cover image Puss 'n Cahoots: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery

Puss 'n Cahoots: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery

Rita Mae Brown, Sneaky Pie Brown, . . Bantam, $25 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-553-80364-8

The charming 14th Mrs. Murphy mystery (after 2006's Sour Puss ) finds ex-postmistress and sometime-detective Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen accompanying her veterinarian husband, Fair, to an equestrian extravaganza in Kentucky. The mishaps begin when Harry's good friend Joan loses a beloved pin—or is the treasured piece of jewelry stolen? Then Jorge, a groom at Joan's farm, is found murdered, a pair of crosses cut into his palm. As if murder's not enough, an aging movie star's horse goes missing, and INS officials show up, hunting illegal aliens. Throughout, Harry's menagerie—cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter as well as corgi Tee Tucker—cleverly sniff out wrongdoing. Though some readers might find the anthropomorphized animals' italicized dialogue a bit much, the novel's tight pacing, combined with intriguing local color, make this mystery a blue-ribbon winner. (Mar.)