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Catch As Cat Can    by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown order for
Catch As Cat Can
by Rita Mae Brown
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Catch As Cat Can is but one of Rita Mae Brown's many works co-authored with her cat Sneaky Pie Brown. Sneaky is pretty clever and speaks for the animals in the books: Tucker, a Welsh Corgi; Mrs. Murphy, a gray tiger cat; and tailless Pewter, a Manx cat. Sneaky also speaks for various and sundry other wild creatures: an owl, a large rat, an opossum, as well as small barn mice.

Yes, there are also humans in these charming books. The threesome's mother Mary Minor Harry Haristeen, is the postmistress of Crozet, a small community in the hunt country of Virginia. Crime seems to abound in the area, which challenges Harry who is somewhat of an amateur sleuth. The local people are delightful, with their share of the faults that make them who they are. But a young man with a shady background found hanging in the woods is not at all delightful. Then an area businessman has the bad luck to fall over dead at a ball. A third death occurs - a bullet to the head - while the sheriff and his deputy Cynthia scramble to find clues.

Of course, Harry and her detecting pets are right in the middle of the action. This cozy's plot is well thought out and well written. I enjoyed the stories within the story, such as Harry's ex-husband who is constantly trying to win back her hand. And there is Miranda's change of lifestyle now that romance in the form of a widower has claimed her widowed heart. I love Big Mim and Little Mim and their effect on the community. There's something for everyone in Catch As Cat Can.

I am familiar with that part of the Blue Ridge Mountains where Crozet lies. The descriptive phrases on the countryside and the flowering trees and shrubs, while lavish, cannot do them justice. One must travel there in spring to see for oneself - which I am happy to say I have done. Worth the effort. Especially the ride over the mountain to Charlottesville. The illustrations by Michael Gellatly are enchanting, fun, and well executed, giving the reader a welcome visualization of the pets involved.

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