Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Litter of the Law (Mrs. Murphy #21), by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown

Bantam, ISBN 9780345530486, October 2013

Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and her husband, Fair, are out with their dog, Tee Tucker, and their cats, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, when the animals find a very interesting scarecrow, apparently being torn apart by crows.

Why would crows be attacking a scarecrow?

It's a corpse. His name was Josh Hill, and he was shot through the heart before being dressed as a scarecrow and hung up in the field. It's the start of a frightening October, building toward Halloween and the annual hayride to raise money for the Crozet Library.

Tee Tucker, Mrs. Murphy, and the often reluctant Pewter need to keep a close eye on their favorite human, Harry, as well as doing (in their minds) all the real investigation of this shocking crime.

When Harry and her friend Susan find another corpse, this one dressed up as a witch and inserted into the Halloween display on the lawn of a local church, everyone starts to get alarmed, and Harry, Susan, and their sheriff's deputy friend Coop begin to wonder who it is among their friends and neighbors that's killing their neighbors.

Harry Haristeen is always fun to read about, though of course Tucker, Mrs. Murphy, and Pewter are the real stars of the series. This is a nicely plotted mystery, a visit with old friends, and a pleasant evening read as Halloween approaches. The Virginia boosterism can at times seem a bit smug and a bit much, but I assume most people feel the same way about their part of the country. Indeed, I feel sorry for them if they don't.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.