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The Litter of the Law (2013)

by Rita Mae Brown, Sneaky Pie Brown

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mrs. Murphy Mysteries (22)

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2363889,557 (3.38)18
During an autumn scenic drive in rural Crozet, Virginia, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and husband Fair discover the body of a murdered accountant lying in a cornfield. Rooting out the guilty murderer in the treacherous center of a lucrative conspiracy requires Harry's farmer's wisdom--along with the quick wits and extraordinary senses of Sneaky Pie, Pewter, and Tucker.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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.


I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.
( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
This was a cute murder mystery, with lots of cute animal characters, and a fast read. I wished there had been more scene and less dialogue, since at times the story comes across only in spite of the chatter going on between the characters. This story is light on the mystery anyway, despite having 2 murders. I am still not quite sure why the main characters were expecting a third murder attempt, since there really were no clues that would point to a necessary 3rd murder. the various forensic clues that we are told about are never really followed up on, and the details about the situation with Virginian native tribal groups not being federally recognized seem out of place because that same amount of detail is not really consistent with the style of the novel as a whole. The bits about Virginian tribal grievances and about the abandoned schoolhouses and African-American education prior to desegregation seemed like mini-lectures, not well integrated into the rest of the story. Still, they present an interesting topic. After reading this book and Ellery Adams' [b:Written in Stone|13518651|Written in Stone (A Books by the Bay Mystery #4)|Ellery Adams|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1341795322s/13518651.jpg|19077814] about the Lumbee tribe, also not federally recognized, I am curious about just how many of the minority groups in the US are similarly not recognized by our government. I may have to hunt down some identity politics books soon and read more on this topic. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 30, 2017 |
The Mrs. Murphy series was always one of my favorites. The setting is beautiful Virginia horse country, with great well fleshed out characters, some talking animals and a good mystery at the heart of the story, but unfortunately in recent installments Ms. Brown has chosen to shoe horn her political and social beliefs into every story. Sometimes subtly and sometimes with brute force.
It's become a real turn off and I'm thinking this will be the last time I read one of these books.

( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
A little preachy, as can be expected, but it all tied in with the mystery this time, so at least it was relevant. I like that Cooper is more involved in the stories lately. ( )
  eclecticlibrarian | Nov 3, 2015 |
Not as good as some of the others in the series—typical dilution of wonderfulness as the series progresses—but still a pleasant read. The plot starts out slow, giving historical background for the treatment of Virginia’s Native Americans but once the chase begins no one does it better than Rita Mae Brown. In this story the talking dog and cats don’t add much to the plot but I found their conversations with other animals of interest. I will continue to read this series hoping for more glimpses of the magic I discovered in the early books.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review. ( )
  tehanu | Aug 31, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brown, Rita Maeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brown, Sneaky Piemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Gellatly, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leung, BeverlyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pelvin, DanielCat on the cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Kathleen King
who knows the past is always with us.
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Fair Haristeen, doctor of veterinary medicine, and his wife, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, loved to steal a Saturday and cruise the back roads of central Virginia.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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During an autumn scenic drive in rural Crozet, Virginia, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and husband Fair discover the body of a murdered accountant lying in a cornfield. Rooting out the guilty murderer in the treacherous center of a lucrative conspiracy requires Harry's farmer's wisdom--along with the quick wits and extraordinary senses of Sneaky Pie, Pewter, and Tucker.

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