Thursday, September 4, 2008

Santa Clawed-Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown

Santa Clawed
Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown
Bantam, Nov 2008, $25.00
ISBN: 9780553807066

With the Christmas holidays arriving soon, life seems comfy in Crozet, Virginia; a place where all sorts of animals talk to each across species lines. The only ones who don’t understand the inter-animal communication system are the dumb humans. Although Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen thinks she can sometimes comprehend what her pets are saying especially her two cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and to a lesser degree her corgi Tee Tucker.

Harry and her husband Fair are looking for a Christmas tree at a farm run by The Brothers of Love, a group dedicated to helping AIDS patients at their hospice. When they reach the monks’ tree farm near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Harry and Fair are stunned to find the dead body of Brother Christopher, who joined the monastery soon after he left jail. He was sent there for insider trading bilking clients for millions. When a second monk is found murdered, his throat slashed similar in a way to Christopher’s death with a coin also in his mouth, the police know they are dealing with a cold blooded killer. Harry and her animal caretakers investigate only to find her caught in a web by a predator willing to make the Yuletide season blood red.

Obviously similar to previous tales in the long running saga, anyone who appreciates a pick me up filled with humor and murder will want to read SANTA CLAWED. Although Harry and Fair remarried they are still honeymooning while finding corpses decorating trees. The animals do what they do best one claw make that clue at a time while trying to keep their meddling beloved owner safe from her actions that place her in danger. The mystery is fun as the killer is in plain sight but difficult to identify. Team Brown provides another enjoyable Harry and her PUSS ‘N CAHOOTS anthropomorphic whodunit.

Harriet Klausner