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Pawing Through the Past by Rita Mae Brown

Pawing Through the Past (2000)

by Rita Mae Brown

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Harry is on the committee for Crozet High's twentieth reunion. Along with all the excitement comes a letter sent to all the classmates with the message "You'll never get old." Who sent it and what does it mean? They soon find out that it means murder. As classmates turn up dead there is a need to quickly find out what the link is between the bodies and reason for the murders.

Mrs. Murphy, Tee Tucker and Pewter and once again on the trail to figure out the mystery. The animals are able to get into areas that the humans can and can use their sense of smell to tract down clues. The only problem is getting the humans to understand what it is they have found.

Is it a matter of revenge for something in the past? What secret can it be? And there are a few that resurface and need to be explained.

I enjoyed this book as I have others in the series. Even the clues that come up from left field. These are light but not watery reads for me. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Feb 17, 2017 |
A nice mystery. Although I had figured out about halfway through who did it, I began to waver towards the end and changed my mind. Oops. Great writing. ( )
  Greymowser | Jan 23, 2016 |
Eighth book in the Mrs. Murphy cat mysteries featuring Mary Minor Harristeen, postmistress of small-town Crozet, Virginia and her troupe of animal friends. I enjoy the reader for this series so have started listening to them, although I’ve enjoyed them in print, too. While they do feature animals that communicate, it’s not really a cozy series as there’s definitely too much cussing and details about the sordid secrets of small-town life. But that bit of an edge makes it interesting and I think the animal bits are very well done. In this book, Harry (as MMH is referred to) and her friends are preparing for their twenty-year class reunion when they all receive a mysterious letter saying, “You Will Never Grow Old.” At first it’s taken as a joke. But when first one, then a second of her classmates ends up shot between the eyes, no one’s laughing. Are the murders the result of something happening now, or rooted in the decades-old past? Even though admonished to ‘stay out of it’ and let the police investigate, Harry and her furry friends are determined that no more of their classmates should perish and are on the scent. Delightful as usual with the excellent reader and the wonderful characterizations the author brings out. I had a good idea who the killer was fairly early, but it was one of those ‘gut feelings’ and I was by no means sure. ( )
  Spuddie | Oct 3, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553580256, Mass Market Paperback)

When a mystery author claims her cat as coauthor, it's a fairly safe bet that the team won't be producing disturbing psychological thrillers or hard-edged legal procedurals. And indeed, Rita Mae Brown and her cat, Sneaky Pie, have carved out a comfortable niche for themselves in the cozy category, spinning tales (Rest in Pieces; Murder, She Meowed; Cat on the Scent) around the goings-on in Crozet, a small Virginia town where everyone knows everyone else and recipes and gossip are exchanged over the post office counter. Mary Minor Haristeen ("Harry") is Crozet's postmistress and the proud owner of two cats, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and one corgi, Tee Tucker--animals with an uncanny ability to sniff out secrets and hidden motives as well as mice and roast beef.

Pawing Through the Past capitalizes on the myriad subtle relationships that form the backbone of small-town culture, and which Brown and Sneaky Pie have carefully woven throughout the Mrs. Murphy series. In a nicely appropriate nod to that culture's rivalries and alliances, Brown has chosen a high school reunion--traditional hotbed of simmering unease--as her mise-en-scène. When each member of the Crozet High Class of 1980 receives an anonymous note stating, "You'll never get old," most take it as a joke or a compliment. But when the class womanizer turns up with a bullet between his eyes, and more notes--and more bodies--start appearing, Harry and her menagerie find themselves at the center of a revenge plot 20 years in the making.

Brown's latest is replete with the sly asides that have endeared her to animal lovers--"Cats are by instinct and inclination dedicated anarchists"--and with the naively humorous "conversations" between the animals themselves. When Pewter, watching a team of police officers wrestling a stiff corpse out of a dumpster, wonders, "Why don't they just break his arms and legs?" Murphy replies knowingly, "They'd pass out. Humans are touchy about their dead." Unfortunately, these favorable attributes can't quite mask an incoherent plot, nor Brown's awkwardly pompous social commentary: "By and large, the women looked better than the men, testimony to the cultural pressure for women to fuss over themselves." But Brown's legions of fans will doubtlessly forgive these shortcomings, concentrating instead on the antics of a memorable four-legged and furry trio. --Kelly Flynn

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:57 -0400)

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As Harry Haristeen and her old high school chums make preparations for their twentieth high school reunion, classmates begin to turn up dead, one at a time

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