Puss 'n Cahoots (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries) (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries (Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – 29 Jan 2008
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About the Author
Rita Mae Brownis the bestselling author of the Sneaky Pie Brown series; the Sister Jane series;"A Nose for Justice"and"Murder Unleashed; Rubyfruit Jungle; In Her Day;"and"Six of One, "as well as several other novels. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia.
Sneaky Pie Brown, a tiger cat born somewhere in Albemarle County, Virginia, was discovered by Rita Mae Brown at her local SPCA. They have collaborated on numerous Mrs. Murphy mysteries in addition to"Sneaky Pie s Cookbook for Mystery Lovers"and"Sneaky Pie for President.""
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The wonderful warm characters have lost their charm, the "mysteries" have become flat and nonexistent, and the books have been weighted down with too much technical information.
Ms. Brown also has begun using her books as a soapbox for her many opinions. While it is interesting to find out an author's views, she goes on and on...and on. A case in point, there is a brief mention in this book about steroids in show animals, then she goes on...and on...about wanting steroids legalized for human athletes. As a mother I am appalled. As an avid reader; I think, "What the heck has this to do with the story?" A little hint--absolutely nothing!
The truth is that, with every installment in this series, the amount of political/social/economic diatribe placed in the characters' mouths increases, while the quality and quantity of the underlying mystery declines. If differing opinions were intelligently discussed and debated through the mouths of the characters, if there were any subtlety and nuance in the thinking, it might be a bit more digestible (if still mostly off track and pure filler), but here, incredibly, all the characters always seem to agree. By this installment, the characters have indeed lost their charm and their personality. They are merely mouthpieces that allow the author to endlessly grind away at her own pet issues. Whether you agree or not with her positions, all the haranguing disrupts the flow of the story and distracts the reader.
Unfortunately, since the writing keeps drawing attention to itself, it's also clear to me it isn't as good as it used to be, which may actually mean nothing more than that the quality of the editing has declined. There are too many sentences that have to be read over because they contain an ambiguity, or that beg to be read over because poor word order makes them say something that actually sounds kind of funny. And at one point, in a brief observation about how people in a relationship often independently dress alike, the point is totally blown by the fact that the text leaves out necessary information on the woman's shirt or blouse, so the comparison doesn't gel -- any good editor should have caught this with his/her eyes closed. Maybe everyone involved is just in too much of a rush to get the next annual installment out and collect the money.
I agree with earlier reviewers that this series is in decline. It's really too bad the entire enterprise seems to be resting on the laurels earned by the earliest installments. When I devote my very precious reading time to a book, I want the writing to be frictionless so I'm free to be totally absorbed by and lost in the story. What I don't want is to have the writing itself constantly intrude on and push me out of the story, to the point where over and over I all of a sudden realize I've stopped reading and instead am thinking, "Wow, is this ever irritating (or badly worded, or whatever)!"
If the plots have been getting a bit thin (the motives for mayhem, uncovering of perps, etc.) there were all the great characters in Harry's world. Best of all there were always the canine and feline friends, not to mention the birds, and the snake in the barn.
This latest book has nothing to offer. Concerning the plot, I neither got to know, much less care about, the murderer and murderee. While the setting was in a unique environment, what I learned about it was minimal.
The characters trail here and there not doing much of anything. Harry herself has become a sleepwalker. Newly remarried, she and Fair, though placed in a motel at times, behave like a couple of siblings. Couldn't Rita Mae have at least hinted at some passion between them? Like maybe have the critters discuss why it's taking so long for mom and dad to have that shower together? (I know things have gotten bad when I can think up a better scene than the writer!!)
Harry vows to find a missing pin but never does. She's also just one of the gang of onlookers at the dead bodies rather than the solver of the mysteries. She does so little that she's never in a position for her pets to need to warn or rescue her.
Even those darling animals just trail around. Their fussing at one another is half-hearted and repetitious. The treatment of Mrs. Nasty at the end seems a bit gratuitous.
I remember the fun of the earlier books. (Like that memorable scene when the wee creatures actually drive a pick-up to save Harry.) I had hopes that the conclusion of this one would have a scene with the monkey, a snake, and the villian converging to hurt Harry and the gang coming to save her.
No such luck.
While this was not my first disappointment with Rita Mae, it's the first time I thought that there was absolutely nothing here to keep it from being a complete waste of my time. I don't think I'm going to risk that happening again.