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A Hiss Before Dying: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery…
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A Hiss Before Dying: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery

by Rita Mae Brown, Sneaky Pie Brown

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is the next book in the series of Harry, the cats and dog, and all their friends. It also continues the trend of the last several books of boing back and forth between a modern setting and the eighteenth Century. The two stories are engaging, but perhaps not as parallel as some of the earlier ones. Those already following the series will want to read this one- but it is not as engaging as some, so new folks might want to start with the earlier books.
  Helenoel | May 10, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is book number 26 in the Mrs Murphy series of mysteries by Rita Mae Brown.

Two bodies are found in the Virginia woods. Of course Harry investigates with a chorus of comments from her two cats and Corgi.

There is also a second storyline from 1786 following the ancestral plantations. This one isn't really a mystery – a body does not appear until almost the end of the book and we find out who it is and what happened in the next chapter.

It's been a while since I read any from this series. I enjoy the cynical remarks by the cats and dog as well as the appearance of Harry's horses as Ms Brown is an accomplished equestrian.

But something has happened to the author since the last time I read one of her books. Ms Brown was known as an activist for blacks and gay rights.

And yet, to me, this book seems like an apology for slavery. Except for one rogue slave owner, the other plantation owners treat their slaves very well and even help runaway slaves. The only person who turns in a runaway slave is a free black who is constantly referred to as “too dumb to understand”. Even the husband of the rogue slave owner takes his wife in hand and does not let her recover her slave when she comes face to face with her.

In the modern story line, Harry is working to preserve a school house that was used originally for the children of slaves (!) and then freed blacks.

And when the mystery is solved, Cooper the investigating policeman, does some white-splaining about how hard it is for the Federal government to protect endangered species since all the Native American tribes have separate treaties about what is necessary for their separate religious practices. “A recipe for disaster” sighs Harry.

Cooper goes on to further explain that a lot of the customers for illegal parts are “Asian, recently moved here, as well as people from parts of the world we regard as primitive.” p334

Ms Brown, it might be time to hang up your word processor. ( )
  streamsong | Dec 8, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It is fall in Virginia and things are gearing up for fall traditions. However, finding dead bodies is not part of the fall fun! Rita Mae Brown again presents a novel that skates back and forth between present and past. As usual, the animals are involved and add to the interest of the novel. I especially like the animal comments at the end of the book. I am sure the flipping between present and past might be a source of confusion for some, but definitely heightens the interest of the novel. ( )
  LadyoftheLodge | Oct 20, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I do enjoy the Sneaky Pie Brown books, especially the ones, like A Hiss Before Dying, that include a parallel story from early America. For me, it's nostalgic since I spent my elementary years in southern Virginia and, of course, learned a lot of American history there. But foremost, the books tell a good story. ( )
  margitc | Sep 11, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This novel holds two stories, set in two very different times -- early America, while the Articles of Confederation were in force, and modern day. There are several pieces that tie the two times together (a slave chit on a modern-day murder victim, for example). Stories are told from the point of view of people and animals (cats, dogs, a bear).

I found the historic story to be much more engaging than the modern day murder mystery. It was very well written, and well researched for historic setting. The modern day story was more disconnected, and a bit of a let-down.

In both times, I found the dialog to be somewhat stilted.

Overall, I found the book to be an enjoyable read, but there were a lot of disjointed pieces that made this less satisfying than it could otherwise be. ( )
  ljbryant | Sep 10, 2017 |
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Rita Mae Brownprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brown, Sneaky Piemain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553392492, Hardcover)

Following Tail Gait and Tall Tail, the beloved Mrs. Murphy series continues with this contemporary mystery involving wild animal poaching, set against a historical narrative that takes place in America’s post-revolutionary past.

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 07 Jan 2017 04:06:54 -0500)

"Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown are back chasing mystery with their unique circle of Southern sleuths. And though the changing colors of fall are a beauty to behold, this year the scattered leaves hide a grim surprise. 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. The echoes of the Shot Heard Round the World pale in comparison to the dangerous shootout Harry narrowly escapes unscathed. Next time, it may be the killer who gets lucky. But not if Harry's furry friends Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tucker can help it. Lending their sharp-nosed talents to the hunt, they'll help their mistress keep more lives from being lost--and right an injustice buried since the early days of America's independence. "As feline collaborators go, you couldn't ask for better than Sneaky Pie Brown."--The New York Times Book Review"-- "A Hiss Before Dying is a current contemporary mystery exploring wild animal poaching counterpointed with a historical narrative set in America's post-revolutionary past, featuring the characters readers embraced in Tail Gait and Tall Tail"--… (more)

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