Brown’s Choice for the Purrfect Murder
Happy Monday! Starting off the week with a Monday Mystery. In Rita Mae Brown’s last Mrs. Murphy (my review) the mystery formula was marred by the use of the issue of illegal immigration to make political points that seemed distasteful and out of place in one of my favorite mystery series. So I was a bit anxious on discovering that the new Mrs. Murphy story is framed around the even more volatile issue of abortion, but this time out Ms. Brown has produced a highly entertaining page turner that I literally read in one sitting. Couldn’t put it down.
As The Purrfect Murder opens an obstetrician whose practice includes performing abortions is murdered in his office during normal business hours. A member of a radical “pro-life” group quickly confesses and turns himself in and it seems to be an open and shut case. But then a number of strange things begin happening in Crozet, Virginia and what appear at first to be red herrings lead Sheriff Rick Shaw and Deputy Cynthia Cooper to uncovering and solving several other major crimes plaguing Albermarle county. As always, Harry Harristeen’s cat and dog figure things out long before the humans do And Brown is at her best building up suspenseful chapter after suspenseful chapter luring the reader anxiously to the very clever conclusion.
Fans who swooned when Harry finally re-married her ex-husband, tall handsome equine veterinarian Pharamond “Fair” Harristeen will no doubt be thrilled at the penultimate chapter when Fair rides to Harry’s rescue like a true knight in shining armor when Harry stumbles across the secrets of a crooked building inspector, who in one of those red herring cases turns out to be guilty of fraud, blackmail and rape on a huge scale, a crime totally unrelated to the blackmail of the murdered doctor’s abortion patients that is the centeral crime of this installment. And I am thrilled to say that Brown’s very even-handed and respectful approach to the abortion question allows it simply to be a back drop for the human drama of the story, rather than the off-putting diatribe that the immigration issue proved to be in the last volume.
For fans who have been following Mrs. Murpy all along The Purrfect Murder is definitely a Must Read. And for those who have not previously read this series, this one would as good a place to start. When she doesn’t go off on distracting and divisive political tangents, Rita Mae Brown is a real master of the page turning suspense novel. And this one is as good as they get. Very Highly Recommended.