Murder, She Meowed

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

There is no doubt about it: Living in Crozet, Virginia, poses a significant risk to good health. First one man is killed, then another, followed by a man and a woman, the attempted murder of another woman, and a threat to the well-being of a third woman. Admittedly, the murders of the first two, both jockeys and both connected with a previous crime, are not connected with the death of the next two victims. They are the local suppliers for the ubiquitous drug industry that infects even relatively affluent rural areas in these modern times. However, even though unconnected—in fact their bodies will not be discovered until after MURDER, SHE MEOWED is concluded—their deaths are still part of the lengthy list of individuals to meet a violent end in Crozet.

Mary Minor Haristeen, Mrs. Murphy and Tee Tucker are up to their duck boots and paws, respectively, in a homicidal situation that is twenty years in the making. Not that Harry and her animal friends are aware of the deep roots. All they know for certain is that someone is killing, or trying to kill, steeplechase riders. Needless to say, Mrs. Murphy’s nose for intrigue puts her and Tee Tucker one up on their human companion, but that is to be expected. Harry is simply not equipped to interrogate horses and barn mice. Still, Harry does contribute directly to the solution of the mystery and thus earns a proper reward from L. L. Bean.

Brown and her feline co-author push the animal aspect in this series closer to center stage in this volume in terms of contribution as well as in the variety of creatures involved. Indeed, much in the manner of adults in the Charlie Brown comic strip, humans are the frame within which the animals operate.