Review: A Hiss Before Dying

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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. In A Hiss Before Dying, the twenty-sixth installment in the series, the gang takes on another mystery in the small town of Crozet, Virginia.

From the publisher:

Autumn is in the air in the Blue Ridge Mountain community of Crozet, Virginia—and all the traditions of the changing seasons are under way. Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen cleans her cupboards, her husband, Fair, prepares the horses for the shorter days ahead, and the clamorous barking of beagles signals the annual rabbit chase through the central Virginia hills. But the last thing the local beaglers and their hounds expect to flush out is a dead body. Disturbingly, it’s the second corpse to turn up, after that of a missing truck driver too disfigured to identify. The deaths seem unrelated—until Harry picks up a trail of clues dating back to the state’s post-Revolutionary past.

While the main part of the book is the contemporary mystery featuring Harry and her human and animal friends, the author weaves in a second story line dating back to America’s post-revolutionary past. I found the historic parts of the story less appealing and skimmed some of those section, but I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the book. As always, Rita Mae Brown weaves her personal views into the book, and while some have accused her of being preachy, I enjoy that aspect of her books and find it interesting and thought provoking.

As always, my favorite part of all these books is the interplay between the animal characters. While both the human and feline author 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?

A Hiss Before Dying is available from Amazon and everywhere books are sold.

Coming soon: An Interview with Rita Mae Brown

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FTC Disclosure: The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon and affiliated sites. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves. I received this book from the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. All reviews on The Conscious Cat will always reflect my honest opinion, or, as the case may be, Allegra and Ruby’s honest opinion.

 

1 Comment on Review: A Hiss Before Dying

  1. Ann Seeber
    July 14, 2017 at 4:26 am (1 month ago)

    I agree that the historical story line feels unnecessary. It has put me off in some of RMB’s other books. All in all, I love her books, though, especially the foxhunting ones! I met RMB in NYC around 1967 or so writing for the New Feminist Theatre (off-off-off Broadway) 😉 My name at the time was Ann Beck. Please give her my regards.

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