“The Big Cat Nap” (Bantam Books Hardcover, $26) is the 20th anniversary edition of Rita Mae Brown and feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown's Mrs. Murphy Mystery series.
As usual, they have a murder to solve. Mary Minor Haristeen, known as Harry, and her veterinarian husband, Fair, enjoy the farming life in Crozet, Va. Former postmistress Harry has many friends. But her closest companions are her two cats, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and her corgi, Tucker.
When Harry's friend, Miranda, has a minor car accident and is directed by Latigo Bly of Safe and Sound insurance company to ReNu, a collision repair company owned by Victor Gatzembizi, Harry feels uneasy.
Later, Harry takes the Rev. Jones to pick up his truck at ReNu and discovers one of the mechanics beaten to death with a tire iron. Then Harry's good friend Franny Howard, who sells tires, is robbed of about $20,000 in tires.
Could there be a connection between the murder and the robbery? When another body turns up, Harry ignores the advice of friends and soon is knee-deep into the investigation, with the help of her furry pals.
While it wasn't hard to figure out who the bad guys were in this light mystery, the illustrations by Michael Gellatly added a lot to the book.
— Betty Lytle