cover image Murder, She Meowed

Murder, She Meowed

Rita Mae Brown. Bantam Books, $22.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-553-09604-0

It's a day at the races for intrepid gray tiger cat Mrs. Murphy and her friends in the latest collaboration between Brown and feline coauthor Sneaky Pie (Pay Dirt). Competition is fierce at the annual steeplechase at Montpelier, the historic Virginia home of James and Dolley Madison. When a dagger in the heart takes the life of jockey Nigel Danforth, young heiress and horse trainer Adelia Valiant is distraught. Her brother and her guardian, however, can't hide their relief at the death of the man they regarded as a gold digger and who, it turns out, was not who he said he was. As the official investigation focuses on the victim's cocaine habit and his ties to a pair of drug-dealing trainers, another coked-up jockey is murdered and the dealers disappear. Mrs. Murphy and her pals, fat cat Pewter and corgi Tee Tucker, cut to the chase, believing that the recent murders are tied to the disappearance of Addie's mother five years earlier. After learning from a racehorse that the second jockey died after trying to dig up the horse's stall, Mrs. Murphy and friends strike a bargain with a sassy bunch of barn mice: a moratorium on mousing in exchange for information. But getting that information to Mrs. Murphy's owner, Crozet, Va., postmistress ""Harry"" Haristeen, and the other humans proves difficult--people simply don't listen. The animals spring into action to save Harry and bring the miscreant to justice as the Browns once again blend plot, character and atmosphere with plenty of wit and charm to create a delightful entertainment. (Nov.)