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Murder at Monticello (Mrs. Murphy #3)
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Murder at Monticello (Mrs. Murphy #3)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  3,460 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
Mrs. Murphy digs into Virginia historyâ”and gets her paws on a killer.

The most popular citizen of Virginia has been dead for nearly 170 years. That hasn't stopped the good people of tiny Crozet, Virginia, from taking pride in every aspect of Thomas Jefferson's life. But when an archaeological dig of the slave quarters at Jefferson's home, Monticello, uncovers a shocking se
Mass Market Paperback, 284 pages
Published October 1995 by Bantam Books (first published 1994)
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Mar 30, 2008 Chelsea rated it did not like it
Shelves: 3-mystery
!?! Tacitly apologizing for slavery (paraphrasing: "today the races are so far apart, but under Jefferson they were so close!")? Defending Jefferson's ever-so-tender slave-owning practices? Suggesting that the Hemings women were promiscuous? What was Brown smoking when she wrote this?

Rita Mae, I'd suggest that the reason the races were so "close" during slavery was that one was beaten to death if it didn't do what the other insisted. Sexual acts included.
Murder at Monticello is not a favorite of mine in the Mrs. Murphy series. In fact so far it's my least favorite. I pick up this series when I need light, easy reading and simple, enjoyable characters. So I was disappointed that this story didn't feature the characters (human and animals) as strongly as the previous two books. It was very much focused on the mystery, which wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't so confusing. If you're particularly knowledgeable/interested in American History and ...more
May 28, 2011 M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murder-mysteries
They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but let's face it...we all do it. Sometimes we are disappointed, sometimes we are pleasantly surprised.

This is case of "pleasantly surprised." I knew there would be talking animals, but that didn't faze me. Anyone who has a cat or a dog has long realized that their intelligence is great, although very different from that of human beings. The real surprise was the depth of the human characters in this book. Brown magnificently creates a cast of charac
Somewhat boring, but also confusing in regards to characters. It was a short lite mystery but the 'cast of characters' page in the beginning is not pretentious, I found it necessary while thinking that it should not have been.
The story seems to offer excuses for marital infidelity and for the sexual use of black women in slavery by white men. I think the author is against those things but messages seem morally wishy-washy, as if the author has an opinion but is willing to try to explain the immo
Sep 12, 2014 Delonna rated it liked it
I'm giving this three stars because there were two things I really didn't care for in this book. One, adultery takes place throughout most of the story. I've read books where adultery might be mentioned and that's the end of it, but when it's written how the adulterers are meeting up in secret and the affair keeps going on, it's a little much for me. I'm very sensitive to mates cheating on each other. Two, I had an extremely difficult time keeping all the names straight! It was insane! The story ...more
May 08, 2014 Betty rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books
The Harry and friends are investigating a murder that occurred in the 1800s at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home. Archaeology of the slave housing is occurring and a body is found under the foundations. The cold case is well written and interesting and how relates to present. Mrs Murphy, Tucker and Pewtor are secondary characters to the main plot.
Peggy Sinden
Dec 27, 2016 Peggy Sinden rated it really liked it
Everything you ever wanted to know about Thomas Jefferson and more. The book centers on Monticello the family home of Mr. Jefferson and a two hundred year old unsolved murder. It takes a village to track the body found in a slave's house to the family ties deepest secret until now. When the truth comes out it involves all the families connected together by near and far relationships. Add in a cat by the name of Mrs. Murphy, Pewter her fat cat friend and Tucker the family Corgi. Ever wonder what ...more
Harry Addington
Jan 13, 2017 Harry Addington rated it really liked it
Good cozy mystery with both human and cats and dogs solving the mystery.
Roxana Griffith
Oct 16, 2016 Roxana Griffith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rita-mae-brown
Not through them all yet.
Molly Cline
Aug 01, 2015 Molly Cline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is book 3 of this series however you DO NOT have to read these in order; but I feel you could understand everyone's relationships better if you at least read the first book in this series as it explains who every one is and who everyone is within the community. I had to skip book 2 and read this one and I was a little 'lost' as to 'why' the main character had help now in the post office and when did she get a horse farm? But those aren't 'major' issues and was probably addressed in book 2. ...more
Jul 22, 2011 Amanda rated it did not like it
On the upside, this book is very easy to read, and I did make it all the way to the end.

However, it was so difficult to get into. First of all, the character names are utterly ridiculous. Who can take characters seriously when they have names like Nick Nichols and Market Shiftlet? Who names a cat Mr. or Mrs. anything? Additionally, the characters' personalities were about as appealing as their names. Mary "Harry" Minor Haristeen is the typical feminist cookie cutter woman, who doesn't need a man
Mar 09, 2016 Alicia rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
This installment of the Mrs. Murphy series was disappointing. I like reading long series because you get to see the characters grow and change over time. However, in this book, some of the characters did a complete 180 from the last two books. I hate when an author gives up on continuity because they changed their minds about who their characters should be.

I doubt that the things that bothered me would bother a casual reader of the series who is not reading in order, but I like reading books in
Sep 26, 2016 Brandi rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book. It has more detail involving family trees which can be a bit confusing if you read too much into it. But it stayed with the style of the series.
Jul 14, 2013 Ferne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in genealogy.
I am appreciative of American history and the study of genealogy and that combined appreciation is the only reason I continued to read this book. If asked about my favorite parts of this book, I would have to applaud and point out the beautiful illustrations by Wendy Wray and hope the individual that asked the question really listened that I mentioned not a word about the writing. Perhaps my expectations were too high following so many delightful reads about the characters of thoughtful Jim Qwil ...more
Colleen Morgan
Oct 27, 2015 Colleen Morgan rated it really liked it
I've been really enjoying this series. The little town where everyone knows everyone, and nothing ever happens except for the murders which take place in each book. Who couldn't love rooting for a smart-ass cat and a dippy welsh corgi to save the day?! If only their owner would learn to speak their language!

I really do enjoy these books. I wouldn't be on #3 if I didn't.

But this one did irritate me a bit with all the Thomas Jefferson proselytizing. When all the native Southern characters got in
Sep 14, 2016 Jeanne rated it liked it
Language was better than the first book I read. The story line was also good, but wandered a bit more than it should have. The story line was complex, but not as tightly woven as it could have been.
Nov 26, 2010 Nancy rated it liked it
Other than hope that this series will improve I don’t know why I keep reading. Every book is the same, the human characters are slow and the animals save the day. Really? At no time in Crozet, Virginia can you find a smart human?

I have never read these books in order, but then again, I don’t think that it is a requirement. The characters stay the same, the animals stay the same, only small portions of the locale seem to differentiate the books.

This time the reader is taken to Thomas Jefferson’s
Sep 12, 2014 Laura rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
The best part about this book was the history behind Monticello (which I hope was accurate because I knew nothing of Monticello before this book).

The worst part was the current day who-dun-it. I have a serious difficult time keeping these characters straight. A few stood out as identified individuals, but then they'd die. It felt like such a waste getting to know someone who died when I could have been spending time on figuring out who the alive people in the town were. In the end, they find th
I had very mixed feelings about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the rationales of the historic and current crimes mirroring each other, and I found the topic of interracial relationships (both past and present) very intriguing. It seemed that the book started off with an attempt to dissect a serious issue while we enjoyed a fun animal filled mystery along the way. The story, however, never seemed to answer any of the questions it raised. I suppose maybe that was the point? Additionally, I kept e ...more
May 31, 2016 Marty rated it liked it
The story revolves around a body that was found during the restoration - buried under the hearth of a slave cabin. The man was well dressed, had money in his pocket, and was probably white. He had been murdered, hit on the back of his skull with a triangle shaped instrument. The event happened around 1803, when Jefferson was president. (newest coins in his pocket were dated 1803.) Could they solve an old murder? Was there a connection to today? – A special feature of this book (and of all Sneaky ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 28, 2014 Liora rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
Enjoyable mystery with Mary "Harry" Haristeen and her pet companions, Mrs. Murphy and Mrs. Tucker. This one begins with the discovery of hidden skeletal remains in a slave cabin at Monticello that seem to indicate a murder from the early 1800s, but the story moves steadily to a current murder with a twisted array of motives that work themselves out one by one. I liked the main characters, the central Virginia small town setting, the talking pets, and the mystery itself with its ties to the colon ...more
Laurel Bradshaw
Mar 29, 2016 Laurel Bradshaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audiobook, cats
Reread on audio.

Not a review. These notes are for my own reference and may contain spoilers!

Crozet, Virginia and the Monticello estate. Springtime. At least a year after last book as it mentions Harry is now in the third year since her divorce. She is said to be in her mid-30s.

Fair and Harry are on good terms, and they are going out together (movies) as friends.

Blair Bainbridge is away on a photo-shoot in Africa.

The Rev. Herbert Jones has a new cat Lucy-fur.

Fair and Mim give Harry a new horse -
May 10, 2010 Jaime rated it did not like it
Shelves: cozy_mystery, 2010
My second disappointing book in a row! What a bummer. I liked learning a little bit about Monticello and Thomas Jefferson, but the book was a little too focused on it. I read this series for the personal danger that faces the citizens of Crozet and how they come together to deal with it, and a mystery from 1803 didn’t do it for me. You do get that sense of danger eventually, but it’s past the halfway point of the book. And while I don’t normally mind the commentary offered by Mrs. Murphy, Tucker ...more
Paul Lunger
Dec 06, 2011 Paul Lunger rated it really liked it
From 1994 comes an installment in this series that's part historical fact & part historical fiction. The primary mystery involves the discovery of a skeleton beneath the hearth during an excavation at Monticello. From this point onward our cast of characters embark on a quest to uncover exactly what is behind this mystery from 1803. There's also a secondary murder that involves a jilted lover that almost feels like a bit of filler if only to add an element to what isn't entirely a bad plot b ...more
Feb 11, 2012 Audree rated it it was amazing
i LOVE this series!!! it has talking cats, but it's still GOOD WRITING!! i think this is the 1st book in the series that i read and i was HOOKED after that. i LOVE the characters. it takes place in the South, which i seem attracted to (mostly) and the author frequently interjects a bit of history of the south, which i find interesting.
who would have ever thought?!! i hated history as a student. but if history were presented in schools in the form of a STORY rather than textbook reading and memor
Jun 09, 2012 Susan rated it liked it
Murder at the Monticello was a fun, exciting, and quick read. This book is not the first that I had read from Brown in her Mrs. Murphy series, but it has been a while since I had read one. Harry is the perfect leading character along with her animal friends, Mrs. Murphy and Tucker, and all three do a great job in detecting the truth about the book's mystery. I like how Brown includes some great secondary characters both human and animal (showing the family like network of both groups) that add t ...more
Ryan Mishap
Dec 21, 2008 Ryan Mishap rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-crime
I don't remember which one was first.

At first, I liked these silly little mysteries set in the South of the U.S.--genteel Southerners in a quirky little town who love their horses and whatnot. Oh, and two cats and a dog are thinking, acting characters. Since I like the fantasy, I'm not embarrassed to read such trifles and the first few mysteries are fun.
As they go on, though, there is a sort of sympathy to the conservative, Southern view that reveres oppressive or malign traditions of their p
Mar 21, 2015 Marti rated it liked it
With the setting and of course the Thomas Jefferson connection, this book at least tangentially qualifies as historical fiction. Had I not read a later Mrs. Murphy that I absolutely hated, I probably would have read this book higher. It was a quick read and even had some thought-provoking parts. In a nutshell, there was a racial component and the overall theme was about how things that happened a very long time ago can come back to haunt people in much later times. I will say that Ms. Brown is a ...more
May 05, 2009 Samantha rated it it was ok
Recommended to Samantha by: Judy Ward!
Okay. I love the Mrs. Murphy murder mystery series, but this one was a little...dry. Perhaps it was the subject matter or maybe it was the 'walk-on' characters, but this installment was just 'okay.' A murdered, centuries-old skeleton is uncovered at an archeological dig at Monticello and, as would be expected, Harry, Mrs. Murphy and Tee Tucker jump right into the thick of things to save the day and, as usual, things get a little hairy! (HA! Hairy. Harry. Cats. Dogs. Get it!? It's lost sleep...ig ...more
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Rita Mae Brown is a prolific American writer, most known for her mysteries and other novels (Rubyfruit Jungle). She is also an Emmy-nominated screenwriter.

Brown was born illegitimate in Hanover, Pennsylvania. She was raised by her biological mother's female cousin and the cousin's husband in York, Pennsylvania and later in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Starting in the fall of 1962, Brown attended the Un
More about Rita Mae Brown...

Other Books in the Series

Mrs. Murphy (1 - 10 of 26 books)
  • Wish You Were Here (Mrs. Murphy, #1)
  • Rest in Pieces (Mrs. Murphy #2)
  • Pay Dirt (Mrs. Murphy, #4)
  • Murder, She Meowed (Mrs. Murphy, #5)
  • Murder on the Prowl (Mrs. Murphy, #6)
  • Cat on the Scent (Mrs. Murphy #7)
  • Pawing Through the Past (Mrs. Murphy, #8)
  • Claws and Effect (Mrs. Murphy, #9)
  • Catch as Cat Can  (Mrs. Murphy, #10)
  • The Tail of the Tip-Off  (Mrs. Murphy, #11)

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