Rest in Pieces

Harry Haristeen is an amateur detective in the neoclassical mode—Miss Marple without the commitment to professional virginity, but the resemblance ends there. Harry is assisted not only by her friends and neighbors throughout the Virginia countryside but also by her devoted pets. Admittedly, skeptics will insist that attributing the exercise of deductive reasoning to cat and dog is at best “cut” and more than likely a clear indication of incipient mental illness. Such individuals are probably inclined to seek affection from a pet rock and refuse to clap for Tinker Bell.

In any event, Crozet, Virginia is astir with the news that a most eligible bachelor has purchased a long abandoned farm with the intent of establishing residency thereupon. Unfortunately, the arrival of Blair Bainbridge coincides with the appearance of bits and pieces of a dismembered corpse in the most unlikely places. In consequence, Harry and her friends, some of them quite unknown to her, are deep in gore and consumed by a deadly search for truth.

Brown is a consummate chronicler of small-town life in the Upper South, and she continues to effect a fruitful union of anecdotal narrative and enigmatic depiction. REST IN PIECES is a rousing and loving description of a life-style which continues to exist alongside the “blue highways” that curve off the interstate as well as an intriguing mystery calculated to mystify even adept students of the genre. It is to be hoped that Brown’s new audience will find the time to examine her earlier works.