Review and Interview with Rita Mae Brown

tall-tail-rita-mae-brown

I have been a fan of the Mrs. Murphy mystery series by Rita Mae Brown (co-written with her cat Sneaky Pie,) featuring tabby cat Mrs. Murphy and her friends Tee Tucker the Corgi and Pewter, a rotund grey kitty who is sensitive about her weight, since the first book in the series came out in 1991. 25 years later, the series is still going strong.

In Tall Tail, the latest installment, Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen and her animal friends try to solve a murder that ends up sending them to look for answers in the past. In this book, the authors weave together the present day story of the murder of the caregiver to a former governor of Virginia with a second story line set in the 18th century.

I found the historic parts of the story a bit hard to follow, but thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the book. Even with some skimming through the historical sections, it was fascinating to me to see how the two story lines came together in the end. Rita Mae Brown is often accused of being preachy in the newer installments of the series, and she certainly isn’t shy about weaving her personal views into the book, but I found that interesting rather than off putting.

My favorite part of all the books in the series is the interplay between the animal characters. While both authors excel at portraying immensely likeable animal and human characters, I suspect that the animal scenes are written by Sneaky Pie rather than Rita Mae – after all, who else but a cat would have such insights into the limitations of the human mind?

Tall Tail is available from Amazon and everywhere books are sold.

Interview with Rita Mae Brown

Rita-Mae-Brown

I’m delighted that I had a chance to ask Rita Mae Brown a few questions.

The first Mrs. Murphy mystery came out in 1991 – that would make Sneaky Pie 25 years old. I’m assuming that the original Sneaky Pie is no longer with you. What was it like for you to have to train a new cat to take over the important job of co-author? Was there ever a moment when you thought you would end the series after the original Sneaky Pie passed away?

The original Sneaky Pie lived to twenty. The original Pewter made it to twenty-four. Training replacements was easy. Cats are smart. I suspect they trained me. All my rescues: horses, cats, dogs and foxhounds live long, useful lives.

When the original Sneaky Pie died it didn’t occur to me to stop the series. Too many people enjoy the characters plus, in my small way, I hope they move people to go to shelters or donate.

Tell us about your other cats. Was one the model for Pewter?

Pewter I was fat as a tide. Vain Pewter II is never slender but also exhibits high self-regard.

You love being outdoors, and yet, you are an incredibly prolific writer. How do you make yourself come inside to write?

Coming inside depends on the season. I write in the morning in the winter as it is cold here at the very feet of The Blue Ridge Mountains.

Summer it’s the reverse. Work happens in the cool of the morning, come inside in the afternoon. As I now have air conditioning—resisted it for years—it’s pleasant and I don’t sweat on the pages. No running ink!

What does a typical day look like for you?

There is no typical day on a farm. One tries to rise at dawn but I can cheat and wait until full sunrise. Then it’s whatever needs to be done. Right now we need to cut hay—a great year for hay. However, it won’t stop raining. You don’t want it to go to seed. If it dries out even a wee bit we will literally work from sun-up until sundown. I love it.

How much longer do you plan on keeping the Mrs. Murphy series going?

So long as people wish to read it.

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would you choose?

Aristophanes, the 5th century BC comic playwright and my father, Ralph Clifford Brown. Living: Condoleezza Rice, Liz Smith, Iris Love—all women of great breath of mind and generous spirit. The list could go on: Gloria Steinem, Sondra Radvanovsky. Some of these ladies I know, others I do not, but all have given of themselves to others, to their respective nations.

Right now there are so many exciting people on earth, you can’t miss.

Or what about putting together these people minus myself? Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare with President Jahnae H. Barnett of William Woods University, an educational visionary. Throw in the president of Sweet Briar College. That’s a group worthy of prime time TV—not a boring moment.

Finally, we could bring back mother. Let her take the center stage. Fasten your seatbelts.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

reading list banner final

Welcome to the Conscious Cat

The Conscious Cat is an award winning website published by writer and cat expert Ingrid King, author of Buckley's Story and Purrs of Wisdom. Here at The Conscious Cat, we're passionate about cats. Our mission is to educate cat guardians so that every cat, and every cat's human, can have a happy, healthy life together.

cats

On this site, you will find expert advice from a seasoned cat consultant. The Conscious Cat features articles on cat health, cat nutrition, cat behavior, cat lifestyle, pet loss, and, of course, pictures of cats. We'll bring you product and book reviews, as well as news from around the cat world.

We'll also share Purrs of Wisdom: lessons in conscious living, inspired by the cats who share our lives. Other features include our Mews and Nips; fascinating feline stories from around the globe, and Allegra's World and Ruby's Reflections; written from the perspective of Ingrid's two feline companions. After all, who better than a cat to teach us a thing or two about how to live a joyful life!

And let's not forget, we have a soft spot for tortoiseshell cats and their unique personalities, also known as "tortitude."

We hope you'll enjoy our site. Please join our community of cat lovers: sign up for our newsletter and join us on Facebook. Your comments and feedback are always welcome.

Cats Incredible Litter™ Stops Litter Box Smells – Enter to Win

cats-incredible-litter

This giveaway is sponsored by Lucy Pet Products

When it comes to preventing litter box odors, I believe that the most effective way to do it is to scoop frequently. I work from home, and I usually scoop practically as soon as Allegra or Ruby finish doing their business. I realize that that’s not practical for everyone, but at a minimum, litter boxes should be scooped twice a day, and the entire box should be dumped out, cleaned and refilled with fresh litter once a month.

Cats Incredible™ Litter from Lucy Pet Products has developed a new way to stop litter box odors. Continue reading…

Allegra and Ruby’s 5 Current Favorite Cat Toys

5 favorites cover

This post contains Amazon Associate links*

If there was a Guinness World Record for “Most Spoiled Cat,” I’m sure Allegra and Ruby would be in the running to win that title. Between the toys we get for product reviews and the toys that I buy them (yes, I still buy them toys – did I mention that they’re spoiled?), there’s never a shortage of toys here. But as we all know, cats get easily bored with toys, so I tend to rotate toys in and out quite a bit. It always amazes me how a previously ignored toy  becomes a new favorite after it’s been hidden for a couple of weeks.

But among all of their toys, there are five that have been consistent favorites, even though they are never put away. I thought I’d let Allegra and Ruby introduce them to you. Continue reading…

20% OFF Pretty in Pink Wallet From Triple T Studios

cat-walllet

I’m delighted to announce that Triple T Studios gave me a discount code so you can get their adorable Pretty in Pink Wallet at 20% off the regular price of $24.99!

This gorgeous wallet is both beautiful and practical. The wallet’s petty shade of pink is called Pink Quartz, with a lovely grey Serenity trim. It also features a sewn resting black cat with a Serenity ribbon A heart-shaped silver tone pull and a zipper closure keep all of your valuables safely tucked inside. Continue reading…

You’re Invited to a Meow Mingle

social-cat-book-signing

A couple of weeks ago I announced that I will be exhibiting at CatConLA on June 25 and 26. But two days of being around cat lovers isn’t enough for me, so I’m delighted to invite you to a Meow Mingle and Book Signing on Friday, June 24 at Los Angeles’ premiere pet store, Pussy & Pooch.

Join me and fellow author Paige Hodges and Special Feline Guest Aragon the Cat- Actor, Comedian, Social Activist, known for his role as Lord Tubbington on the hit TV show Glee. Continue reading…

AAFP Releases New Guidelines for Management of Feline Hyperthyroidism

feline-hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a common disease that typically affects middle-aged and older cats.  It is caused by an excess production of thyroid hormones, which are produced by the thyroid gland, located inside the cat’s neck. Thyroid hormones affect nearly all organs, which is why thyroid disease can sometimes cause secondary problems such as hypertension, heart and kidney disease. Continue reading…

Sunday Purrs of Wisdom: Stretch Your Body, Stretch Your Mind

purrs-of-wisdom

I’m delighted to introduce a new Sunday feature today: Sunday Purrs of Wisdom. We’ll be featuring photos of beautiful kitties, sometimes Allegra (above) and Ruby, sometimes others, paired with quotes.

Quotations resonate with us because they can express the essence of a subject with a few, well-chosen words. When paired with an image, they can touch an even deeper part of us. Quotes can make us look at life from a different perspective. They can teach us something new. And sometimes, they can even make us smile. Continue reading…

Mews and Nips: Couple Gets Married Surrounded by Cats

wedding-cat-sanctuary

Louise Veronneau and Dominic Husson met n Quebec, Canada. They share a passion for animals, especially cats, so they decided to get married at the Cat House on the Kings in Parlier, CA. Cat House on the Kings is the largest cage-free animal sanctuary in North America and is home to almost 1,000 cats. Lynea Lattanzio, the creator of the sanctuary, officiated at the wedding. For more on the wedding, including a wonderful video, please visit ABC30 Action News Fresno.

If you missed any of the stories featured on the Conscious Cat this week, here’s a recap: Continue reading…

Katherine Heigl: Actress, Philanthropist and Cat Lover

Katherine-Heigl-cat

I’ve been a fan of Katherine Heigl since her Grey’s Anatomy days (anyone else still miss Izzy?), but I didn’t really know all that much about her. I was delighted to find out that she’s a huge animal lover. She lives in Utah with her husband, two daughters, four dogs and five cats.

Heigl recently partnered with Cat’s Pride for a national media campaign. While the campaign is obviously designed to sell litter, it also aims to promote animal welfare. Cat’s Pride will donate a portion of every Fresh & Light Ultimate Care purchase to support the work of the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation. Continue reading…

Allegra and Ruby’s Birthday Surprise

birthday-cats

Hi everyone, it’s Allegra and Ruby! We took over the computer after Mom went to bed last night! Mom had one of her very important posts about some very important topic scheduled for today, but today is her birthday! Since she works so hard every day to write new posts for you, we thought she deserved a break today, so we rescheduled the post for next week. Continue reading…

1 2 3 239