, died, Harry, fresh from Smith College, took his position as head of the P.O., never thinking the job would last nearly two decades. Miranda, despite her loss, showed up every day to help orient the young woman whom she’d known as a baby. Harry’s youth raised Miranda’s spirits. In mourning, it’s especially good to have a task. Over the years they became extremely close, almost a mother–daughter bond. Harry’s mother had died when Harry was in her early twenties.

Noticing fields filled with the debris of the now-subsiding waters, Harry observed, “What a mess. Can’t turn out stock in that. You just don’t know what else is wrapped up in all those branches and twigs.”

“Hey, there’s a plastic chair. Might look good in your yard.” Miranda smiled.

“Well,” Harry drawled the word out, like the native Southerner she was.

The younger woman, generous with her time and happy to feed anyone, could be tight with the buck. Miranda couldn’t resist teasing Harry about a free if ugly chair.

“This is sure better than my 1961 Falcon,” the older woman said. “Initially I resisted the Outback’s fancy radio. I mean, this is a used car and had the Sirius capabilities, but I didn’t want to pay extra. How did I live without it?” Miranda mused, now a Subaru convert.

“Regular cars can now do more than Mercedes or even Rolls from ten years ago. That’s what amazes me: the speed with which the technological developments of those high-end cars became commonplace in much-lower-priced vehicles. But I still love my old 1978 F-150 and you still drive your old Falcon. Hey, want me to wax it?”

“Would you? What a lovely offer.”

“You know how crazy I get with anything with an engine in it. I’ll clean the tires, refresh your dash. I’m a one-woman detailing operation.”

Her eyebrows knitting together, Miranda said, “Uh-oh.”

An odd pop, then a lurch, made holding the Outback on theroad difficult.

“Put on your flashers and brake.”

They slid toward a narrow drainage ditch, and the airbags billowed up inside as the wheel dipped in the ditch. Miranda couldn’t see.

If there was enough room, narrow drainage ditches, about one to two feet deep, paralleled the country roads. Occasionally, small culverts passed the runoff under farm driveways or sharp curves, moving the water, which could rise very quickly, away from the roads.

Even without vision, Miranda was not one to panic. She braked smoothly, and the right side of the car dropped into the ditch. The car rocked a little.

Asleep on the backseat, Harry’s two cats and dog rolled off.

“Hey!” Pewter, the rotund gray cat, howled.

The tiger cat, Mrs. Murphy, and the corgi, Tee Tucker, scrambled back up on the seat.

“No other cars,” the dog noted.

The tiger cat looked around. “Right.”

“I was asleep.” Pewter hauled herself up to sit next to her friends.

“We all were,” Mrs. Murphy drily noted.

“Well—I was more asleep.”

Harry, already outside, having punctured the air bag with the penknife she always carried in her hip pocket, crouched down to look at the undercarriage. Then she walked to the right front side of the car, front end inthe ditch.

“See anything?” As best she could, Miranda rolled up her air bag, which Harry had also punctured.

Harry called back, “Your right tire is cracked; the rubber’s flat, too. Do you have Triple A?”

“I do.” Miranda slid out as Harry helped her. “But I’m going to call Safe and Sound instead.”

Safe & Sound, founded and run by Alphonse “Latigo” Bly, was headquartered in Charlottesville. Specializing in auto insurance, the company covered the mid-Atlantic and coastal South. Many business people believed Safe & Sound would go national, sooner or later.

As Miranda called, Harry opened the back door of the Outback.

“Does anyone need to go potsie?”

“Must she put it that way?” Pewter grumbled. “And I am not about to get my paws wet.”

“We’re okay.” The corgi answered for the rest of the animals. Not seeing one of her best friends budge, Harry closed the door to the rear, then did her best to fold her air bag back into the dash.

Miranda was already on the phone with Safe & Sound, spilling out details, perhaps too many.

With difficulty, Harry opened the glove compartment, pulling out the manual.

Having concluded her phone conversation, Miranda informed Harry, “Someone will be here in twenty minutes. Says don’t call Triple A. He takes care of this stuff all the time.”

“Always best to do business with friends,” Harry observed. “When you try to save money, you usually waste time or spend even more money. Safe and Sound is local.”

Miranda sighed. “The older I get, the more I realize time is more precious than money.”

Harry, flipping through the manual, stopped at a schematic drawing of the auto frame. “You’re not old. Anyone who sings in the choir, gardens like you do, and is a member of every ‘do-good’ group in the state of Virginia isn’t old.” Changing the subject—a habit with dear friends—Harry declared, “Whatever happened, it wasn’t the engine. It may be a defective wheel, but there was that odd pop sound.”

“Yes. I couldn’t steer after that.”

“Weird.” Harry glanced back at the manual. “Subaru makes great cars for the money.” A fresh breeze brought the aroma of blossoms, flowers, and hay coming up, filling her nostrils.

“I’ll be curious to find out what happened. How lucky we were that the car swerved to the right, not the left into oncoming traffic. Better yet, there wasn’t any traffic.” Miranda exhaled.

“Monday afternoon. Everyone’s at work or in the fields. Herb’s truck is in the shop, too, after his collision last week,” Harry said, thinking of the minister at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, the Very Reverend Herbert Jones. “Things go in threes. Maybe I’m next.”

“I don’t know what happened, but I bet that will cost Herb an arm and a leg. Truck’s still at ReNu,” Miranda said, naming the garage favored by the insurance company. “He was driving his Chevy truck. His ‘bigfib’ truck.”

They laughed, because the Chevy, used for fishing and filled with tackle, was also filled with fish stories. Oh, how Herb could wax poetic on the one that got away! He was also all too happy to show what he had actually snagged, though the cats generally proved more interested in the display than did the humans.

“If you’re going to be stuck on the side of the road, best it happens on a beautiful spring day.” Harry smiled. “We were lucky. Unlike Tara Meola.”

Harry shuddered at the thought of the poor young woman killed last week in the hard rains when a deer smashed into her vehicle.

“True.” Miranda nodded.

“You just never know,” Harry sighed.



2

After a bitterly cold winter, spring had stayed cool until late April. It was now late May. Nights in the mid-forties or mid-fifties promised days in the sixties. Late-blooming dogwoods dotted the forests and manicured lawns. Over pergolas, the wisteria hung pendulous with lavender or white blossoms. The roses threatened to riot.

Harry walked through her tended acres. The farm maintained a healthy balance of crops, hay, and woodlands. Mrs. Murphy, Tucker, and Pewter followed, taking numerous side trips to investigate rabbit warrens and fox dens. The butterflies danced together, swirling, fluttering their beautiful veined wings.

Eying them deviously, Pewter crouched down.

“They see you,” Tucker said.

Ignoring the ever-practical dog, Pewter wiggled her gray butt, then leapt upward.

Without breaking rhythm, the butterflies flew away.

“Almost had ’em.”

“Dream on,” the corgi teased.

Mrs. Murphy at her heels, Harry turned. “Come on, you two.”

“She’s always giving orders,” Pewter grumbled.

“True,” the handsome dog agreed. “And she also always feeds us on time.”

Considering this, the fat cat trotted toward Harry, who was now leaning over to inspect the tops of sunflower plants just breaking the surface.

“With a little luck, I’m going to have a good year.”Harry smiled, then moved on to her quarter acre of Petit Manseng grapes.

Dr. Thomas Walker, Thomas Jefferson’s guardian after Peter Jefferson died, tried to grow grapes. Jefferson did, too. The types they wished to grow didn’t flourish. With the passing centuries, viniculture advanced, thanks to people on both sides of the Atlantic. The wine industry now poured millions upon millions into the area’s coffers, a boon to growers and a boon to Virginia.

The horse business alone contributed $1.2 billion to the state economy. Not that any horse wishes to be compared to a grape.

Shortro, a very athletic Saddlebred, and Tomahawk, an old Thoroughbred, hung their heads over their paddock fence.

“This will be the first year she can sell her grapes, ”Tomahawk noted. “Remember, she had to let the first year’s stay on the vine.”

“Even the broodmares know that.” Shortro laughed.“Harry’s obsessed with her grapes and her sunflowers. She’s just sure both will bring her money.”

In the adjoining paddock, one of the broodmares heard Shortro’s comment. “I resent that.”

“Ah, Gigi”—Shortro called the Thoroughbred by her barn name—“I didn’t mean anything by it. You girls are all wrapped up in your foals.”

Gigi tossed her dark bay head. “If she makes money, she over seeds the pastures in alfalfa. We all want Harry to succeed.”

The other broodmares nodded in agreement. Their foals, the youngest only a month old, hung by their sides.

Blissfully unaware that she was the topic of conversation, Harry chatted with her house animals. “I can put up scare crows and big plastic owls, but, you know, gang, sooner or later the birds figure that out, so I mustn’t do that too soon. I’ll wait until the grapes appear—tiny—on the vine, then I’ll put that stuff up.” She shook her head in exasperation. “Tell you what, birds and deer can wipe you out.”

“I can take care of the deer.” Tucker puffed out her broad chest.

“They’re nothing more than big rats.” Pewter was never one to keep her opinions to herself.

“Oh, but they’re so beautiful.” Mrs. Murphy loved watching herds of deer, with fawns still dappled, as they crossed the pastures and meadows before melting back into the woods.

The 1812 Overture began to play. Harry fished her cellphone out of her jeans’ hip pocket.

“Yes, baby.”

Her husband’s deep voice answered, “Good greeting.”

“What do you want?” She laughed.

“You and only you.”

Pewter could hear Fair’s voice, as could the other two animals, their senses much sharper than a human’s.

“So sappy.”

“Oh, Pewter, you’re such a spoilsport.” Tucker wagged hernon existent tail.

“Heard anything from Miranda?” Fair asked.

“No. Latigo Bly picked us up himself. Drove her home, then me. He said not to worry. The company would take care of everything. The car was hauled to ReNu, where there’s a backlog. Latigo said they’ve been overwhelmed with claims. There were quite a few accidents during all that rain.”

“Never thought of that.”

“Fair, we aren’t in the insurance business.” She laughed.

Fair believed that if you did business with friends, you had the advantage of speaking with someone whose native language was English.Although growing fast, Safe & Sound still seemed like a local outfit toHarry’s husband. Fair got his insurance from Hanckle Citizens, as did Harry.Both their parents had used the company and been well served. “We’ll hear aboutit tomorrow. Herb sure had a tussle when he had his little accident. He couldonly use ReNu, when he actually wanted to use Tom Harvey’s garage. He told meSafe and Sound insisted on ReNu, since the repairs are cheaper. That was theonly time I heard our Very Reverend Jones cuss a blue streak.”

Harry smiled. “I’d pay to hear that.”

“Called to tell you that I ran into BoomBoom”—Fair nameda childhood friend of theirs—“and she told me to be sure to tell you if youintend to sell your sunflower seeds this fall, you ought to get down to thehealth-food store right away. Yancy Hampton is buying now.”

“Yancy is what? Why on earth now? The crop’s not nearlyready.”

“She didn’t say. Oops, call on the other line, and itlooks like Big Mim. See you tonight, darlin’.”

Harry hung up with the thought that he’d be late forsupper, as one of Big Mim’s best mares suffered from lactating problems and thefoal needed that milk. If the mare couldn’t produce, Fair would need to find asurrogate. Since the stud fee had been $75,000 for this particular breeding andthe foal was correct, it was imperative to keep the little guy healthy as wellas get Mama back right.

Harry flipped shut her cellphone. She neither liked nordisliked Yancy Hampton, but, for Harry, neutrality bordered on suspicion.Still, money was money. She’d think on it.



3

The triple-sash windows, wide open, allowed a freshbreeze to fill the comfortable room at St. Luke’s Church, where thevestry-board meeting was now in progress. The administrative offices wereconnected to the church itself by an old stone arcade, so one could walkwithout getting soaked in those sudden hard Virginia rains. The St. Luke’scomplex was built around a lovely symmetrical inner quad, and parts of thechurch were some two hundred thirty years old. The entire site radiated calmand encouraged contemplation.

The early parishioners and pastor rested in a largerectangular cemetery behind the huge quad at a lower level. This lower largesquare was surrounded by a row of eighty red oaks, in front of which a borderof climbing roses cascaded over the stone retaining wall. The current pastor’sliving quarters anchored the far southern side of the large outer quad. TheVery Reverend Jones’s fishing gear could be seen leaning against the garage. Itwas a hopeful sight.

Also attending the vestry-board meeting were the Lutherancats, Elocution, Lucy Fur, and Cazenovia. As the humans—Harry beingone—discussed and occasionally argued about funds or the social calendar, thefeline parishioners languidly sprawled on the windowsills. Their kind were oncegods in ancient Egypt, but all had the good sense to keep that to themselves.Then, too, they loved their reverend. Why upset him with a competingtheological view? Humans could understand so little of cat communication. Soall felines—not just Elocution, Lucy Fur, and Cazenovia—recognized that thefeline–human relationship was often one-way. They pitied the two-leggedcreatures, but when that tin of Fancy Feast was opened, they utterly adoredthem.

“The riding mower needs a new air filter, and the bladesmust be sharpened.” Susan Tucker, Harry’s childhood friend, now in charge ofbuildings and grounds, read from her monthly report. “This isn’t terriblyexpensive. Jimmy Carter is excellent and more than reasonable, but because ofthat there’s a long, long wait time.”

“We can’t let the grass grow. It will look awful.”BoomBoom Craycroft, a smashing beauty, knew people would grumble about unkemptgrounds, and not just parishioners.

“Can’t we borrow a mower?” Harry sensibly inquired.

Craig Newby, in his first year on the board, replied, “Intheory, yes, but everyone is mowing. It’s been a wet spring. Some people aremowing three times a week.”

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The Big Cat Nap: The 20th Anniversary Mrs. Murphy Mystery 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 71 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Get off the soap box and go back to writing a good mystery.
ReaderCT More than 1 year ago
This was a noticeable change in tone for Ms. Brown and all of her characters. The animals are fighting all the time, and the people are downright 'snarky'. The plot is a good one. I do miss the horses in this series, but all the regulars are here. They're just all annoyed with each other all the time, which sets a stressful tone to everything. I do hope RMB gets her sense of humor back in time for the next one.
LinRob More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the bits about farm life, farm equipment and autos. The author's descriptions were interesting and informative. The relationships described among friends was gratifying. Harry's pets were a charming addition. Their conversations with each other were annoying at first but grew on me somewhat. I generally enjoy a much faster paced book but worth the read if you like to immerse yourself in small town life.
Anonymous 5 months ago
I have read all books by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Pete and have enjoyed all of them.
bookappeal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This latest mystery by Rita Mae Brown and her cat, Sneaky Pie, centers around the vehicle insurance and the repair business. Two prominent business men have joined forces and, by undercutting the competition, have managed to corner the market. Human nature being what it is, people are more than willing to save money on repairs, and they don¿t ask questions. But just how can a private business charge so much less than the dealership and still stay in business? When the mechanics at the repair shop start showing up dead, the female protagonist of the story, Harry, just has to get involved. As she gets closer to the crux of the situation, she becomes a target herself. Ms. Brown makes some interesting points and raises our awareness of imported goods and parts. You may be putting your life on the line when you settle, or demand, cheaper goods. The author gives us all something to think about with these issues neatly wrapped around an enticing mystery.
donna47 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It has been a while since I have read a Mrs. Murphy. I enjoyed them in the past but there is only so much time so I went on and read other things.I havent missed a lot in Crozet. It is still a beautiful place in the Blue Ridge Mountains with friendly people who all care about one another. When I began the book, it was just as I remembered which is nice--kind of like going home again--at least in books you can do that.Mrs. Murray and Tee Tucker are just as I remember them--wonderful animals--I keep looking at my dog and asking if she wants to talk like them. I hadnt realized Pewter had moved in with the family or that Fair and Harry had gotten back togeter but otherwise I remember all the characters.The story is a well done look at insurance companies and auto repair businesses and how those industries can abuse the public in a way. Ms. Browndid her homework and really seems to have a feel for automobiles as they are part of the story in a way.Ms Brown is also very opinionated and that comes across but not in a bad way.Overal this is a cozy that can be read quicky and is like going home again.
koalamom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Harry gets some good news and some bad news. The good news is about her and the bad is about, of course, more murder in Crozet. This time the murdering revolves around one of her favorite things - cars. Just how much trouble will Harry put herself into this time and was it up with Pewter and Mrs. M?
SJWolfe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had a little trouble relating the title pun (I am sure on the Big Sleep) to the content, but as usual with all the cat themed books, this was a quick and fast read. The trouble starts when several vehicles among Harry's friends have serious problems, and the insurance company recommends a particular fix-it shop. People rave about the shop, so there doesn't seem to be any issue, until Harry and her friends go to check on a vehicle and discover a very dead mechanic in the almost deserted shop. Seems the front man didn't know anything and all the other mechanics were at lunch. A little suspicious but nothing outwardly alarming. A second murder and the theft of a large number of specialty, expensive tires from a local dealer start the wheels turning, literally, embroiling Harry and Boom-Boom in an adventure with stock car racing. Still, nothing seems to link the murders, and Harry moves along, working her farm and trying to deal with hydraulic issues on her old John Deere tractor. It's not easy to come with the money required to do so, but Harry has an epiphany and sells her sunflower and ginger crop on speculation to the local "green" grocer. Little does she realize that a lesson learned from the old mechanic who fixes the tractor will be the vital clue which put Harry's life in danger, but also proves to solve the case. You have to enjoy talking animals (and birds) to really enjoy this series, and understand that the animals observations are necessary to the story, as are many of their actions. I still don't get the connections between the titles and story lines, but it was an enjoyable aftrenoon's read on a cloudy, showery day.
aztwinmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading a mystery with Harry and her friends (4-legged and 2-legged) is like settling down with old friends for a nice visit. A good mystery, wrapped around cars and cheap replacement parts made a nice twist. This is a cozy mystery that leaves you with a warm feeling.
dulcibelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's hard to believe this series has been going on for 20 years. And this book is as good as the first. Harry is her same, curious self; getting involved in murders and solving them by thinking outside the box. Her animal friends didn't seem to be as big a factor in solving the crime this time, but they were their same funny selves. A fun addition to the series, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries with animals.
tututhefirst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
Maydacat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fans of Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie Brown will be highly entertained by this latest mystery in the series. While animal lovers will enjoy the repartee between Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, the two cats who steal the show, along with Tucker, the faithful corgi who diligently endeavors to keep them in line, there is plenty of plot to keep the non-animal lover reading. Ms. Brown does make her own opinions known through the opinions of her characters, animal ones included, but this does nothing to detract from the storyline. In this tale, dishonesty fueled by corruption rears its ugly head. The author has done her research and is factual in relating some of the problems that occur in insuring vehicles and as well as in the repair business. Harry, the mom of the aforementioned animal, finds herself in the thick of things as she stumbles across dead bodies. Will she be the next target? If only her animals, with their superior abilities, could tell Harry what they sense! Engrossing to the end, this is one cozy you should read with a cat on your lap and a dog at your feet.
khiemstra631 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
More enjoyable than some but less enjoyable than other Sneaky Pie Mysteries. Series fans will not want to miss it, and newcomers to the series will enjoy it although author Brown seems to have fallen into the habit of ranting about her views in her books lately. There is some useful information included about the dangers of using replacement automotive parts not from the original manufacturer. Other opinions offered seemed out-of-place, such as ranting about the poor customer service offered by Dell Computers. Huh? A mystery novel doesn't seem like quite the place for that to me. The talking animals are still cute, however, and it's always good to see Harry again.
libri_amor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The intrepid animal threesome is at it again. This time they are following motorheads Mom and BoomBoom as they track down an all too real insurance-car repair scam. Of course, there are murders and mayhem along the way, but Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie still keep us up to date with the happenings in Crozet, Virginia. The ongoing saga of the small town is integral to the longevity of the series but does not overpower the book like some series. The plot is well driven with just enough detours into village life to keep the journey interesting. A good read.
rosagallica on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one was a bit of a disappointment for me. It was an OK read but not nearly as good as the earlier titles. As others have mentioned, I could do without the preachiness. I won't give up on the series, though.
drebbles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When several of Mary Minor ¿Harry¿ Haristeen¿s friends have minor car accidents that end up with their cars needing major repairs, Harry becomes more than a little suspicious about the repair shop. Harry, being Harry, starts asking questions but before she can learn much, one of the mechanics is murdered. Soon the bodies start piling up and Harry is determined to find out what is going on. However, she needs to be careful or her curiosity may get her killed.I used to read Rita Mae Brown¿s Mrs. Murphy mystery books and enjoyed them, but I drifted away from the series several years ago, tired of the preachiness in the books. I won this copy of ¿The Big Cat Nap¿ and decided to see if the series had improved. Unfortunately, it really hasn¿t. In this case it wasn¿t the political issues that bothered me ¿ although they do exist ¿ Brown¿s major target in this book is the auto repair industry (as well as her usual thoughts about farming). For me the problem with the book is that is just seemed lightweight. It was obvious early on who the bad guys were, even before the bodies started piling up. The writing is sloppy ¿ too many times Brown explains things instead of showing them ¿ for example, how many times do we have to be told that Harry is a motorhead? (Brown eventually did attempt to show that a little but by that point it just didn¿t work for me). A car accident that is an important part of the plot is thrown in there thoughtlessly ¿ almost as if it doesn¿t matter to the plot ¿ a scene with the terrified driver would have worked much better. At times Harry is far too trusting. Too often Brown seems to underestimate the intelligence of her readers by explaining something that readers can easily figure out on their own. Finally, while the animals, Mrs. Murphy, Tucker, and Pewter are usually the strong points of this series, they, outside of an incident in the cemetery, don¿t really play an important part in this book. Instead, it seems like all they did was fight.¿The Big Cat Nap¿ is an okay book in what was once a good series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a large black cat with white spots on my back paws,large fangs and emerald green eyes. I fear no one and would die for my clan....my name Nightwind...i will wait your summons
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my testing&#3120 oh my&race oh my&star
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(I don't know how. She decided to quit and give it to me.) "I don't know." She mewed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS WAS THE ONLY BOOK I HAD NOT READ IN MS. BROWN'S "SNEAKY PIE" BOOKS AND AS USUAL....... I LOVED IT! ANYONE THAT LIKES A LIGHT MYSTERY AND ANIMALS WILL ENJOY ALL MS. BROWN'S "SNEAKY PIE" BOOKS.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago