Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: July 12, 2023 by Crystal Uys


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.

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