CATCH AS CAT CAN: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery

Rita Mae Brown, Author . Bantam $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-553-10744-9

Springtime, romance and murder all visit the peaceful little town of Crozet, Va.—home of Mary Minor Hairsteen ("Harry"), her trio of feline and canine sleuths, a cast of familiar supporting characters and, of course, a few new ones. Brown's cozy formula, honed over nine previous books in the series (Claws and Effect, etc.), includes Southern traditions, romantic rivalries and gentle humor typified by the talking animals, whose commentary on human foibles provides much amusement. While the Crozet social whirl revolves around the upcoming Dogwood Festival, the theft of some unusual hubcaps sets in motion an escalating series of crimes that, inevitably, catches the interest of Harry. And Harry's old rival, BoomBoom Craycroft, does Harry the peculiar favor of fixing her up with a very handsome diplomat from Uruguay. While Harry juggles her duties as postmistress of Crozet, her farm chores and the romantic attentions of ex-husband "Fair" Hairsteen and the suave Diego Aybar, her pets—the comfort-seeking, fat cat Pewter; the brave little Welsh corgi, Tee Tucker; and the wise and cunning Mrs. Murphy, a gray tiger cat—apply their various talents to protect "Mom," as they call Harry. Brown's proven brand of murder and mayhem played out against a background of Virginia gentility and idealized animals is once again up to scratch. (Mar. 5)

Forecast:Like its predecessors, this should find a comfortable perch on bestseller lists.

Reviewed on: 02/11/2002
Release date: 02/01/2002
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