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Brown Rita Mae (2017 Most Popular Book Lists)

$9.19
1. A Nose for Justice: A Novel
$6.88
2. Cat of the Century: A Mrs. Murphy
$3.98
3. Santa Clawed: A Novel (Mrs. Murphy)
$7.89
4. Hounded to Death: A Novel
$3.00
5. Pawing Through the Past (Mrs.
$3.76
6. The Purrfect Murder (Mrs. Murphy
$3.50
7. Puss 'n Cahoots (Mrs. Murphy)
$2.99
8. Wish You Were Here (Mrs. Murphy
$5.24
9. Sour Puss
$8.59
10. Outfoxed: A Novel (Foxhunting
$3.54
11. Cat's Eyewitness (Mrs. Murphy)
 
$6.00
12. Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary
$0.14
13. The Tell-Tale Horse: A Novel
$0.01
14. The Tail of the Tip-Off
$8.15
15. Bingo
$4.49
16. The Sand Castle
$3.19
17. Sour Puss: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery
$8.34
18. Sneaky Pie's Cookbook for Mystery
$3.48
19. Starting from Scratch
$6.00
20. Six of One

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1. A Nose for Justice: A Novel
by Rita Mae Brown
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2010-09-21)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$9.19
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0345511816
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
Explosive sabotage and the startling unearthing of a hundred-year-old skeleton on a Nevada ranch thrillingly start off this debut novel in a tail-wagging new series from New York Times bestselling author Rita Mae Brown.

With the ruins of her high-powered Wall Street job now far in the rearview mirror of her rented silver Camaro, thirty-two-year-old Mags Rogers arrives at her great-aunt Jeep’s sprawling Wings Ranch to reassemble her life. In the passenger seat, with his suspicious nose to a cracked window, is Mags’s beloved wirehaired dachshund, the urbane Baxter. 

Mags was named for her great-aunt, Magdalena—though everyone calls the spry octogenarian rancher Jeep. From piloting planes in World War II to discovering one of America’s largest gold deposits, Jeep has enjoyed a lifetime jam-packed with love and adventure, and she’s not done yet. At her side—to Baxter’s low-down distress—is Jeep’s loyal German Shepherd mix, King. The growlings are mutual: King sniffs that Baxter is a “fuzzy sausage.”
Meanwhile, someone pipe-bombs Red Rock Valley’s pumping station, endangering the water supply near and far. Deputy Pete Meadows links the sabotage to a string of local murders, but he doesn’t yet know if it’s a corporate plot or twisted eco-terrorism. He’s also called out to Wings Ranch when human bones are dug up in Jeep’s barn; the dead man’s ring identifies him as an elite Russian military officer from the late 1800s, apparently knifed to death. In her search to find out whodunit, Mags uncovers fascinating history about Jeep’s ranch, including an intriguing connection to Buffalo Bill. 

Mags and Pete have mysteries to solve, among them why they are so drawn to each other. Baxter and King team up when it comes time to protect their humans. And all the while, Jeep Reed, the sassiest wit in the West, has a bold plan for Red Rock Valley in which they all will play a part.
  ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

2-0 out of 5 stars poor new series for this good author
I was looking forward to the new Rita Mae Brown series. I am a bit dissappointed. While the characters are described well and the writing is Ms. Brown's usual fine quality, the plot failed to capture me at all. There seemed to be "too much" background and Jeep, the central character, was almost too accomplished in her long life to be true. However, this is fiction and the author has full poetic license!

The plot seemed a big hard to handle for my taste, the water rights of the remote region in the West.

There may be more merit as she develops this line, as the Mrs. Murphy series has truly run its course( a delight series as Ms. Brown's fans attest).
I will try the second book and see if Jeep and her niece along with the dogs will be more interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Politics, History, and Quirky Characters: The Right Ingredients For a Page-Turning Mystery
In Rita Mae Brown's latest murder mystery, she heads out West--Reno, Nevada, to be precise, for a potboiler of a mystery in A NOSE FOR JUSTICE. With water rights, a one hundred-year-old skeleton, and the history of the Old West teeming at the surface of the story, Brown writes with a deft hand as she rounds up her suspects and killers into a compelling, nonstop action adventure that readers will lasso into one afternoon of reading.

With a list of characters and a backdrop to relish like fine wine, A NOSE FOR JUSTICE will appeal to a wide-range of readers. Fans of Brown's Mrs. Murphy novels, however, might find the new mystery a tad frustrating. But don't give up just yet. This new outing promises a new horizon for Ms. Brown as an author, and a sniffing good time for King, a four-year-old Shepard mix, and his soon-to-be partner, Baxter, a three-year-old Dachshund who King calls a "fuzzy sausage". Yes, the animals do talk to one another in their dog language. It is quite amusing to see them play off each other in a no-nonsense way. At times, the book has its laugh-outloud moments between the two dogs. Enjoyable. As the story progresses and the air of mystery unfurls, the two four-legged mutts become friends and help their human owners, Aunt Jeep and her great-niece, Mags, rope themselves a cold-blooded killer.

Social issues, like water rights, may, at times, drown out the mystery and keep readers anxious about turning the pages and finishing the story. But this latest novel proves potential for an ongoing series. Too, the illustrations by Laura Hartman Maestro, which are beautifully rendered, depict moments of Baxter and King in both quiet and dangerous situations.

Also, the long list of characters, though occasionally puzzling to follow, are an interesting bunch of political astute, caring, and sometimes mysterious individuals whom many readers hope to revisit in a future novel. If so, maybe Ms. Brown can include Baxter and King in a much larger role in the mystery. Their detection on the case is limited here, and the story may falter a bit because of it. After all, that is the reason many of us purchased the book in the first place.


T.B. Grant 10/24/10


2-0 out of 5 stars unusually disappointing
I love Rita Mae Brown's novels so this novel was doubly disappointing. It just didn't seem to hang together well, the mystery was weak, and I found the characters uninteresting. The animal characters were not up to the quality of Mrs. Murphy, et al. Altogether, a big let down.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Save-the-Water Polemic
This is simply an environmentalist's diatribe about aquifers.The setting is the Reno, Nevada area, the characters are dull, the humor is minuscule and the book is not worth finishing.

1-0 out of 5 stars Rita, what happened here?
If Rita Mae Brown's name had not been on this book, I would have thought it was written by a novice!Characters are one-dimensional, plot is so-so, conversations are wooden, and sentence structure is poor, if not sometimes wordily bizarre.It feels like a short story with un-needed phrases and drawn-out philosophical musings thrown in to stretch it into book-length.It's not a "keeper" so if you're intent on reading it, don't waste your money--just borrow it! ... Read more


2. Cat of the Century: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries)
by Rita Mae Brown
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2010-04-06)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$6.88
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553807072
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
 
Acclaimed authors Rita Mae Brown and her feline partner, Sneaky Pie Brown, are back with this new mystery starring Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen, the sleuthing cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and corgi Tee Tucker. And this time they must catch a killer determined to turn a birthday party into a funeral.

Harry’s beloved and tart-tongued Aunt Tally is about to turn the big 1-0-0. The alumnae association of her alma mater sees an opportunity to honor the event and make some loot off the centennial as well. The plan is to hold a big fund-raiser in Aunt Tally’s honor to recoup some of the school revenue lost in the cratered economy. But soon there’s more at risk than investments and endowments.

First, an impending blizzard threatens to ruin the whole affair. Then a suspicious transaction is discovered in the association’s account: board member Mariah D’Angelo has mysteriously withdrawn and then replaced $25,000.
 
But was that enough to get her killed? Mariah’s car is on campus, she’s gone missing, and Tucker has found human blood near the school’s stables.

What’s behind the disappearance? Was it Mariah’s donations to crafty politicians and crooked charities? Her rivalry with fellow board member Flo Langston? And is there a connection to the forty-year-old unsolved death of an old acquaintance of Aunt Tally’s? Using animal cunning and human canniness, Harry and her menagerie of mystery solvers must sniff out the answers or—even at a hundred years old—Aunt Talley may outlive them all. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (58)

4-0 out of 5 stars I must have read a different book.
WOW! I read the reviews of others before I purchased this book. I thought "Gosh, I wonder what's happened to Rita Mae." After reading this book I don't think anything has shifted with Ms. Brown. It's some of her readers who seem to have changed. Maybe they expect that since she is gay, she will be some sort of shill for the left. I don't know why any readers would think this, if they have followed her other works. I found "Rubyfruit Jungle" when I was 17 and coming out of the closet. It helped a great deal. Since then I've read almost every book that she has written. I find "Cat of the Century" to be in line with her other works philosophically. It is full of common sense and thouroughly American in it's sense of life.
The reason that I gave only 4 stars is that I didn't find the usual in depth development with her characters. I missed that.

1-0 out of 5 stars Did not satisfy...
I most admit, I was very disappointed... even more so than the previous book!
I've been a fan but I agree with the consensus that the author has strayed from her engaging
characters and gotten too political and too whinny about the government.
She should stick to the story lines of her previous books and stop the political agenda.
I missed the adorable pet dialog that made her books so charming...
I have read all the previous books more than once mostly because the animals; I love the pets innocent and insightful
dialogs and they were missing from her last two books - what is up with that ?
I will give her one more chance with the next Mrs. Murphy's mystery, I hope she steps up to the kind of stories
that her fans want to read.
Rita, why don't you start a new line called - Rita goes to Washington and leave Mrs. Murphy and her pals alone?

1-0 out of 5 stars Very Dissapointed
I won't repeat what everyone else has said. I agree, BORING, PREACHING.... BAD.
If this had been the first of her books I would not have bought more.
I used to really enjoy the animals converstaions and adventures. They barely made it into this book between the over-explaining of everything. It read more like a book of facts and personal preachings than an entertaining story.
Time to find a new author. I'll miss the fur kids. :(

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Mrs. Murphy mystery
If you are a fan of Mrs. Murphy, the tiger cat from Crozet, Virginia, you will enjoy "Cat of the Century".In this latest adventure, Murphy and her entourage of friends, animal and human, search for a missing board member from Aunt Tally's alma mater.

There are many familiar characters from the series, and some new characters too.It may not be the most memorable of Murphy's mysteries, but it is a heart-warming, pleasant read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Insights from MainStreet
Enjoyed the book immensely and was never offended but was rather thrilled to have the author's insights into our current political malaise.The problems with powers that be never listening to what their consituents are saying is not new but here is an author who is not politically correct but is rather politically savvy. She and Sneaky Pie have the courage to tell it like it is.
I am absolutely enthralled with Aunt Tally and only wish we had more of her in the book.The adventures of the Corgi and Kitties are also terrific as usual.Great read!!
... Read more


3. Santa Clawed: A Novel (Mrs. Murphy)
by Rita Mae Brown
Mass Market Paperback: 288 Pages (2009-11-24)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.98
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553591592
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
As Harry well knows, there’s hardly a place on earth cozier than Crozet, Virginia, at Christmastime. Snowflakes, carolers, it’s all picture-perfect until Harry and her husband, Fair, find the tree they’ve chosen grimly decorated with a corpse. The tree farm is run by the Brothers of Love, a semimonastic organization whose members live atop the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Now, as the season grows merrier, a murderer is growing bolder. One by one, prominent men of Crozet are being crossed off Christmas shopping lists and added to the morgue. And if Harry and her four-legged helpers aren’t very good–and very careful–this Christmas will be her last. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

1-0 out of 5 stars Thinly Disguised Feminism is No Mystery
This book was given to me because I love cats and enjoy reading an occasional whodunit.What a disappointment!

To begin, the story is more thinly disguised strident feminism than a good mystery tale.The heroine, given a male nickname (Harry), has two cats and a dog, all female.Her best friend has a bitch.The minister has three cats, again all female.Living in the barn are a `possum, a snake, and an owl: you guessed it, all female.Come on!

It's not just the animals, of course.All the well drawn characters are women.Men are given names and that's about it, except for Harry's husband, who gets slightly more attention.A sheriff exists, but it is his female deputy who represents law enforcement.Husbands, or what little we learn of them, mostly have or have had affairs, including Harry's own spouse.A monastery, around which the plot revolves, is populated solely by former bad guys who are now born again Christian monks (but can a leopard change spots? asks Harry).

There are lots of hard-to-swallow events, such as the nature of the murders themselves.When a bad guy sneaks up on Harry, neither her dog nor her one cat present raise the alarm or try to defend her.But later on, the dog remembers this guy and attacks him.(Yeah, right.)When apprehended, the killer grabs the sheriff's gun from its holster.(Wherever did he get his law enforcement training?)There are also inconsistencies and threads left unraveled, but the foregoing is sufficient to illustrate the impossibility of maintaining a willing suspension of disbelief.

A real mystery story gives the reader everything needed to figure out who done did it and why --so that you kick yourself for having failed to connect the pieces.Not so with this story.Thanks very much author Brown, but no thanks; I'll stick with Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie.
Lord Peter : The Complete Lord Peter Wimsey StoriesPoirot's Early CasesSecret Adversary

3-0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Money
I am a fan of RMB's earlier Mrs. Murphy mysteries.I have read about 6 or 7 prior to Santa Clawed.They were enjoyable and more than once I laughed out loud.Santa Clawed is way too preachy.RMB needs to get off the politics.Don't spend your dollars on this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of all Animal Solvers
How can you go wrong with a book by Sneaky Pie and friends in charge of solving murders.I will admit that this was a great story and didn't see the ending coming. Wish humans had as much sense as these funny little critters. If only humans could hear them talking things might be a little less crazy in the world.

Rita Mae Brown is a great story teller and I have been reading her for years. strongly encourage all to give her read soon.

I was pleased to have gotten it in such a speedy manner and good condition.Will buy on line again.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun read
I had almost stopped reading the Sneakie Pie mysteries as the quality of both the writing and the story had declined and the stories seemed little more than a format for polictical posturing. After reading that this book was a vast improvement over the previous two, I decided to give the series another chance.I was not disappointed.While no one will ever confuse this series with great literature, they are fun reads and the characters are generally recognizable to almost anyone who grew up in a small town.I am once again eager to read the next installment in this ongoing story of the citizens of Crozet.

4-0 out of 5 stars Have a very merry...murder
Like its predecessor, The Purrfect Murder (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries), this 17th volume in the Mrs. Murphy cozy series doesn't put much stress on the mystery-solving gifts of Corgi Tee Tucker and cats Pewter and Mrs. Murphy, but it still offers a good dose of suspense, a well-portrayed rural-Virginia locale, and an array of intriguing characters, some familiar and others new.Harry and Fair Haristeen are shopping for their Christmas tree at a lot owned by the local monastery when they and their animals discover one of the monks--Brother Christopher, who attended the same high school as they and later did time for an insider-trading scheme that left several people ruined--lying under one of the trees with his throat cut.Investigation by the sheriff discovers an antique coin--"an obol for the ferryman"--tucked under the dead man's tongue.Does it have to do with his past?When a second monk, an ex-jockey, is found similarly murdered and becoined, it begins to look as if the answer is no.And is there a connection between the murders and the stash of cash the three animals discover on Harry's property?The ending of this case should satisfyingly surprise everyone even if most of the detecting is done by the humans in the cast. ... Read more


4. Hounded to Death: A Novel
by Rita Mae Brown
Paperback: 304 Pages (2009-09-29)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.89
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0345512375
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
“Sister” Jane Arnold, esteemed master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, has traveled to Kentucky for one of the biggest events of the season: the Mid-America Hound Show, where foxhounds, bassets, and beagles gather to strut their champion bloodline stuff. But the fun is squelched when immediately after the competition a contestant turns up dead–stripped to the waist and peppered with birdshot. Two weeks later, back in Virginia, a popular veterinarian dies from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Sister refuses to believe that her friend killed herself and vows to sniff out the truth. But before she can make real headway, a wealthy pet food manufacturer vanishes during the granddaddy of all canine exhibitions, the Virginia Hound Show.

Ever reliant on her “horse sense,” Sister can’t help but connect the three incidents, and what she uncovers will make her blood run colder than the bodies that keep turning up in unexpected places. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

2-0 out of 5 stars Bring Crawford Back!!
Is it just me, or is anyone else sick of Tootie and the Custis Hall girls? They were okay for one book, but now it seems they have developed into main characters. Too bad as they are just not that interesting.Please, Rita, send them off to college already.They can write the occasional letter to Sister Jane, can't they?

I have loved, loved, loved this series, but this book was such a disappointment. So much talking - a lot done by Sister about her views on nonsensical things that didn't advance the plot - and practically no action.Where were the heart-stopping descriptions of a thrilling hunt?Where were the foxes?And ** only somewhat of a spoiler** why was such an interesting, slimy character introduced early in the book done away with so quickly?I was looking forward to reading more about him - then *poof* he's gone.

I really hope conniving, manipulative, INTERESTING Crawford comes back.We've been teased in previous books about him forming his own hunt, but nothing's come of that.There's certainly some fertile ground there to explore for conflict.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sister Jane Solve Another Mystery.
The girls are leaving for college as Sister Jane scrambles to solve this series of deaths associated with Hound Shows and Hunts.The victims in these deaths are not the nicest people, so there are plenty of motives to sort through before she can find this killer.Will the love of her hounds cause Sister Jane's death?

5-0 out of 5 stars A foxhunting mystery
This was the first foxhunting mystery by Rita Mae Brown I'd read.I have read all her Sneaky Pie Brown/Mrs. Murphy mysteries, and wasn't sure I could handle "foxhunting" per se.This is Rita Mae Brown's newest foxhunting novel and it was tough getting into all the FH terminology, etc.But I'm hooked and persuaded that the foxes win every time.Something new and fascinating to read.It's what we're all looking for, isn't it?

4-0 out of 5 stars for pet lovers
Septuagenarian Jane "Sister" Arnold is the highly regarded master of the Jefferson Hunt Club in Virginia.She is currently attending the Mid-America Hound Show, a major event in Kentucky, accompanied by her huntsman Shaker Crown and her apprentice Tootie.

When one of her American foxhounds is stolen, her initial inclination is that odious Mo Schneider abducted her prized animal.However, she soon finds her canine next to Mo's corpse. Back home, she takes her injured horse to veterinarian Hope Rogers, who soon afterward is found dead; the police rule suicide but Sister believes otherwise as she knew the vet too well.She plans to investigate, but during the Virginia Hound Show, a club member vanishes, leaving Sister stunned with what is going on.

This is a fun tale especially for pet lovers because her latest fox and hound personification mystery (see THE TELL-TALE HORSE) is an engaging amateur sleuth starring of course Sister and her allies (including her hounds).Although there are too many sidebar discussions that leave the story line idling in neutral at times, fans of the Sister foxhunting series will enjoy another visit to the Jefferson Hunt Club.

Harriet Klausner

5-0 out of 5 stars Hounded to Death
What a book and what a author. As Iam not to far from her age and her likes in horse I can some time just feel what she is writing about. Fun books and very accurate in what she writes about so she know her dogs and horses. That is what really holds your interest. Keep the books coming. If you are a first time reader of this series please go and start at the beginning and get all the books you will not be disappointed. ... Read more


5. Pawing Through the Past (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries)
by Rita Mae Brown
Mass Market Paperback: 368 Pages (2001-01-30)
list price: US$7.50 -- used & new: US$3.00
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553580256
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
"You'll never get old."

Each member of the class of 1980 has received the letter. Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, who is on the organizing committee for Crozet High's twentieth reunion, decides to take it as a compliment. Others think it's a joke.

But Mrs. Murphy senses trouble. And the sly tiger cat is soon proven right ... when the class womanizer turns up dead with a bullet between his eyes. Then another note followed by another murder makes it clear that someone has waited twenty years to take revenge.

While Harry tries to piece together the puzzle, it's up to Mrs. Murphy and her animal pals to sniff out the truth. And there isn't much time. Mrs. Murphy is the first to realize that Harry has been chosen Most Likely to Die, and if she doesn't hurry, Crozet High's twentieth reunion could be Harry's last.


Amazon.com Review
When a mystery author claims her cat as coauthor, it's a fairly safe bet that the team won't be producing disturbing psychological thrillers or hard-edged legal procedurals. And indeed, Rita Mae Brown and her cat, Sneaky Pie, have carved out a comfortable niche for themselves in the cozy category, spinning tales (Rest in Pieces; Murder, She Meowed; Cat on the Scent) around the goings-on in Crozet, a small Virginia town where everyone knows everyone else and recipes and gossip are exchanged over the post office counter. Mary Minor Haristeen ("Harry") is Crozet's postmistress and the proud owner of two cats, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and one corgi, Tee Tucker--animals with an uncanny ability to sniff out secrets and hidden motives as well as mice and roast beef.

Pawing Through the Past capitalizes on the myriad subtle relationships that form the backbone of small-town culture, and which Brown and Sneaky Pie have carefully woven throughout the Mrs. Murphy series. In a nicely appropriate nod to that culture's rivalries and alliances, Brown has chosen a high school reunion--traditional hotbed of simmering unease--as her mise-en-scène. When each member of the Crozet High Class of 1980 receives an anonymous note stating, "You'll never get old," most take it as a joke or a compliment. But when the class womanizer turns up with a bullet between his eyes, and more notes--and more bodies--start appearing, Harry and her menagerie find themselves at the center of a revenge plot 20 years in the making.

Brown's latest is replete with the sly asides that have endeared her to animal lovers--"Cats are by instinct and inclination dedicated anarchists"--and with the naively humorous "conversations" between the animals themselves. When Pewter, watching a team of police officers wrestling a stiff corpse out of a dumpster, wonders, "Why don't they just break his arms and legs?" Murphy replies knowingly, "They'd pass out. Humans are touchy about their dead." Unfortunately, these favorable attributes can't quite mask an incoherent plot, nor Brown's awkwardly pompous social commentary: "By and large, the women looked better than the men, testimony to the cultural pressure for women to fuss over themselves." But Brown's legions of fans will doubtlessly forgive these shortcomings, concentrating instead on the antics of a memorable four-legged and furry trio. --Kelly Flynn ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars animal lovers
the true heros of the mysteries are the sweet animals- who seem to have more common sense and devotion than their human counterparts

5-0 out of 5 stars Reunions Can Be Murder!
In the 8th book in the Mrs. Murphy and Tucker Mystery series, two high school reunions have been scheduled in the town of Crozet, Virginia.Mary Minor Haristeen (Harry) is busy working on the planning committee for her 1980 class reunion, and Mrs. Hogendobber is hard at work planning her 1950 class reunion.Excitement is in the air as old friends start to arrive in town, and the participants are looking forward to unearthing old memories, and creating new ones.However, the memories quickly become bad ones, as a warning is mailed to each of Harry's classmates that reads, "You'll never get old".Initially, they believe it to be a complement, but a more sinister meaning is clear when one of the classmates is found murdered.Since the murdered man had been a "playboy" type that had relationships with dozens of women, the motive seemed clear.Sorting through the many suspects, secrets are unearthed, and several other motives for the killing are discovered.Several more men are murdered after receiving notes in a similar fashion, and a pattern develops.Sheriff Shaw and Deputy Cooper work hard to catch the killer before the whole class is murdered, and Harry's feline and canine sleuths work overtime to catch a murderer before their "mom" becomes the next victim.

Reading this book made me want to avoid my high school reunion at all costs!It was spooky how the killer kept murdering victims almost under the noses of the other classmates, and I was kept guessing as to the identity of the killer until the very end.This was a well crafted mystery that offered many clues (and red herrings), along with plot twists that made me unable to put the book down.This is definitely one of my favorites in the series, and I loved the fact that Mrs. Hogendobber has developed a strong friendship with an old boyfriend and that Harry and Fair are talking about their relationship again.This was a great mystery with some of my favorite characters in the cozy genre!

The first book in the series is called "Wish You Were Here". Enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars These books are a lot of fun!
This latest in the Mrs. Murphy series is one of the best for awhile.In it we see Harry and her friends planning for a 20th School Reunion.Someone else is planning to make a splash at this reunion.This person hopes to leave a mark by killing off the Class of 1980 one by one.Does this person have a motivefor killing certain people, or is it just random acts of violence?There are a large number of deaths in this book, but that adds to the excitement, but if people in Crozet keep getting murdered, there soon won't be anyone left.I love the characters, both animal and human, in this series, and am happy that I still have a few more Mrs.Murphy adventures to read.Murphy, Pewter and Tucker are wonderful (and they're pretty good sleuths too).

4-0 out of 5 stars Another winner
By the time a reader gets to the 7th in a series, they are hooked.And in the case of the Sneaky Pie Brown's works, they are also accustomed to and forgiving of the literary mistakes that occur in each volume.It's amazing how you can read such things as point of view shifts, unidentified speakers, etc., and still enjoy the book.In the case of the Mrs. Murphy mysteries, this has never been truer.

Once more new characters are introduced, this time for the high school reunions of the classes of 1980 and 1950.It's the 1980 bunch who are being murdered off, and no one knows why.And once again Mary Minor Haristeen is right in the middle.She and her pets and friends are all in danger, although they are not the initial targets.The methods of murder continue to be bizarre -- or at the very least odd -- and often brutal.

One of the more satisfying events in Pawing through the Past is the reuniting of Miranda Hogendobber and her high school sweetheart, Tracy Raz.Newly returned from his sojourn in Hawaii, he is being embraced by everyone, not only because he's a nice guy, but also because of the esteem in which Miranda is held by nearly everyone.

Fair Haristeen is still there, trying to convince Harry to marry him again by being brave, honorable, loving, and very good looking.The rest of the usual characters -- Susan Tucker, BoomBoom Craycroft, Big Mim and Little Mim, Deputy Cooper, and Sheriff Shaw among them -- step into their roles, delightfully.

These stories are always pleasurable and quick reads.Anyone wanting to check out the series could pick up any volume, but if the first, Wish You Were Here, is available, try starting there.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Class of 1980 - or what's left of it
When the toast at the 20th class reunion is "To the class of '80 - or what's left of it" you know there is more going on than reminiscing about old times.This book is an excellent mystery in Crozet as members of Harry's class are mysteriously murdered - and Harry may be next!The author's grasp of human nature is dead on here - and her grasp of animal nature can't be beat.Mrs. Murphy, Pewter and Tucker, who talk to each other and can understand humans, but cannot be understood by them, are hilarious.The animals' personalities really come forth in this book, which triples the fun.This is a delightful, original mystery which I would recommend to anyone, and I look forward eagerly to reading her other Mrs. Murphy books. ... Read more


6. The Purrfect Murder (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries)
by Rita Mae Brown
Mass Market Paperback: 368 Pages (2009-01-27)
list price: US$7.50 -- used & new: US$3.76
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553586831
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
It’s autumn in cozy, idyllic Crozet, Virginia—a time for golden days, crisp nights…and murder. Mrs. Carla Paulson is one of the diamond-encrusted “come-here” set who has descended on Crozet with plenty of wealth and no feeling for country ways. She’s determined to make her new house the envy of all her well-heeled friends—and enemies —and she’s hired architect Tazio Chappers to build it. From the start, the project—and Mrs. Paulson—are a major headache for all involved. But no one could foresee that it would end with Mrs. Paulson stabbed to death at a gala fund-raiser with Harry’s friend Tazio standing over her, holding the knife. Now Harry must solve what seems to everyone else an open-and-shut case. Her four-legged partners —sleuthing cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter and corgi Tee Tucker—see it Harry’s way. But will they have to choose between catching the purrfect killer and saving Harry? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (47)

1-0 out of 5 stars Could have happened in about 30 pages
I had never read a Mrs. Murphy mystery series book before, and I have to say I don't think I was missing anything.I was looking for a nice, light, cozy mystery, but many character gave their opinions on abortion, which meant a lot of rehashing of the same things over and over.And I noticed the product placement too.Sheesh, gas mileage on a car as filler conversation while two characters are going somewhere, and apparently the mileage was covered in more than one book before?Really?I know cozy mysteries don't go too deep, but this one was only deep when it came to the political views.If you just kept the parts directly related to the mystery, then the book would be much shorter.And if you cut out the ridiculous conversations between the animals, then it would probably be a pamphlet.I expected the writing of the animals to be more about animal behavior, not about imaginary conversations between the animals.And seriously, cats talking about anuses is not funny.

2-0 out of 5 stars Okay
I enjoy these books but am a bit put off by the political opinions included.DITCH THE POLITICAL OPINIONS!They do not belong in this type of light fiction and they seem very contrived.

3-0 out of 5 stars Where is Sneaky Pie as writer?
Having read the entire series, and having no intention of not continuing to read all new ones, I do want to ask one pertinent question:Sneaky Pie, where the heck areyou?When you wrote the books and your mom collaborated, the books were Purrfect.You know how humans are, Sneaky Pie:turn your back on them for one minute while you enjoy a snort of catnip, and they run amok.Standards fall.Human opinions surface and take over. Girl Cat, put down the catnip sockie and get back on the job!Your mom has lost her way with the series and needs your firm paw to guide her back.We the readers want more of you and the other animals.We want Miranda back full time.We do miss the PO.Yes, we are happy that your mom and dad have remarried and are trudginghappily forward in life, but please, getyour mom into retroactive gear once in a while.You do the writing and let her edit.How about going back in time and filling in the blanks on some of those Post Office years?And tell your mom that we readers don't want the evening news' topics stealing space away fromyou 2 and 4 footed Crozeteers!Purrs, A Fan

1-0 out of 5 stars Political Manifesto
I use to Love Mrs Murphy but this book was more about trashing republicans, some by name ( Karl Rowe). She used her characters to "show" the perfidy and stupidityof the right . Christians were targeted along with anti-abortionist.It was also a abortion agenda book, very pro abortion. She took everyone to task that wasn't a democrat or pro-abortion with some serious name calling . One of the main characters saw the error of her ways and came out and made a statement that she was " wrong" about abortion and was now for it. I wanted to read a mystery , not Brown's view of our countryand was very offended about some of her statements . If this is what she is putting forthnow ,I don't think I want to read her anymore. I read enoughbooks on government without being tortured by this junk when I just want to relax and read.

1-0 out of 5 stars Good Bye Old Friends
Good Bye old friends of Crozet.I will miss the Post Office, Miranda, penny pinching, and jiggley, man crazy, Boom Boom - oh, wait, they don't exist any more.I won't miss the bashing of Northerners nor the hot button topics that do not belong in this genre.As a Northern girl (who lived in Virginia for 11 years), and a former horsewoman, I've taken all of the insults that I can handle. I certainly hope that my neighbors here in Texas do not talk about me the way Rita Mae's 'southern belles' put down their Northern neighbors. I no longer eagerly await her next installment.Don't get me going about the sloppy writing and lack of beloved characters gone AWOL.Harry will have to soldier on without my hard earned, Yankee, money supporting her books.What happened to you, Dear Rita Mae? ... Read more


7. Puss 'n Cahoots (Mrs. Murphy)
by Rita Mae Brown
Mass Market Paperback: 352 Pages (2008-01-29)
list price: US$7.50 -- used & new: US$3.50
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553586823
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
Instead of a proper second honeymoon, the newly remarried Harry and Fair Haristeen leave cozy Crozet, Virginia, for Shelbyville, Kentucky, site of the famous saddlebred horse show. There they’ll visit dear friends Joan Hamilton and Larry Hodge and enjoy a week among some of the finest horses, trainers, and riders in the country.

But soon after they arrive, events veer mysteriously–and murderously–off course. First, Joan’s ruby and sapphire horsehead heirloom pin is stolen from her private box at the fairgrounds. Next, a young film star’s prize three-gaited mare disappears into thin air. There is no lack of suspects, from hotheaded trainers and jealous rivals to vicious ex-spouses. Then a body is found flagrantly murdered and it’s obvious to Harry that someone at Shelbyville is sending a strong message: winning is only secondary–first prize is survival.

As Harry searches for clues, rediscovers life as a married woman, and deals with her upcoming fortieth birthday, her four-legged detective friends are already on the case. But is animal instinct any match for human depravity? Especially with two humans to protect and a killer on the prowl?


From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (54)

3-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant read, not a deep mystery...
Brown's books are a good read especially if you enjoy reading about cats, dogs, and the professional horse world. I hadn't picked up one of her mysteries in a while, and was looking for a little 'light' reading with a big emphasis on light. When I want to read something heavy, I go for histories and biographies like the one I'm currently reading on the friendship between FDR and Churchhill...not for a book such as those written by Brown. So it's hardly fair of reviewers to expect a high level of either literature or mystery in a book of this sort. It's purely for entertainment value, kind of like mindless television...except that I think I learn more from Brown's books about the horse world than from most Television shows.

Anyway, the mystery is pretty straight forward. Readers can figure it out for themselves. Mary and Fair Haristeen and their two cats, and dog Tucker, are at a Saddlebred horse show where there is a murder tied to illegal aliens who help with the horses (because no one else will do that type of work for that type of pay). Of course, someone is paying to bring these people into the states for these jobs...and whoever it is is making money and doesn't want to see that money enroached upon.

These are fun books...not serious reading.

1-0 out of 5 stars What Happened?
I LOVED this series.Start with the early books, preferably in order, if you've never read any.Read this one ONLY if you are desperate, and be prepared to skim many pages just to move it along.The "story" is not interesting, highly disjointed, more like her outline of ideas pasted between a lot of LOOOONG technical descriptions of horse show stuff (not interesting to 99% of us, just long) and a lot of personal opinions that aren't even well-disguised as the characters own natural dialogue.If I wanted a book on horse shows I would buy one.And I don't know why the post-office gig had to go away.It was the perfect thing for the mysteries to center around, and while I know writing the same people over and over must get a little old, this attempt at a new location for a brief change of scenery and people flops. So disappointed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Ho Hum
Another great series seems to have lost its way. In this book, the recently re-married Fair and Harry go to visit a friend and attend a horse show in Kentucky. Different state; different kind of horse show; and, of course, a murder mystery to solve, right?

Wrong!

Only in a story like this would one expect the newlyweds to not only take along the cats and dog, but also the vet truck equipped with everything needed to conduct surgery in the field with the exception of a portable X-ray machine! And ... it is mentioned as needed!!!!

I would have thought that part of the purpose of locating this book in Kentucky is to give the author the opportunity to describe Kentucky and how it differs from Virgina. Part of the charm of earlier novels in this series were the great descriptions of rural Virginia as well as the people and what made them become the kinds of people that they were, as well as the culture. However, none of that is really present here. At one point, Harry and Fair take a ride in the countryside but we only hear that location X is so many miles from location Y. Where are the descriptions that would make this come alive?

A big part of the schtick of these books is the animals who ferret out key information which is then communicated in one fashion or another to the humans. In this volume there is a lot of complaining by the animals of how stupid and restricted humans are, and there is no sleuthing going on at all. Both the cats, the dog, and Harry are present in an early chapter at a key moment that explains what is going on, but there is no commentary on whether that moment is strange. So, I was left wondering what is going on. The rest of the mystery part is not mysterious either. The only part that is somewhat mysterious is who stole the girlfriend's lucky pin. That takes a while to resolve, but the main plot: who is the murderer, who is the horse thief, who is the bomber, and so on - all of those were predictable and obvious from the get-go.

Other reviewers have commented on how the author has started using her characters more and more as mouth pieces for her own political views. This is a very obvious slant for this book and greatly detracts from it. Whether or not you share her opinions, they have very little place in this type of book and certainly should not be accorded as much space as they have been.

All in all, this book is a disappointment. I am giving it three stars more for the memories and pleasure previous volumes brought me than the merits of this one particular one. I hope Ms. Brown goes back to the writing style that made this series such a favorite in the future.

4-0 out of 5 stars Murder among the Saddlebreds
The 15th entry into the popular cozy series finds the once-and-again newlyweds, Harry and Fair Haristeen, enjoying a delayed honeymoon at the great Saddlebred horse show in Shelbyville, KY--accompanied by their animal friends, Tee Tucker the corgi and Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, the cats.Though the quintet is out of its regular stomping grounds, it soon becomes apparent that crime and intrigue know no boundaries.First a valuable horseshoe pin disappears; then Queen Esther, a beautiful mare belonging to a famous movie actress, vanishes; then the woman finds a Mexican groom in a stall with his throat cut; and the show is disrupted when an Immigration task force descends on the fairgrounds in a sweep for illegals--most of whom share the victim's nationality.With romantic rivalry, professional jealousy, competition for prizes, and a most irritating pet monkey thrown into the mix, it's a case unlike any other ever addressed by Harry and her trio of pets.Most of the characters will be new to long-time readers of the series, but all are well delineated, including Cookie, a breeder's Jack Russell terrier, and Spike, a tough barn cat, along with several horses both showing and retired.Fair Haristeen, remarried to his wife less than three months, finds himself drawn into her detections against his better judgment and his own advice.And as always, Brown throws in a bit of thought-provoking commentary when she inserts a discussion about the place of steroids in sport and what should be done about them.Though the connection between the raid and the murdered man may seem fairly clear, there are still twists enough to keep you guessing almost till the very last page.Faithful followers of the series may be disappointed by this volume's new location and the relative paucity of bodies, but it's still just as enjoyable as any of its predecessors.

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
I bought this book to replace an actual libray book I thought I lost. Wouldn't you know after I bought it from Amazon, with a great price, I found the actual library book. I returned both books to the library, dontaing this one in memory of Toby, my cat that just passed.

Being an animal lover, I really enjoy the Miss Murphy series by Rita Mea & Snealy Pie Brown. I recommend the stories to anyone who loves pets, and/or young readers looking for something different to read. ... Read more


8. Wish You Were Here (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries)
by Rita Mae Brown
Mass Market Paperback: 320 Pages (1991-11-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.99
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553287532
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
Curiosity just might be the death of Mrs. Murphy--and her human companion, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen.Small towns are like families:Everyone lives very close together. . .and everyone keeps secrets.Crozet, Virginia, is a typical small town-until its secrets explode into murder.Crozet's thirty-something post-mistress, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, has a tiger cat (Mrs. Murphy) and a Welsh Corgi (Tucker), a pending divorce, and a bad habit of reading postcards not addressed to her.When Crozet's citizens start turning up murdered, Harry remembers that each received a card with a tombstone on the front and the message "Wish you were here" on the back.Intent on protecting their human friend, Mrs. Murphy and Tucker begin to scent out clues.Meanwhile, Harry is conducting her own investigation, unaware her pets are one step ahead of her.If only Mrs. Murphy could alert her somehow, Harry could uncover the culprit before the murder occurs--and before Harry finds herself on the killer's mailing list.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

3-0 out of 5 stars Up and down first effort
This was a good first effort for a series, and it was good enough for me to try some more books about Harry, Mrs. Murphy, and Tucker. However, there were also a few problems with the book. With apologies to devoted fans of the series, the author made a few mistakes that diminished my chances of truly enjoying this book.

First, I didn't find a single character in the book that I actually liked. Some that I might have had a chance to, the author didn't explore deeply enough for me to have a chance to like. In fact, the only character that I kind of liked early on was one of the murder victims, so that didn't last too long. Harry, who we follow as the main character, wasn't engaging at all. Rita Mae Brown had her going through a divorce that Harry was very troubled about. While I might have felt great sympathy for a real person in her situation, for a fictional hero her story in this regard was more annoying than sympathetic.

Second, the mystery is not set up to give readers who like to figure out the clues and the mystery a real chance to do that. Once the plot gets to the critical point, the only real clue the author gives is too obvious. There are not enough false trails. While the author makes some slight attempts to throw suspicion around, her other suspects aren't really viable.

Third, as some other reviewers have mentioned, some bad language explodes out of the woodwork quite by surprise. I'm not a prude who disagrees with any profanity in a book, but the profanity here was ill conceived. This book could very well be read by much younger readers with only a few words changed. I would have recommended at one point that my granddaughter could read this book, and then all of a sudden here comes an f-bomb right out of the blue. Its almost like Rita at some point decided that the book wasn't mature enough and dropped in some half-hearted bad language. There was no purpose to it, and it really didn't fit the tone of the rest of the book.

Finally, the point behind the mystery is not well thought out. Physical objects involved are not in a place that the criminal would have had them. You'll understand why I say this if you have read the book, or do so after reading this review.

The animal aspect to the book is different from the norm and is likely the most entertaining part of the story, since the human characters don't give you much to latch onto. Strangely, the animals are the voice for several short political essays. Whether or not you agree with these viewpoints, they come across just fine from the animals' viewpoints. You do get the idea though, that they are the author's messages.

If you are determined to read this series, you won't feel that your time was wasted when you finish this book. However, Agatha Christie it is not.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book but a little slow
I really liked the main characters for this book, Mrs. Murphy (the cat) and the dog, her best friend.The book was so cute, loved it, it was a very enjoyable read.The murders were gruesome, but not in a scary way.I have the first three books in the series and I definitely am looking forward to reading them!

4-0 out of 5 stars You Don't Need To Read Them In Order
Originally, I had started reading these books out of order and decided that I would probably have a better understanding of who the characters were if I went back to the beginning.Well, apparently Ms Brown does a pretty good job in rehashing past storylines because I don't think that going back really changed my understanding of who anyone really is.So, with this series, you really can start anywhere and not be missing out on who all the main characters are.

Crozet, Virginia, is a typical small town until its secrets explode into murder.Crozet, Virginia's thirty-something post-mistress, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, has a bad habit of reading postcards not addressed to her.So when Crozet's citizens start turning up murdered, Harry remembers that each received a card with a tombstone on the front and the message "Wish you were here" on the back. So with the help of her cat, Mrs. Murphy and Welsh Corgi, Tucker, Harry sets out to find who is behind the murders and what else is being covered up.

The only thing that throws me off of this series are the small sections where you can tell that Ms Brown is trying to make a political statement.I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I'm here to read a cozy type mystery, not witness the authors political views.

Over all the series is pretty good, the reoccurring characters make the books enjoyable and the easy style that Ms Brown writes in allows the reader to come and go from the storyline - what I call a great "waiting for the kids" kind of book.Easy to pick up and put down without feeling that you have to go back a couple of chapter to remember where you were.

4-0 out of 5 stars Delightful Animals & People
Friends knowing I liked "The Cat Who" mysteries kept recommending these books - so I took the plunge. The characters are well done, the animals riotously funny and the plot, while not intricate, was adequate and nicely handled.Just like "The Cat Who" series the towns people are part of the tapestry of the books and you get accustomed to checking in on them.

A nice change in this cozy mystery series is the strong female lead who has strong opinions and doesn't rely on a man to define her. It seems as far back as Nancy Drew that female mystery stories have ended with a male having to rescue the female "detective".Not so any longer.Enter "Harry" who, in the final climatic confrontation, realistically doesn't have to be rescued by a guy.What a refreshing change.

An added little touch is that the characters are atypical. For example, the self righteous Bible-thumper shows her more human side and keeps Harry's confidences about Harry's snooping and examining some evidence. Or the society ice queen who softens to her outcast black sheep son - eventually.

Even though cozy mysteries are typically a "lite" read, this has some substance to it as well.Rita Mae Brown is talented and brings her adeptness to the cozy mystery genre.I have only one caveat - if you don't like animals - personified animals, didn't think "Watership Down" was amazing, then this series may not be for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars What the Cat dragged in.........
This was not my first Mrs. Murphy mystery. In fact I believe I read "Whiskers of Evil" first. "Wish you were here" was the second Mrs. Murphy book that I read. I enjoyed it from start to finish. It is delightful to have a Cozy mystery to cuddle up with. The characters are all well rounded, the animals delightful, and the books are page turners. I do read other cat mysteries (Midnight Louie, The Cat who ..series). But this is the first that I stuck with from book one to the last book. I could explain more about the characters and Rita Mae Brown's talented writing, but I will let others form their own opinions. Mine would be...If you skip this series...you are missing great mysteries.Barbara ... Read more


9. Sour Puss
by Rita Mae Brown, Sneaky Pie Brown
Hardcover: 392 Pages (2006-03-22)
list price: US$32.95 -- used & new: US$5.24
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0786284501
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
In this latest whodunit, Rita Mae Brown and her feline partner-in-crime-detection, Sneaky Pie Brown, return to the scene of their bestselling crimes—picturesque Crozet, Virginia. Love is in the air as spring comes to the small town, but no sooner has Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen remarried than she is rudely interrupted—by murder. And no sooner does the trouble start than curious cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, along with corgi Tee Tucker, sink their claws into the case.…

After an unexpected rekindling of their romance, Harry and her veterinarian ex-husband, Fair Haristeen, have happily remarried. But the excitement of their nuptials is quickly overshadowed by the murder of Professor Vincent Forland, a world-famous grape and fungal expert who was in town visiting the local vineyards.

Within days of giving a lecture on how distilled fungus and cattle diseases are the current basis of chemical warfare, Forland’s decapitated body is discovered.After their initial fright, the residents of Crozet believe that this was a political murder and settle back into their routines–until a local is also found dead, killed in the same gruesome manner as Professor Forland. Now residents can’t help wondering, is this really the work of an
outsider—or one of their own?

No longer working in the post office, Harry had just planted a quarter acre of grapes, which fuels her natural curiosity over just what the two murder victims knew and had in common.Once the warmth of spring arrives, the grapevines blossom and Harry’s furry entourage discovers the first critical clue. But how can they show the humans what they’ve learned? And how can they—or anyone—stop the killing? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (52)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sweet!!!
I absolutely loved this.It was the first time I've read from this series.Actually, I borrowed the CD version to listen to during my commutes.

I was aware it would be about grapes and technical "stuff" because I READ THE SYNOPSIS!!

Anyway, I found it enjoyable and I'm looking for another....

1-0 out of 5 stars 13th book in the series
13 proves to be unlucky for Ms. Brown as the 13th book in this series is pretty unreadable. I look forward to new installments and was very disappointed in this book. The plot is thin and the book is overloaded with heavy handed lectures and dialogue that is contrived, artificial and pedantic. Too much research on 'slew' of subjects and not enough attention paid to the whole point of writing the book in the first place.....to tell a good story! Sadly, there was not much story, not much mystery and not much reason to buy this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Rita Mae Brown was best known as the author of RUBYFRUIT JUNGLE--until 1990, when she published WISH YOU WERE HERE.Set in the tiny town of Crozet, Virginia, the novel focused on over-qualified and recently divorced Mary "Harry" Haristeen, who solved a grisly murder mystery with the aid of her animal companions.It was a popular success, and other books quickly followed: REST IN PIECES, MURDER AT MONTICELLO, and PAY DIRT to name but three.

In terms of "murder mystery," Brown's plots were scarcely in the same league with the likes of Christie, Sayers, or Marsh--but she presented these books with tremendous charm, building up repeating characters that readers came to look forward to seeing again in each new release.In 1999, however, CAT ON THE SCENT had not only a weak plot but a slightly strained quality as well, and most subsequent titles in the series have followed in declining suit.

SOUR PUSS finds Crozet and its surrounding areas beset with grape farmers and wineries, and to a certain extent the plot revolves around the pests and diseases to which grapes are subject.In her introduction, Brown writes that she received a "cartload" of information of the subject, and I believe her, because she seems to do her level best to cram every iota of it into the book.Along the way she also takes a glance at biological terrorism, West Nile virus, bird 'flu, and global warming.The first one hundred pages of the book read like a haphazard disseration.

When the plot does at last kick in, right around chapter seventeen, SOUR PUSS becomes much more readable--but I found the plot singularly transparent, and the characters have lost much of their interest.In the past, Brown created characters who were amusing in their faults and flaws: the dour "Big" Mim and her snooty daughter "Little Mim;" man-trap BoomBoom Craycroft; Bible-thumping Miranda Hogendobber; and many others added to the fun.Now, however, all these characters have lost the eccentricities that made them so entertaining in the first place.They are reduced to the merely likeable and as such no longer seem fresh or original enough to hold attention.

Now and then Brown's gifts do surface--but she's also gotten lazy in her writing.Nowhere is her "nervous tick" of writing a paragraph as a single sentence so obvious as in SOUR PUSS; indeed, there are so many of them that I began to suspect they were specifically written in this fashion to take up more space on the page.On the whole, the book reads very much like a first or maybe second draft that Brown couldn't be bothered to give a final polish before it went to the publisher.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer

1-0 out of 5 stars Cure for Insomnia
This book reminded me of Arthur Hailey in his later years - not a good thing. Just dump a bunch of factual research and then put cardboard characters and a lame plot around it. At least Hailey didn't go out of his way to insult everyone who had the unforgivable bad taste to be born somewhere other than Virginia.

I've read every one of the Sneaky Pie mysteries and was astonished to have revealed in this book that Harry had an affair after her divorce from Fair. To me, that was contrary to everything we knew about her life and emotional growth in the previous books. It felt like sloppy writing in service of a plot device.

Sadly, this is the end of Mrs. Murphy for me. I didn't even make it halfway through this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars There's no mystery here---
If you've never read any of the Sneaky Pie books--don't buy this one! Start at the beginning (Wish You Were Here) as this was once a great series, and read the books in sequence until you begin to get bored--then STOP!! The series only gets worse.

The wonderful warm characters have lost their charm, the "mysteries" have become flat and nonexistent, and the books have been weighted down with too much technical information.

Ms. Brown also has begun using her books as a soapbox for her many opinions. While it is interesting to find out an author's views, she goes on and on...and on. ... Read more


10. Outfoxed: A Novel (Foxhunting Mysteries)
by Rita Mae Brown
Paperback: 368 Pages (2005-07-26)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$8.59
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0345484258
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
From the bestselling author of the landmark work Rubyfruit Jungle comes an engaging, original new novel that only Rita Mae Brown could have written. In the pristine world of Virginia foxhunting, hunters, horses, hounds, and foxes form a lively community of conflicting loyalties, where the thrill of the chase and the intricacies of human-animal relationships are experienced firsthand--and murder exposes a proud Southern community's unsavory secrets. . . .

As Master of the prestigious Jefferson Hunt Club, Jane Arnold, known as Sister, is the most revered citizen in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain town where a rigid code of social conduct and deep-seated tradition carry more weight than money. Nearing seventy, Sister now must select a joint master to ensure a smooth transition of leadership after her death. It is an honor of the highest order--and one that any serious social climber would covet like the Holy Grail.

Virginian to the bone with a solid foxhunting history, Fontaine Buruss is an obvious candidate, but his penchant for philandering and squandering money has earned him a less than sparkling reputation. And not even Sister knows about his latest tawdry scandal. Then there is Crawford Howard, a Yankee in a small town where Rebel bloodlines are sacred. Still, Crawford has money--lots of it--and as Sister is well aware, maintaining a first-class hunt club is far from cheap.

With the competition flaring up, Southern gentility flies out the window. Fontaine and Crawford will stop at nothing to discredit each other. Soon the entire town is pulled into a rivalry that is spiraling dangerously out of control. Even the animals have strong opinions, and only Sister is able to maintain objectivity. But when opening hunt day ends in murder, she, too, is stunned.

Who was bold and skilled enough to commit murder on the field? It could only be someone who knew both the territory and the complex nature of the hunt inside out. Sister knows of three people who qualify--and only she, with the help of a few clever foxes and hounds, can lay the trap to catch the killer.

A colorful foray into an intriguing world, Outfoxed features a captivating cast of Southerners and their unforgettable animal counterparts. Rita Mae Brown has written a masterful novel that surprises, delights, and enchants.


From the Hardcover edition.Amazon.com Review
Rita Mae Brown fervently believes that felines are a lot smarter than most people, and in her popular Mrs. Murphy mysteries, the cats are always leaps and bounds ahead of their human companions. (They also speak in italics, which makes it easy to distinguish them from their somewhat bumbling owner/companions.) In Outfoxed the foxes, hounds, and a few clever birds solve a murder that's hardly more than a raison d'ĂŞtre for Brown's thorough and detailed description of the highly ritualized world of the Jefferson Hunt. Fox hunting is more than just an entertaining way to spend a fall afternoon in Virginia--it's a way of life for everyone involved, from Sister Jane, the Master of the Fox Hunt, to Crawford Howard and Fontaine Buruss, two men who'd kill for the chance to succeed her. By the time a death actually occurs, Brown is three-fourths of the way to the last page, but it doesn't really matter; by this point, the reader is wholly involved in the arcane world of casts, whippers, scent stations, ratshots, and the social rules of the canid and canine communities. And while a man has been murdered, it's the slaughter of the fox used to lure him to his death that really upsets Sister, the strong-willed matriarch who is the novel's protagonist. The thrill of the chase--the hunt itself, not the search for the killer--is on every page of this masterful foray into a fascinating world. And as usual in a Rita Mae Brown novel, the animals have the best lines as well as the last word. --Jane Adams ... Read more

Customer Reviews (42)

5-0 out of 5 stars Over the Wall and on with the Hunt
Rita Mae Brown's OUTFOXED introduces her many fans to a new world of foxhunting and a died-in-the-wool southerner in the persona of Jane "Sister" Arnold who is master of the Jefferson Hunt Club.
The seventy odd years are weighing heavily on Jane Arnold and she decides to name a co-master to the hunt. Never dreaming that the rivalry between a Yankee and a good ole boy will lead to murder.
It took a bit to keep the animal characters in perspective, but the reading was fun.
Nash Black, author of TRAVELERS.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fox is never killed!
Rita Mae Brown's Foxhunting series is exceptional.Very detailed, lots of action sequences, and interesting human:human and human:animal interactions.Can't beat Rita Mae Brown for an absorbing reading experience!

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book! Kept me interested from start to finish!
This was really a great book for a rainy day.Once I started it I just kept going until the end!A good mystery!Really a great story for people who love animals! I would reccomend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Beatrix Potter with attitude
An interesting combination of fantasy and mystery although the mystery is not important to the storyline.

You may wonder as you read any book in this series how a town full of freedom loving, democratic minded citizens could be persuaded to call a silly, 70-year old harridan Master. Why they would endure her pettiness and mean spirited insults and why they obey her whimsical dictates.Those answers and others are never fully revealed to the reader.

Brown shows an absurd lack of knowledge when it comes to all the animals in her novels.Foxes don't enjoy being hunted, nor do they sit around their humble dens at night and gossip about foxhunters.Horses don't enjoy being jumped over ice to give their riders a thrill.But wishing makes it so in this Virginia community, that is if you are one of the hunting-mad, rich gentry.

Ignore the basic cruelty to animals and the unpleasant sense of entitlement felt by the fox hunters.

5-0 out of 5 stars I laughed I cried I was entertained and I was engaged...life positive
Just found this Rita Mae Brown fox hunting murder mystery series and loved it.. read all of them so far but am posting review for the first...

bottom line all are superb... to be honest when I picked up the first I was not sure what the bit was about anthropomorphizing the animals (hounds, horses, foxes) but it is fine... not overdone and fits right in...

what I like about the series is it is above all positive about life and positive about keeping on living with any and all set backs that occur to people including the loss of loved ones, jealousy sexual and professional, rivalry, pettiness, etc. etc. etc.

it's darned entertaining hearing about American fox hunting from someone expert in the sport who loves it (btw they don't kill the foxes)... it's fun reading the glossary at the end and in the text ("gyp" is a synonym for "bitch" etc.) ...

and finally it's reassuring to read about keeping on keeping on and having both youth and elders and middle agers being able to coexist and help each other...

what can I say I laughed I cried I was entertained and I was engaged... what more would one want ! :) ... Read more


11. Cat's Eyewitness (Mrs. Murphy)
by Rita Mae Brown
Mass Market Paperback: 352 Pages (2006-02-28)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.54
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553582879
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
It’s no secret that cats are a mystery writer’s best friend. Just ask the bestselling team of Rita Mae Brown and her furry partner, Sneaky Pie Brown, back on the prowl with another unforgettable whodunit. This time a controversial miracle in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains sparks religious fervor–and a suspicious death. Now the indefatigable felines Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, along with the dogged corgi Tee Tucker, must trust their animal instincts to sniff out the worst of human nature....

With the holidays approaching, Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen and her best friend, Susan Tucker, take a much-needed time-out at the mountain monastery of Mount Carmel. There, under the benevolent gaze of the statue of the Virgin Mary, their worldly worries are soon overshadowed. For in front of their very eyes the statue begins to cry tears of blood.

Legend has it that Mary’s crimson tears are harbingers of crises. And though skeptical, the ever-practical Harry can already see one on the horizon. If leaked, news of the so-called miracle could turn the monastery and the town of Crozet into a circus. What Harry doesn’t foresee is murder.…

When Susan’s great-uncle Thomas, a resident monk, is found frozen to death at the base of the statue, foul play is ruled out–at first. But at Harry’s urging, the body is exhumed for an autopsy. There’s just one problem: the coffin is empty. That’s when Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tucker get involved. Then there’s the shocking revelation of a mystery that has perplexed the citizens of Crozet for ages.

With Christmas around the corner and the monastery overrun by the faithful, all Harry’s meddling menagerie can do is stay on her trail as she jumps knee-deep into an unofficial investigation–one that becomes more dangerous when another Crozet citizen meets an untimely demise. In this case it will be a miracle if Harry stays alive....


From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (37)

1-0 out of 5 stars If you follow traditional values ...
If you follow traditional values (as a lot of readers of cozies do), you may want to steer clear of this book.

I see that other reviewers have already pointed out some of the other weaknesses in this book.

But you should know that in this book two regular characters become lesbian lovers, and everyone in town accepts it as natural and beautiful.

1-0 out of 5 stars Only if you like serious drama and hardly any mystery...
This book was just awful.I was suggested this series by 2 family members so I had high hopes for it.Unfortunately, it was blatantly obvious who the murderer was from the beginning, and perhaps only 4 chapters even discussed the murder, while the rest of it consists of, "my husband is cheating on me *whine whine whine*" "nahh, giiiirl, I would know since my ex-husband soon to be husband again slept with our dear friend BoomBoom, nick-named after her large bosoms who, by the way, is now in love with our 60 year old, Angelica, a former actress who is so much more beautiful than meeee".If you like unnecessary women drama, talk about who the town slut is, who isn't, and Monks who own computers and use them for their business, get drunk, smoke, and do drugs in the mountains, then, please, by my guest and purchase this book.If you want a GOOD mystery book with fun characters try Melinda Wells, Maggie Sefton, or Lorna Barrett.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Read
When I first came across this series all I could do was look at my family of four legget beasties and imagine them talking with each other and thinking what a great life they have with all those waiters and waitress taking care of them. Ha Ha on us.

1-0 out of 5 stars disappointing
I thought this book touched on controversial issues which I did not appreciate and had not experienced in her previous books that I read.
I also thought the plot was unnecessarily complicated since the ending was not the exciting or unexpected.

5-0 out of 5 stars The piece de resistance for a quiet night at home
Thanksgiving has arrived in the affluent town of Crozet, Virginia. However, while thanks should be being made all around, the residents appear to have more things to be cynical about, and begin to question their faith. Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen has been the postmistress of Crozet - along with her dear friend, Miranda - for years. However, as big builders begin invading the tiny town, they demand that Harry stop bringing her menagerie of pets - cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and a plump Corgi named Tucker - to work with her. Without thinking, Harry quickly quits her beloved position, only to find herself strapped for cash, and doing nothing more than complaining about her newfound cash-flow problems. Between her bills, and her newly flourishing relationship with her ex-husband and resident equine veterinarian, Fair Haristeen, Harry makes the decision to take a trip up to the mountain monastery located on the top of Mount Carmel. Once there, she runs into her best friend, Susan Tucker, who appears to be stressing over her own problems - from believing that her husband of countless years, Ned, is having an affair, to feeling that she's too fat and can't control her eating. Together, the two friends visit the statue of the Virgin Mary to seek solace, only to realize that the statue has begun to shed tears of blood. Both Harry and Susan know that Legend states that Mary's bloody tears predict crises, and the two begin to wonder what crises will befall them. However, when one of the monk's is found dead, kneeling in front of Virgin Mary's statue in the freezing cold, Harry is tipped off to something peculiar going on. It doesn't help matters any to add that the dead monk is none other than Susan's great-uncle Thomas. Harry knows that the brotherhood is hiding something. Something that could destroy their organization, and set them back countless years. Unfortunately, she hasn't been able to put her finger on exactly what it is. Now, enlisting the help of her lifelong friends, and fellow Crozet residents, BoomBoom, Alicia, Susan, Big Mim, Little Mim, and even the God-fearing Miranda, Harry has decided that she'll be spending her holidays investigating this upsetting crime. Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, Tee Tucker, and the rest of their four-legged friends, however, will do anything to curb Harry's curiosity, knowing that if she isn't careful, Harry's holidays will truly include a silent night. One that she'll never recover from.

Since I was eleven-years-old, I have been visiting the sleepy town of Crozet, Virginia alongside Harry and the rest of her posh friends. Yet, even with all of the new character introductions, I find it hard to grow tired of the many debacles Harry manages to get herself into. Rita Mae Brown certainly knows how to capture an audience. Her ability to juggle so many characters is amazing. And, while at times the various character names being thrown around can become confusing, readers will find that keeping track of who's who is not actually difficult, as each new face is accompanied by a quirky personality that makes them stand out in the crowd. Harry, as always, is her charming self. She knows how to stick up for herself, and won't let anyone hold her down - male or female. Her ability to uncover murderers, and solve crimes of all shapes and sizes is admirable. However, it is her ability to forgive and forget, and not live in the past that really makes her an unstoppable character. While CAT'S EYEWITNESS, as with previous installments, features a lot of background on the characters, it does not seem like filler, as each new tidbit of information into their sordid lives and affairs is interesting, and only makes the series that much more thrilling. The interactions each character shares with one another, whether human or animal, really adds to the suspense, and provides a nice backdrop to the mystery, while developing other side stories, which add a nice contrast, but never overshadow the mystery at hand. The piece de resistance for a quiet night at home.

Erika Sorocco
Freelance Reviewer ... Read more


12. Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser
by Rita Mae Brown
 Paperback: 496 Pages (1999-01-05)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553378260
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
From the author of "Rubyfruit Jungle" comes a "wonderfully thoughtful, funny memoir" ("Publishers Weekly") filled with Brown's trademark social commentary--only this time the subject matter is herself. 8-page photo insert.Amazon.com Review
Before Rubyfruit Junglestormed the book world in 1973, the term "bestselling lesbiannovelist" was an oxymoron. But Rita Mae Brown's first novel wasso honest and funny that it broke all barriers. The 52-year-oldauthor's memoirs have the same sassy panache as her fiction. Generousand loving toward her eccentric family and most of those with whomshe's been intimate, Brown pulls no punches when depicting those sheconsiders hypocrites or cowards. Billie JeanKing will hate this book; MartinaNavratilova won't like it either. Almost everyone else will findit a delight. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Getting to know Rita Mae
Wow ... Rita Mae is not just an author.Each chapter introduced me to another facet of this interesting woman's life.If you're curious about the real Rita Mae Brown, and all she's experienced throughout her life, this book is a must.

1-0 out of 5 stars Stick with Rubyfruit.
As a proud vet of the Feminist frontlines 1968-1976, I could hardly wait to read her newest book. Her classic book Rubyfruit Jungle was a gem. As THE "coming out" book of it's time I share the sentiment of millions who feel it will always be sacred. However,I was shocked and totally disappointed with Rita Mae Brown's attempt at writing her own story. The person she reveals to us in Rita Will is beyond ego strong. She is ruthlessly self-absorbed and many times cruel.Everyone (else) is wrong, or less than, or not as smart or not as significant as Rita according to Rita (with the one exception-- her cat.)The book Rita Will reveals Rita as a sad and shallow person, with high marks only for narcissism.Best to avoid this book and re-read Rubyfruit Jungle instead. You'll continue to have a positive impression of Ms. Brown if you do.

4-0 out of 5 stars Funny and Wild
This book is hilarious--several times I found myself laughing out loud at something she said. I minused out one star because of her blatant southern-centricism--she thinks most of us Yankees are rude, and that only southerners possess real manners. My little tabby cat Sammy says PFFFFFTTT to that.
Her account of the Martina/Judy galimony brouhaha is especially hilarious, with poor Rita Mae stuck in the middle, trying to encourage the two to settle things amicably. She gives a highly unflattering (but probably true) portrait of Judy Nelson. Her first impression of Judy was: "How often do you meet a woman whose hair can be ruined by a ceiling fan?" That one cracks me up every time.She talks about some of her relationships with women, most notable those with Martina Navratilova, Fannie Flagg, and Judy Nelson.
She relates the struggles she went through getting a college education and establishing her writing career, but she manages to keep things light by peppering amusing anecdotes of family life (and reactions) in between the more seriouspassages. She talks about her days as an lesbian feminist activist with Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, which I found to be of great interest, as she worked closely with these famous women. She is not kind to Billie Jean King, declaring, "Some people get the face they deserve as they grow old; Billie Jean also got the thighs she deserved." MEOOWWW. Sneaky Pie must have contributed that one.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, full of Southern wit and charm. If you're a fan of Rita Mae's work, you'll love reading her real-life story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
...I'm a tennis fan who was curious about the author's insights on Martina Navratilova.What I ended up with was a tremendously interesting and engaging book.Rita Mae Brown has perspectives and experiences unlike my own and I could not put the book down.I liked the parts about her family also.Certainly there are political messages here, but they are based on her own experiences and are not "preachy" or coming from someone who lives in theories only.If you are a fan of her books, this will be a big treat for you.If you don't know her, read this book for a different life perspective, particuarly about women's issues, including lesbian issues.If these issues offend you, or you don't like reading about them, then this book is probably not for you.It's not an integral part of the book, but it is there.The book is about a person.The book reads like you are talking to her, and she is very interesting.Also, I always suspected Billie Jean King was wretched personally, so I really liked the parts where my opinion is all but supported by someone in the know!
This is an autobiography.Of course the book is about her.Dah!There are a few instances where she comes off a little haughty in my opinion, but I haven't published books or earned the money to have a farm in Virginia, and I didn't struggle through poverty for years to get there either, so I think she's entitled to a little license, folks.The only part I didn't like was when she discussed Fannie Flagg's former lover and only gave her a pseudonym with a vague but "see if you can guess" description.I'm a born gossip and love stuff like that!I think I figured out her hints, but I hate having to do that.It's such a silly exercise.Maybe that was the point in doing that, who knows.Anyone in the closet ought to read this regarding her depiction of Jerry Pfeiffer.I think the silliness of that lifestyle is well exposed simply by recounting the facts.Anyway, very good read!

5-0 out of 5 stars what's true
After reading R.M. Brown's "Sudden death" and "Rubyfruit jungle", I simply had to know what is fiction and what is true in these books full of entertaining stories, I wanted to know more about the author. So I read her autobiography, which definitely made me become fond of her. Her books really deserve to be known by a wider public than only by fans of women's tennis!
These funny, vividly told memoires and tricks of her childhood and youth, reminded me to my own life. They are written so hilariously and relaxed, it's a pure pleasure to read them. Often, my wife asked me why I was laughing, and I had to reread the scenes aloud. It's so interesting to learn about the life and customs of the simple people and the country in the southern states, and I like the morals behind the stories and the author's warm, earthy, lusty language. ... Read more


13. The Tell-Tale Horse: A Novel
by Rita Mae Brown
Paperback: 320 Pages (2008-09-30)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$0.14
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 034550626X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
It’s February, prime foxhunting season for the members of Virginia’s Jefferson Hunt Club, when a shocking event alarms the community. A woman is found brutally murdered, stripped naked, and meticulously placed atop a horse statue outside a tack shop. The theft of a treasured foxhunting prize inside the store may be linked to the grisly scene, and everyone is on edge.

With few clues to go on, “Sister” Jane Arnold, master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, uses her fine-tuned horse sense to try to solve the mystery of this “Lady Godiva” murder. But Sister isn’t the only one equipped to sniff out the trail. The local foxes, horses, and hounds have their own theories on the whodunit. If only these peculiar humans could just listen to them, they’d see that the killer might be right under their oblivious noses–and that Sister could become the killer’s next victim.


Praise for The Tell-Tale Horse:

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE BESTSELLER

“[A] charming and engrossing series . . . Sister Jane Arnold is Master of the Foxhounds as well as one of the most entertaining amateur sleuths since those of Agatha Christie.”
–Booklist

“Intriguing . . . Fans of the series will be fascinated with Jane’s evolution under Brown’s hand. With each book, Jane becomes more real–and more human–in the reader’s imagination.”
–Richmond Times-Dispatch


“Grabs readers from the opening scene and gallops through to the very surprising end.”
–Horse Illustrated ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars No Foxes Injured
I love Rita Mae Brown's Sister Jane foxhunting mysteries, despite the fact that I do not hunt, nor ride, nor even share many of Sister Jane's political opinions.

The characters are well drawn, and I am especially appreciative of the Cast of Characters lists -- both animals and people -- as well as the explanation of specialized terms.Sister Jane is one of those people who knows everybody and is familiar with finding unusual solutions to problems that work out just fine.She is usually surprised to find out who the murderer is, of course, and I like that too.

This particular novel would be interesting to a wide audience, including young people, hunters, Southerners, and people who "remember when times were different."Its only drawback is that, if you begin with this one, you will have a strong desire to go back and read all the books that come before it.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not much to it
Many writers use the mystery genre to write about something else.This writer has produced a slap-dash murder mystery set among the fox hunting set in Virginia.People who are fanatic about something are a self-absorbed lot about it and these foxhunters are no exception and the writer pads the book with fairly repetitive details of a number of hunts that occur.An interesting, but rather precious device (in this book at least), is that the animals can converse with each other.Other than some thin humor, however, the writer does nothing particularly interesting with this device.It might have been interesting to have a little of the fox's perspective on being chased by dogs and horses. I cannot imagine it ever being pleasant, but in this book the implication seems to be that the jelly beans and peanut butter and such put out to feed them is a fair trade-off.Hmm.

Oh that's right, the murder mystery.Never a good sign when one becomes bored with reading the details and skips ahead to see if anything of significance will ever happen. In real life there are chance discoveries and blurted confessions, but to use such in a mystery novel is a great disappointment.A good mystery unfolds before the reader and is written so that little things one easily might pass over are later shown to have great significance.That's why Presumed Innocent was such a good mystery and this book is not.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun, entertaining, and informative
I have all of the books in this series and always pre-purchase the next one out in my anticipation of the fun to come. The stories are always a fun read, the mysteries o.k., but the characters and the hunting details are awesome. I just love when Brown goes in to great detail regarding hunt etiquette, the horses, and the dogs. The terminology and descriptions are fascinating. Also, I am not at all offended when she makes political observations, especially when I agree with most all of them!

I've recommended this series to my trainer and the kids in the local Pony Club to read, and for anyone frustrated by adult horse fiction. Usually the authors get it all wrong i.e. children riding stallions, green riders as assistant trainers, etc. but Rita Mae Brown is always 'spot on'.

5-0 out of 5 stars a good read
I enjoyed this book as I have all the others in this series, the author, being a "Master" herself writes of something she knows and loves and it shows in her stories.

2-0 out of 5 stars I tried to like it, I really did.
Mrs. Brown writes a good mystery. My problem with this series and the Mrs. Murphy stories is that she wants everyone who reads them to know her political views. If I had wanted to read a book on politics I would have. I wanted to read a mystery with foxhunting as an aside. As with the Mrs Murphy series the books have become a way for Mrs. Brown to broadcast her opinions on every she considers wrong with the world. None of them improve the storyin the slightest. I've got my own views on things and I don't need to be preached to in the middle of a "cozy" mystery. If the next book is more of the same I will move on to another series with a more considerate author. ... Read more


14. The Tail of the Tip-Off
by Rita Mae Brown
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (2004-03-30)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553582852
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
The Tail of the Tip-Off

When winter hits Crozet, Virginia, it hits hard--and hangs on for months. That’s nothing new to postmistress Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen and her friends, who keep warm with hard work, hot toddies, and rabid rooting for the University of Virginia’s women’s basketball team at the old stadium affectionately dubbed “The Clam.” But the usual postgame high spirits are laid low when contractor H. H. Donaldson drops dead in the parking lot. And pretty soon word has spread that it wasn’t a heart attack that did him in. It just doesn’t sit right with Harry that one of her fellow fans--perhaps even an acquaintance or neighbor sitting close by in the stands--is a murderer. And as tiger cat Mrs. Murphy is all too aware, things that don’t sit right with Harry make her restless, curious, and prone to poking her not-very-sensitive human nose into dangerous places. So the animals start paying closer attention to what the people around them are doing--and they’re the first ones to realize when the next murder occurs.

It seems obvious to Harry that the deaths are connected--and she intends to find out exactly how. There’s no shortage of suspects, considering that H.H. was a ladies’ man who’d left a trail of broken hearts all over town--the most recent belonging to his wife-- and that the second murder victim was not very popular in Crozet.As the police launch their investigation, Harry picks up clues through savvy questioning of everyone she knows. But it’s the critters who are most attuned to trouble--they scent something wicked wafting Harry’s way on the tail of the next snowstorm. And as Harry draws closer to the truth about a brutal killer, Mrs. Murphy and her friends realize it’s up to them to make sure their intrepid mom lands on her feet.


From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

3-0 out of 5 stars Suspend Your Disbelief to Enjoy
I couldn't get past the first three chapters.The reason is that I had trouble with the author's anthropomorphizing feline thoughts and behaviors.

I probably would have enjoyed it more if it was in more of a fantasy instead of a mainstream church... but couldn't take the leap with cats discussing religion, and even ancient Egyptian art as if they have internal dialogs like humans.Perhaps would have even accepted it if it was clear they were scientifically "enhanced" felines, instead of regular tabbies.

It's true, I was aware of the concept of the book before I purchased it, so I do NOT fault the reviewers or the author, it's just not my cup of tea.That is why I can't give it a BAD review, I knew what I was getting into.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great read-aloud for your cat & corgie
The Mrs. Murphy mysteries are sweet and quite human tales--much like their co-author, it seems.They are not meant to be intense page-turners, just quaint stories for animal lovers.If you take them as such, they are really quite lovely.My favorite parts are always the conversations among the animal characters.In this particular mystery, there is a rousing debate about religion.Nicely done.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another great mystery by RIta Mae.
I just love Rita Mae Brown's books. This is another one in the series. Mrs. Murphy and Tee Tucker are my favorite sleuths! Recommend the entire series. You will get hooked!

3-0 out of 5 stars It's ok I guess
This was my first introduction to a Rita Mae Brown novel. I was not impressed with it as I figured out "who dunnit" early.

The book felt like it attempted to beguile the reader with many ideas. It really didn't work as it felt as if it didn't have focus on the design.

I kind of liked the antics of Mrs. Murphy, Tucker, Pewter and the church cats. I especially liked the image of Tucker the Corge jumping on somebody, growling, baring teeth and screaming "die!" Overall, there were funny points and the sad story of Brinkly the dog but I was not satisfied when the story finally ended.

Winter comes to the town of Crozet.The snowplows are working overtime but the weather does not stifle basketball fever.After a heated womens basketball game, building contractor H. H. Donaldson collapses in the parking lot and dies. The autopsy shows he was murdered by something puncturing his neck which poisoned him. Why was H.H. murdered?Was it his wife because of his frequent affairs? Was it his rival Mathew Crickenbom?What about the building inspector Fred who wrestled him away from an argument in the parking lot?Mary "Harry" Haristeen owner of Mrs. Murphy, Tucker, and Pewter decides she has to find out.

Overall this book had potential to be great.It's descriptions of the countryside were good.I liked the idea of the animals talking to each other and complaining about humans.The main problem with the book was the plot was not at all tight.Too many variables were not explained well and the explanations for motive were not good at all.

All in all it's not a bad story. It just wasn't finished.

Kate Forbes does a good job as the narrator.

2-0 out of 5 stars I found it quite boring
I found this title as a used, unabridged, audio book. This book did absolutely nothing for me. Too much chit chat and not enough action or intrigue to keep me interested. Of the last 20 audio books that I've listened to, this was the only one that disappointed. What else can I say? ... Read more


15. Bingo
by Rita Mae Brown
Paperback: 273 Pages (1999-07-06)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$8.15
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553380400
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
In the sequel to her beloved Six of One, Rita Mae Brown returns with another witty tale of passion and rivalry in the small Southern town of Runnymede, Maryland. Newspaper editor Nickel Smith is scrambling to save the local paper from corporate extinction, even as she is engaged in an affair that would shock the town as much as it amazes Nickel herself. Meanwhile, her mother, Julia, and her aunt Louise, the infamous Hunsenmeir sisters, who’ve set the town on its ears for decades, keep an eagle eye on Nickel. No matter that she’s a grown woman and that they’re going on ninety; they need someone to gossip about! Not even the town’s weekly bingo games can keep Louise and Julia out of trouble when Ed Tutweiler Walters, an eligible newcomer, arrives in town—and has the sisters fighting over him like schoolgirls. A telling look at the foibles of modern relationships, Bingo is full of wisdom about the comforts, trials, and absurdities of small-town life and especially of our own nearest and dearest. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars I'd take Nickel over a Dime any day
If you were as enamored with the childhood antics of Nickel Smith as I was in Six of One, you will also welcome her adulthood antics in Bingo. Although Dr. Brown introduces new vibrant characters, none of them seem to reach the complexity and sheer genius of Celeste Chalfonte, Ramelle or the beloved Cora. However, the fact that I miss these characters, might prove that Dr. Brown has succeeded in stimulating within her readers a nostalgia for those who have died and for time past. Brown Brilliantly captures how time can change people and places alike in the most subtle ways. Good read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Also a tale of a woman's love for newspapering
First off, I loved Bingo and have re-read it many times. Many of my general thoughts are already well said in other reviews, so I want to add an offbeat one. Bingo also tells a story about a woman's love for her career, newspapering, and how that career is endangered by the sale of "her" paper to a big company. Brown nails that part of the story -- her descriptions of how it feels when the "big guy" arrives on the doorstep of the little paper are dead on. I lived through that same situation, with less happy results, and Nickel's reactions ring very true. In this era of mergers and buyouts, that's another reason to read Bingo. Share the book with a friend or three.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Real Can't-Put-It-Down, Laugh-Out-Loud Romp
Nicole "Nickle" Smith's life is more than slightly schizoid: she lives in Runnymead, a small town that straddles the Mason-Dixon line, with all the cultural division that implies; her life is dominated by her elderly adoptive mother Julia "Juts" and Juts' equally neurotic sister Louise "Wheeze;" the tiny newspaper she loves and works for is about to be sold out from under her; and she is a self-avowed lesbian having an affair with her best friend's... husband?Needless to say, the situation is ripe for comedy--particularly when St. Rose of Lima's weekly bingo game, at which most of the townfolk meet without fail, begins a move toward a big-pot game known as "Blackout" and Juts and Wheeze, both in their eighties, begin to compete over the same man.

BINGO is not one of Rita Mae Brown's most literary efforts--it is too loosely structured for that--but it is surely one of her most beloved novels, effectively juggling eccentric characters and ridiculous situations with Brown's own take on modern morality.A particular joy are the supporting characters, which are presented with tremendous appeal: Mr. Pierre, the town's effeminate hairdresser; the massively overweight Verna BonTon and her endless family; the feuding law enforcement officers; the yuppie cub reporter--all presented with considerable aplomb and charm and sharpness.Everything adds up to one of the most hilarious things you'll ever read, a real can't-put-it-down, laugh-out-loud book that will have you sitting up half the night trying to silence your hoots lest you wake the neighbors.The setting, characters, and one-liners are extremely memorable, funny, and remarkably honest, and this is one you'll return again and again.I know I have!Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Three cheers for Runnymeade!
Those crazy Hunsenmeir sisters are back, and this time, it's personal.... Julia and Louise, after 80+ years of sibling rivalry, still don't have it right.And when Ed Tutwieler Walters saunters into Friday night bingo, the fireworks are on autopilot.Vying for the attentions of the town's newest bachelor, Julia and Louise pull out all the stops.And often at hilarious consequences....

Told through the perspective of Julia's adopted daughter, Nickel, readers are treated to small town life in all its glory.Gossip, disputes, affairs, friendships and, yes, even pesky family troubles, run amok in Runnymeade, Maryland, and Rita Mae Brown uses every ounce of her literary talent to create this unforgettable story.I was very impressed by what I read, and despite all their cat-fighting, Julia and Louise are two women I'd love to have lunch with!

I read the first book in the Hunsenmeir series, Six of One, a couple years ago, and I truly enjoyed Bingo so much more.Funnier and more wisecracking, Bingo will have readers yearning for weekly bingo dates in the Catholic Church basement, socializing at the town square, and the chance to take your pets with you everywhere you go, even to the doctor's office during your annual check-up.Wonderfully endearing.Can't wait for Loose Lips.

3-0 out of 5 stars Watch out for the cannonballs.
Runnymede, MD has to be the oddest town ever created in fiction. Full of well-intentioned nuts such as the feuding town sheriffs and the protagonist's mother and aunt--Juts Smith and Wheezie Trumbull--Bingo picks up where the equally implausible _Six of One_ left off. This time, the story is from the POV of Nickel Smith, the adopted daughter of eighty-something iconoclast Juts. Nickel watches as the town newspaper battles corporate takeover and her mother and aunt battle one another over, well, everything, particularly the available octogenarian Ed Walters.

At times, it's hard to believe that the town could be so crazy--there's no way Nickel's pets could be unconditionally welcomed wherever she goes--but if you stop and think about the desperate actions a small town will take to shake itself up, then perhaps there really is something believable about local yokels who fire a Civil War-era cannon in an attempt to separate two brawlers, and who obstruct justice to pull Aunt Wheezie's fat out of the legal fire. Who knows.

Despite the frequent necessity to suspend disbelief, I laughed out loud several times and felt good whenever I dipped into _Bingo_. Rita Mae Brown obviously has fond memories of her past, and that reverence is clear and convincing in this semi-autobiographical look at Runnymede. If only my hometown had a cannon. ... Read more


16. The Sand Castle
by Rita Mae Brown
Paperback: 103 Pages (2009-07-08)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$4.49
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0802144233
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****

In The Sand Castle, beloved American novelist Rita Mae Brown (Rubyfruit Jungle) revisits some of her most spirited and unforgettable characters&#8212sisters Juts and Wheezie Hunsenmeir, and Juts’s precocious young daughter, Nickel&#8212as they come together to cope with a life-defining loss.
It’s August, 1952, and seven-year-old Nickel sets off for a day at the seashore with her mother, aunt, and cousin Leroy. Everyone’s excited when they reach Chesapeake Bay&#8212everyone except for Leroy, who is recently motherless and frightened of the world around him. Nickel delights in tormenting her cousin, but, as the group lounges on the beach and begins work on a magnificent sand castle, the sisters try to coax him out of his shell. As the sun swings higher in the sky, Nickel’s taunting of Leroy escalates and the weight of family history between her mother and aunt rises to the surface&#8212until Leroy is bitten by a crab and all of their arguments fall away. It isn’t until years later that Nickel can see that single day at the beach for what it truly was&#8212a life-changing lesson on family and all the pleasure and heartbreak that comes with it.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars this family has unshakeable bonds
The Sand Castle, by Rita Mae Brown (108 pgs., 2007, 2008).This is a sweet novella about family.It takes place in just one day.It's about a visit to the seashore by sisters Juts & Wheezie Hunsenmeir, along with Juts' seven-year old daughter, Nickel Smith & her first cousin Leroy; in August 1952.
Leroy's Mom recently passed away & he has gone to live with his Aunt Wheezie, Juts' older sister.Apparently, these two sisters & Nickel are well-known to fans of this writer from some of her previous books.This is my first exposure to them.I liked them.
This book contains two car rides.One, to the shore & one heading home from the shore.There is swimming, by some.There is fear, by others.There is intricate sand castle building.There are arguments between the adults & between the two younger cousins.There are tears.There is pain.There is love & explanation & forgiveness.
This book is about how two adults & one child help another child cope with the one big terrible loss in his young life.Family pulls together.Family soldiers on.This family has unshakeable bonds.

1-0 out of 5 stars Butchering of previous characters
I have loved Juts and Wheezie since I read Six of One years ago, but Rita Mae has destroyed these characters. Someone should also tell her you can't just change the names because you're too lazy to remember or look up what YOU wrote. I stopped reading after I saw she changed the names of Louise's daughter and son-in-law. This is not new to this book, though. She also changed a lot of stuff in Loose Lips, which I should have taken as a sign not to read any more of her books. I would give it zero stars if I could.

1-0 out of 5 stars A why-bother
I was disappointed by this "book". It really should be called a very short story. I have loved all of Rita Mae Brown's books. This one was a why-bother - it is obvious she was writing this one just to get paid.

2-0 out of 5 stars Great Rita Mae Brown, but no "Six of One"
Great read, but has nothing to do with the original books before. Juts, Nickel and Wheezie are the only originals, most story lines and other characters (Leroy) are new and have nothing to do with the family and stories I have come to love. Even Louise's daughters name is different!! It would have been much more fun to read if she would have made a whole new story out of it without connecting it to the Hunsenmeir sisters!

4-0 out of 5 stars good read
Short but poignant.Especially engaging if you're already familiar with the characters from previous novels. ... Read more


17. Sour Puss: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery (Mrs. Murphy Series)
by Rita Mae Brown
Mass Market Paperback: 320 Pages (2007-02-27)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.19
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553586815
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
In this latest whodunit, Rita Mae Brown and her feline partner-in-crime-detection, Sneaky Pie Brown, return to the scene of their bestselling crimes—picturesque Crozet, Virginia. Love is in the air as spring comes to the small town, but no sooner has Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen remarried than she is rudely interrupted—by murder. And no sooner does the trouble start than curious cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, along with corgi Tee Tucker, sink their claws into the case.…

After an unexpected rekindling of their romance, Harry and her veterinarian ex-husband, Fair Haristeen, have happily remarried. But the excitement of their nuptials is quickly overshadowed by the murder of Professor Vincent Forland, a world-famous grape and fungal expert who was in town visiting the local vineyards.

Within days of giving a lecture on how distilled fungus and cattle diseases are the current basis of chemical warfare, Forland’s decapitated body is discovered.After their initial fright, the residents of Crozet believe that this was a political murder and settle back into their routines–until a local is also found dead, killed in the same gruesome manner as Professor Forland. Now residents can’t help wondering, is this really the work of an
outsider—or one of their own?

No longer working in the post office, Harry had just planted a quarter acre of grapes, which fuels her natural curiosity over just what the two murder victims knew and had in common.Once the warmth of spring arrives, the grapevines blossom and Harry’s furry entourage discovers the first critical clue. But how can they show the humans what they’ve learned? And how can they—or anyone—stop the killing?


From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Classic Mrs. Murphy at work!
I've been reading this series for years and this is a very enjoyable book.The wedding scene at the begining is hysterical. The mystery did take a little while to develop. The animal characters are satisfying as always.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great series
I love the sneaky pete series of Rita Mae Brown.I have almost all of them and have really enjoyed reading them.Would definitely recommend them to any one who likes mysteries and animals.

4-0 out of 5 stars Grapes, bugs, & murder, oh my!
Some mysteries start out (sometimes literally, as in Cat Seeing Double: A Joe Grey Mystery (Joe Grey Mysteries)) with a bang; some (like Witch Way to Murder (Ophelia & Abby Mysteries, No. 1)) build slowly to a climax; and some can best be described as a series of spikes, with valleys of calm (and red herrings) in between."Sour Puss," 14th in the best-selling Mrs. Murphy series, is one of the last.It starts out with Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, ex-postmistress of Crozet, VA, and now farmer, remarrying her ex, equine vet Fair--an event enlivened when tiger cat Mrs. Murphy and overweight Pewter stage a catfight on the very altar of the church.More than half the book goes by (while Brown sows background information and introduces new characters) before the first murder occurs, discovered by Fair, who was called to the victim's farm to see to his donkey Jed, who had supposedly suffered a serious gash on one leg.Jed, however, is nowhere to be found--and when he finally is, no gash is in evidence.Meanwhile, a visting expert on grapes and the diseases that attack them goes inexplicably missing--only to be found by the cats and their corgi pal Tucker (directed to the site by a local bear) buried in a shallow grave in Harry's peach orchard, which leads the police to place Fair under suspicion.Then the man accused of the first murder is also found, apparently a suicide.Besides their natural anxiety over Fair, Harry and her pets are confronted with the questions of who's strewing dead bodies about the landscape, why Victim #1 made a false call about his donkey, and whether there's a connection to the glassy-winged sharpshooters (a plant pest) found in the peach orchard.And, as Fair admits, though he's the one who keeps telling his wife to keep her nose out of other people's business, he also finds himself getting as caught up in the detecting as she is.In the end a confrontation in Harry's barn ends with the cats and their wild allies--Simon the shy 'possum, Matilda the blacksnake, and Flatface the big owl--saving both their mistress and the day.

Brown has done her homework regarding the grape business and passes on a lot of information to her readers--something I appreciate; I've always felt that even a writer of fiction has an obligation to leave her readers knowing more than they did when they came in.She also paints beautiful pictures of the upland Virginia landscape and brings in all her regular characters, from local doyenne Big Mim Sanburne, her husband and daughter, and ancient Aunt Tally Urquhart, to Harry's sometime rival BoomBoom Craycroft, her dear friend Miranda Hoggendobber, and the very competent Deputy Cynthia Cooper, to, of course, Harry and her extended family of humans and animals.As always there are bits of wry humor strewn like firecrackers along the way, alternating with dialogue that may leave you thinking in new ways about the subject, as when Harry and BoomBoom address the question of whether prostitutes are happy in their work.And, as always, the great charm of the story lies in "listening in" on the conversations of the animals and watching as they and the humans independently investigate, from their differing angles, the murders that have marred their country paradise.A thoroughly enjoyable read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun Series
I stumbled onto this series when I was looking around for a new series to start. I have read all including the latest "Santa Clawed". I alway look forward to the next book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another great book!
Ever since I found this series, I have been pleasantly surprised. These are a fast read and very entertaining. There is always a little edginess in every book. Good read! ... Read more


18. Sneaky Pie's Cookbook for Mystery Lovers
by Rita Mae Brown
Hardcover: 80 Pages (1999-05-04)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$8.34
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 055310635X
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
Favorite recipes and anecdotes from the co-author of the Mrs. Murphy Mysteries.

Sneaky Pie Brown, co-author of such irresistible Mrs. Murphy mysteries as Murder on the Prowl, dishes up delectable fare for cats and humans alike in this unique collection of recipes spiced with witty personal anecdotes, including glimpses of life with co-author Rita Mae Brown.

What do you serve when a kitty is bored with all the old standbys? Since cookbooks are written by humans for humans, Sneaky Pie Brown has produced a cookbook with appeal for fastidious felines, including such treats as Veal Kidney and Salmon Pie.

Ever the thoughtful hostess, Miss Pie has also included plenty of recipes to accommodate the visiting human or finicky dog. There's Mother's Fried Chicken, Christmas Goose, Big Dog's Delight, and, of course, Mrs. Hogendobber's Orange Buns, the very thought of which makes Mrs. Murphy fans' mouths water.

Throughout there are also delightfully illustrated anecdotes for those Sneaky Pie fans eager to learn more about the dashing author. She even spills the beans about what happened to Rita Mae's brand-new pickup when a neighbor came calling with his goat.

For cats and cat lovers, this book combines real and tasty recipes with the same droll humor that made one reviewer declare, "As feline collaborators go, you couldn't ask for better than Sneaky Pie Brown, the canny tiger cat" (The New York Times Book Review). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

1-0 out of 5 stars ?
I never received the book.A refund was issued.Can't review it, if I haven't received it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Love that Cat!
This is just the cutest cookbook. I bought it for the yummy rolls from the novels, but it's a fun read, too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for non-cooks!
I hate to cook. That said, I loved making the recipes in this book not only for myself but for the critters whom I serve as household help.The recipes are easy, non-time consuming, and my mother nearly fainted when I told her I made them all by myself.

The anecdotes are wonderful, especially the goat story.

1-0 out of 5 stars This book shouldn't be called a cookbook
What a waste of a cookbook. If you want a great cookbook look at Lilian Jackson Braun's coookbook. I got Sneaky Pie's cookbook from the library and I am thankful I didn't waste the money on it. Most of the recipes were for food for pets. I guess Rita Mae Brown was trying to compete with Lilian Jackson Braun. If you are going to buy one cookbook from a mystery write buy Miss Braun's.
Sneaky Pie needs to take this book and bury it in the litterbox

2-0 out of 5 stars bad karma
Brown has got to be kidding on this one. Who in their right mind is going to take this seriously? ... Read more


19. Starting from Scratch
by Rita Mae Brown
Paperback: 272 Pages (1989-03-01)
list price: US$19.00 -- used & new: US$3.48
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 055334630X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
From the best-selling author ofRubyfruit Jungle andBingo, here is a writers' manual as provocative,frank, and funny as her fiction. Unlike mostwriters' guides, this one had as much to do with howwriters live as with mastering the tools of theirtrade. Rita Mae Brown begins with a very personalaccount of her own career, from her days as a youngpoet who had written a novel no publisher wantedto take a chance on, right up to her recentadventures as a Hollywood screenwriter. In a sassy stylethat makes her outspoken advice as entertaining asit is useful, she provides straight talk aboutpaying the rent while maintaining the energy towrite; and dealing with agents, publishers, critics,and the publicity circus; about pursuingjournalisim, academia, or screen-writing; and about rejectingthe Hemingway myth of the hard-living,hard-drinking genius. In addition Brown, a former teacher orwriting, offers a serious examination of thewriter's tool--language, plotting, characters,symbolism--plus exercises to sharpen the ear for dialogue,and a fascinating, annoted reading list ofimportant works from the seventh century to the latetwentieth. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book for writers and readers
Rita Mae Brown puts words together like no one I ever knew.Even though this is a "manual" for writing, it reads so well.If you never plan to write a sentence as an author, read it because you write in your journal, letters to your mother whatever.It has helped me think differently about the way I write.And, it's just plain old enjoyable!The reading list in the back is a challenge but has encouraged me to move outside my comfort zone of what I read into different areas.I highly recommend this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it
As usual, enjoyable writing from this tireless author. Good book for ingenue as well as mature reader/writer.

1-0 out of 5 stars Read Part III
The author comes across as arrogant and condescending most of the time. I'd recommend skipping Parts I and II altogether, where she brags about herself then lays down allsorts of "musts" if you want to be a "real" writer. Writers have an amazing talent for procrastinating: I must clean the entire house-, I must paint the bedroom-, I must find a new job before I can start writing. Brown's "Must study Latin first" rule discussed by others above strikes me as a colossal example for this. I'm sure studying Latin is one of many effective ways to improve your craft, but to insist writers should not even put pen to paper until those two years of study are complete seems the height of lunacy.

Authors interested in writing mystery, fantasy, horror, SF, etc, will likely be put off by her repeated declaration that genre fiction is on the far edges of the distant suburbs of fiction, and none of her rules apply to it because it isn't real writing.

Part IV- a whip around of the peculiarities of writing different forms and in different media (television and film scripts, magazine articles, plays, etc - is of minor interest, short stories are blown off altogether.

Part V, her curriculum for a writers conservatory, would be better shared with an academic journal.

Part VI, her 30+ page reading list of critical works of fiction through the ages, starting in 665 AD, feels like it's pulled from a doctoral dissertation.

It's an interesting list, and contains many excellent works of genre: The Murders in the Rue Morgue: The Dupin Tales (Modern Library Classics), The Complete Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Dracula (Signet Classics), the poems of Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass (Modern Library Classics), Riders of the Purple Sage (Leisure Historical Fiction), Tarzan of the Apes_, Agatha Christie's Mysterious Affair at Styles: A Hercule Poirot Mystery, The Thin Man, and many others, rather belies her claim that genre fiction isn't worthy of anyone's time. Reading it in chronological order, as she insists must be done, would likely show some interesting developments in the field over time, but again, that strikes me as a doctoral dissertation requirement. There is value in reading some or all of these books, in whatever order the reader prefers.

If I were to recommend this book to anyone, it would be for Part III: The Work, where Brown focuses on language. There is much that is interesting here, especially the section where she explores vocabulary and the difference in intent and power between synonyms that derived from Old English/Anglo-Saxon (more powerful, language of the common people) versus Latin/French (more formal, language of the rulers and rich).

For example: woman vs female, lonely vs solitary, help vs aid, feed vs nourish.

The section on verbs, and the power of the passive voice when used *appropriately* was quite interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thumbs up for Brown's Literary Conservatory & reading list!
My favorite part of this book is the author's suggested path of study in her Literary Conservatory chapter, which presents a four-year writer's curriculum (nothing like this was offered at any university at the time this book was published in the mid-1980's).To help writers study their craft, accompanying the writer's curriculum is a huge suggested reading list, meant to be read in order (from the oldest works of antiquity to newer works up until about 1980).I'd love to see the author expand on her idea of the Literary Conservatory and write a sequel to this book.It'd make a great independent study option for those who are unable to enroll in a formal college literary writing program, but who would still like to pursue a formal course of study designed just for hopeful would-be authors.

4-0 out of 5 stars A writing book you can take to the beach
I really enjoyed this book.The sections on manipulating English alone is worth the price.I don't know latin and I'm barely familiar with old English, but I've dabbled in German, Dutch, French and Italian so I hope this is enough.I think the jist is that Romance and Germanic languages have both strengths and weaknesses, and since English is a fusion of these two families you can cherry pick your words from either.

The most helpful for me was the section on irregular verbs.The chapter on the subjentive frustrated me a little.Why tease us with a tool that doesn't exist in English?

People looking for an instant writing makeover may be impatient with the relaxed conversational voice, but I found it smooth reading which contains good advice.A lot of it obvious, but how else would you know it is good advice? ... Read more


20. Six of One
by Rita Mae Brown
Paperback: 368 Pages (1999-07-06)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553380370
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
Perched right on the Mason-Dixon line, tiny Runnymede, Maryland, is ripe with a history almost as colorful as the women who live there—from Celeste Chalfonte, headstrong and aristocratic, who murders for principle and steals her brother’s wife, to Fannie Jump Creighton, who runs a speakeasy right in her own home when hard times come knocking. Then of course, there’re Louise and Julia, the boldly eccentric Hunsenmeir sisters. Wheezie and Juts spend their whole lives in Runnymede, cheerfully quibbling about everything from men to child-rearing to how to drive a car. But they never let small-town life keep them from chasing their biggest dreams—or from being true to who they really are. Sparkling with a perfect combination of sisterhood and sass, Six of One is a richly textured Southern canvas—Rita Mae Brown “at her winning, fondest best”(Kirkus Reviews). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars Warm, interesting and rich with detail
I enjoyed this story from the first page to the last. The writing is so rich you can practically see, smell, feel and hear the characters and the small town in which the story is set. The characters are multi-dimensional and quirky without being beyond the pale. Some of the scenes are laugh-out-loud funny and others will bring tears to your eyes. A very rewarding read. Thank you Rita Mae. I loved this book as much as the Mrs. Murphy series and the Sister Jane series.

2-0 out of 5 stars Sorry, Kathy
A dear friend loved and recommended this book...said she rereads it about once a year. On top of that...all these good reviews here.I must be turning into a crotchety old lady, because I read as long as I could before I became too aggravated with the childish conversations that made the adults seem silly & boring. When does it start to become a wonderful read?Did I give up too early?Ah well..

5-0 out of 5 stars Six of One
First book in the series of three using the same characters. Wonerfully funny and poignant. I highly recommend this book followed by Loose Lips and the Bingo by the same author.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just too funny!
A friend stumbled across this title at a book exchange in Costa Rica when we were travelling about 10 years ago.I have read it every year since and still laugh out loud everytime.Wish they would make a movie of it.

3-0 out of 5 stars be prepared to stick to it to read the whole thing
this was a hard one to get through. it tells the stories of two sisters growing up, as well as their mom, and the woman she works for who is also her good friend. some parts of the book are SO GOOD and some are SO BORING. it's weird... ... Read more


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