Thursday, August 9, 2018

Probable Claws (Mrs. Murphy #26), by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown

Bantam, May 2018

Let's start by saying that Mrs. Murphy (tiger cat), Tucker (corgi), and even new recruit Pirate (Irish wolfhound puppy) are amazingly patient with Pewter (fat gray cat). Just saying!

Harry Haristeen is working with architect Gary Gardner on improvements to her barn and workspace, and all seems as peaceful as it ever is around Harry. Then the illusion of peace is shattered as Harry, Gary, and Deputy Cynthia Cooper are standing outside Gary's office. A motorcyclist, completely obscured in bike leathers and an opaque helmet drives up, shoots Gary fatally, and drives away.

Cooper's sincere plea to Harry that she stay out of the investigation really just means Harry has to be more careful. And, really, the deputies would probably never have paid really close attention to Gary's stolen and recovered paper copies of the building codes for every jurisdiction he's worked in going back to his days at Rankin Construction...right?

But Gary's death is not the last--or, it turns out, the first. On Rankin's current construction site, a new building replacing one Rankin built--and Gary worked on--in the 80s, a body is found, dead from a very precise bullet, just as Gary was killed. Handwritten notes and dates in Gary's code books coincide with that death, and an earlier one that appeared to be just an early and unexpected heart attack.

Harry may be a little too eager to investigate herself rather than let the Crozet police do their jobs, and it's not always safe, but she is smart, observant, and attentive to detail. She also has her animals, whose noses and lower-to-the-ground view of the world pick up details she misses. And if usually they can't really tell her, they do sometimes manage to alert her to something crucial.

I really enjoyed this, even the bits set in 1786 and 1787, that don't directly bear on this story, they may have present-day repercussions in later Mrs. Murphy mysteries. All in all, this is an enjoyable mystery, and an enjoyable new entry in an ongoing series.

Recommended.

I borrowed this book from the local library.