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    Review of WHISKER OF EVIL by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown (see their website)


    Bantam Books, April 2004

    Virginia Postmistress Harry Haristeen is used to finding dead bodies but still, this one comes as a shock. She finds the dying horse-breeder as he breaths his last gasps. Although the wound looks like an animal bite, there are no footprints nearby and Harry is suspicious. When rabies is found in the dead man's brain, she realizes that the case is more than simply a random killing. Because Americans don't get rabies much--there hasn't been a single rabies death for years. The odds of one victim also being murdered seem too low. Harry's chance finding of the ring from a long-vanished neighbor makes her look for a connection. The neighbor was a horse-breeder, too.

    Harry's cats (Mrs. Murphy and Pewter) along with corgi Tucker, do most of the detective work, but Harry and ex-husband Fair manage to do some serious investigation as well. The rabies scare raises another issue, though. Harry has long worked her post office job along with her pets. The animal control officer comes down hard and Harry wonders if she needs a life change. Fair is willing--he's wanted to renew their marriage for several years now, but Harry is afraid to take the chance and afraid to owe anything to anybody.

    Fans of nature, horse-breeding, and Virginia will find WHISKER OF EVIL a treat. The animals don't push technical limits the way they do in some stories but do show the intelligence and loyalty that most of us pet-owners know they have even if the scientists tell us we're wrong. Author Rita Mae Brown, assisted by her own cat, Sneaky Pie Brown (see more reviews of novels by this writing team) writes a smooth and interesting story with plenty of local color. The characters in WHISKER are deeply religious but seem attached to a Christianity that preaches tolerance rather than hatred of those who are different--fortunately for the one gay character who is also a suspect in the murder of the long-vanished neighbor.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 4/15/04

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