Santa Clawed ). Aunt Talle"/>

Cat of the Century: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery

Rita Mae Brown, Author, Michael Gellatly, Illustrator . Bantam $26 (219p) ISBN 978-0-553-80707-3

Shady money dealings fuel Brown's solid 18th mystery featuring Mary Minor Haristeen and her cat pal, Sneaky Pie (after 2008's Santa Clawed ). Aunt Talley Urquhart is looking forward to celebrating her 100th birthday at her Fulton, Mo., alma mater, real-life William Woods University, but all is not well at WWU. Stockbroker Flo Langston, class of '74, is sure her hated classmate, Mariah D'Angelo, who heads the WWU Alumnae Association, has mishandled university funds. Mariah misses Aunt Talley's party and vanishes. Then someone shoots Flo dead at home in St. Louis after Flo reveals that Mariah has been selling fake high-end watches. Taunting messages (e.g., “Catch me if you can”) begin arriving in computer in-boxes of various WWU alumnae, including Inez Carpenter, Aunt Talley's 98-year-old best friend. Faithful fans already familiar with the characters will enjoy the cozy antics, but others may struggle to pay attention until people start dying. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/15/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
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