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Cat's Eyewitness    by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown order for
Cat's Eyewitness
by Rita Mae Brown
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

In this latest adventure featuring Harry Haristeen and her furry family of two cats and a dog Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tucker respectively - Rita Mae Brown delivers another entertaining mystery. On this occasion, Harry is drawn into the situation not only by her own overly-developed bump of curiosity, but also by the anxiety of her best friend.

Susan Tucker's great-uncle is a monk at Mount Carmel, a remote and peaceful monastery. On their first visit, a statue of the Virgin Mary begins to cry blood-red tears. Both Harry and Susan are far from gullible, but the phenomenon is unsettling. Then great-uncle Thomas is found dead, frozen in the snow at the base of the statue. His death is not accidental, and the women's suspicions grow when an exhumation of Thomas's grave reveals an empty coffin. Harry's curiosity will not let her leave the case alone, even without the incentive of Susan's concern. Her investigations reveal much hidden behind the placid front displayed by the brothers at the monastery.

As always, Harry's greatest allies and protectors are her intelligent and resourceful pets. We also see how she is dealing with changes in her own life, and in the lives of her friends. A visit to Crozet, Virginia is a chance to spend time with some very likeable characters, both human and animal. The greatest charm of this series is arguably Harry's non-human family, and the author's liberties in presenting the animal characters are more than forgivable; they are delightfully entertaining.

Because much of the action takes place at Mount Carmel, we see less of Harry's animal friends than usual. Still, Cat's Eyewitness is a pleasant read and vindicates readers' expectations: Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie (her cat) can be counted on for consistently high quality.

2nd Review by Mary Ann Smyth:

In collaboration with Sneaky Pie Brown (a tiger cat), Rita Mae Brown again delights her readers with the fourteenth book in her Virginia series. It's always pleasant to be re-united with Harry and Fair and BoomBoom and Big and Little Mim - and the rest of the inhabitants of Crozet, Virginia.

Harry Haristeen and her best friend Susan Tucker discover that a statue of the Virgin Mary in the grounds of the Monastery of Mount Carmel is crying tears of real blood! The news spreads quickly and the public makes pilgrimages to pray at the statue's base. When Susan's great-uncle Brother Thomas is found frozen in a position of prayer at the Virgin's feet, she and Harry suspect foul play.

Confusion ensues as more deadly happenings follow. Harry simply can't let dead bodies lie and enters into an investigation of her own. With the help of her pets Mrs. Murphy, a tiger cat, Pewter, a grey cat and Tucker, a corgi Harry brings things to a satisfactory ending. It's fun that the animals talk to each other, of course.

Gives us each an idea of maybe what our own animals think of us and of other members of the animal world. There are a lot of references to bible quotations. I'm afraid that is not what I look for in a mystery story but I guess it works for Brown.

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