Tag Archives: feline crime solvers

Tailgating

Tail Gait (Amazon)

Tail Gait: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown (Bantam, $26.00, 307 pages)

“Smartest thing we ever did, separation of church and state, and we can thank Madison for drawing up those Articles for Virginia when we were a colony.” Ginger’s tone brooked no interference, but then the rest agreed on this issue.

Professor Greg “Ginger” McConnell, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Virginia is a tenacious researcher who has been digging into land ownership matters that must be sensitive to someone who wants to keep the past buried. Ginger is the victim of that someone and he’s found dead in the rough of a golf course by several of his former students.

Tail Gait follows two story threads, one set in the Revolutionary War and the other in 2015. The plight of a brave young British soldier captured by the Americans is contrasted with the murder of the history professor. The locale is Rita Mae Brown’s home turf, Virginia.

Typical of Ms. Brown, there are many teaching moments inserted here and there. Readers familiar with the Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries may be disappointed that the feline Mrs. Murphy and her furry friends are not more prominently featured in the solution to Ginger’s murder.

The two story threads seem unrelated until more than halfway through the book. The reader is left wondering when, if ever, Ms. Brown will get to the point. The writing in both threads is sadly uneven. This reviewer needed to reread passages for clarification. This work is far below the standard earlier set by Brown; thus, it’s not engaging or entertaining. If there’s another book in the series, let’s hope that Mrs. Murphy is returned to her starring role!

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

You can read a review of Cat Striking Back: A Joe Grey Mystery by Shirley Rousseau Murphy here:

https://josephsreviews.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/cat-striking-back/

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Cat Striking Back

Cat Striking Back: A Joe Grey Mystery by Shirley Rousseau Murphy (William Morrow, $19.99, 336 pages)

If you enjoy the mysteries of Rita Mae Brown, this book is a must-read tale.   The plot revolves around Joe, Dulcie and Kit, three cats who speak to their human parents and sometimes unsuspecting people.   The cats are definitely a cut above Sneaky Pie Brown and Pewter.   The setting is Molina Point, a fictitious town along the California coast that seems to be a blend of Carmel and Morro Bay.

The story opens as Joe sniffs out a murder scene that is missing a corpse.   He’s returning from a successful hunting trip with mice dangling by their tails from his tightly clenched teeth.   After gifting the mice to a friend, he springs into action as the anonymous telephone tipster to the Molina Point Police Department.

The sleuthing by Joe, his buddies and a clowder of feral cats from the hills is supplemented by the police chief, his wife and the other human parents.   Warning, the murderer talks to himself but does not use the victim’s proper name, which may give the reader cause to reread chapters to figure out who was the victim and who committed the crime!

Highly recommended.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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