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Whisker of Evil (Mrs. Murphy, #12)
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Whisker of Evil (Mrs. Murphy #12)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,632 ratings  ·  73 reviews
A mysterious death in a Virginia farm town has the locals scratching their heads—while frisky feline Mrs. Murphy and her friends, fat-cat Pewter and corgi Tee Tucker, uncover clues as they curl their way around a cold-blooded killer.

This balmy summer in Crozet, Virginia, postmistress Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen has a lot to think about. Things have been pretty cozy betwee...more
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Published March 30th 2004 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,364)
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Yvonne
I've always loved this series. Everything I love about cozies is involved - animals (particularly cats), a good mystery, a small town and great characters. I've come to love the people of Crozet from Mrs. Murphy to Pewter to Tucker to their "mom" Harry (the rest of the town isn't bad either).

The only problem I had is that the audio version is a bit more difficult for me to focus on then the printed book. I'm not sure if I'll try the next book as an audio or read it instead. I might give the nex...more
Felicity
Jan 21, 2008 Felicity rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one. Ever.
Recommended to Felicity by: Redacted to protect the overly accepting
This is, I believe, the worst book I have ever finished. A full catalog of its crimes would take several pages, but I shall try to restrain myself.

It is written in cliche-ridden, awkward English that is often incorrect; its characters are thinly drawn and tiresome, and its heroine verges on Mary-Sueism, so competent, virtuous, and beautiful is she. After all, if she cared about dressing well, she'd be the prettiest gal in town, and her blond, muscular, broad-chested veterinarian ex-husband wants...more
Sanya Weathers
I actually like cozies, you know? And as befits any reader who cut her teeth on Valdemar, talking horsies (and kitties, and doggies) don't annoy me. I also sympathize with any author whose series goes on for longer than she may have originally planned or ever dares to hope.

This one was actually pretty good. Better than Tail of the Tip Off, for damn sure. /shudder

Where this one really loses its fourth star and barely clung to its third for me was the constant, CONSTANT political whining about how...more
Marije
This was not for me.
It may be due to the fact that I read this book on its own, I didn't know it was part of a series. But still there were too many things to dislike about this book.

1. The plot was slow and predictable. Too many uninteresting details about horses. I get it, it needed to be explained since the crime concerned horsetrade, but first of all, that should not be clear from the start, and second, a good writer would work those facts in in a more natural and less pedantic style.

2. The...more
Amanda
I sense that Rita Mae Brown was growing bored with the series at this point. Part of that suspicion is the major life changes she throws at the characters. Even though I consider this series total fluff (talking cats, dogs, mice, etc? Total fluff, but just what I need sometimes), at some point even here some character development is a good thing. But in this installment, it's not just that that hints to boredom. It's been increasingly sneaking in as the series goes on, but this book was as of ye...more
Samantha
I think it may be a time to take a nice, long break from the adventures of Harry, Mrs. Murphy, Tee Tucker and Pewter. For one, they're getting a little preachy of the "country life is the only life worth living" opinion. I get it. It's great. Now back off! Don't shove it down my throat!

This installment finds Harry and the gang happening upon a man who is drawing his dying breath after having had his throat ripped out by an animal? A person? And he tested positive for rabies?! After a legnthy te...more
Knight
I've liked most of the Sneaky Pie Brown books; in any series some are better than others. That's why I was surprised to read the negative comments about this book and the series.

I listened to the audio book on a long car drive. Being light reading, it was a good companion. I liked the reader, too. And now I'm going to read the book. Me, compulsive? NOooo.

The Commenter named Felicity mentioned bad grammar; perhaps I missed that because audio "reading" is more like conversation and I'm much more f...more
Christine
This book was a gift from my boyfriend, as advised by his mother, and I really wanted to like it, but this book is just overall disappointing.

It has a very old-lady-esque feel to it... The animals being a part of the mystery solving has charm, I suppose, but the slow pace, drinking tea, dislike of city folk, and general cat lady-ness makes me believe that only lonely old ladies would find this book enjoyable.

Plot-wise, the story was unimpressive. There were so many characters, it was impossible...more
Holli
I read all of the Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries. Even though they contain talking animals, they aren’t silly like some mystery series. I also enjoy the southern setting and the relationships between the characters. They are fun books, good entertainment for me. This one had a few twists, Harry’s resignation from the post office and her “reawakening affection” for Fair. I wonder where Harry will be in the next book . . . .

From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Brown (The Tale of the Tip-off, etc.) and h...more
Pearl Drolet
In the small central Virginia town of Crozet, animals speak to each other and understand what humans say even though those dumb Homo Sapiens can't understand the animals. Mary "Harry" Haristeen loves her two cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter and her dog Tee Tucker who she treats as if they were her children. They feel the same way about her and many a time they saved her life when she was in the middle of a homicide investigation.
One day while Harry is taking a walk in the woods she comes across horse...more
Oceana2602
Ok, I'm going to do a standard review for the rest of the Mrs. Murphy books I read, because I really can't think of something smart to say about every single one of them. Actually, it's hard to come up with something smart to say about any one of them, because they are not really smart books.

Though, no, that's not true. They aren't trivial as such, they aren't too easy - or, in other words, they don't hurt my brain while I read them. But I think we can all agree that they are also not "great li...more
Ruth
I checked this audiobook out several months ago to listen to on my way to/from work. However, I soon discovered that I am way too sleepy (mornings) or brain dead (evenings) to listen to audio books most days. I managed to make it about halfway through the book before I had to return it. (Someone else had requested it.) So, then I checked out a paper copy of the book, and finished the rest.

This book was an interesting read/listen. There are LOTS of characters, and it was difficult for me to keep...more
Genie
The story begins with Mary Minor "Harry" Harristeen, postmistress of tiny Crozet, Virginia, coming across a dying man whose throat has been slashed. A major complication is that he also had rabies. While checking out the crime scene, Harry finds a ring that belonged to a long-missing woman. The question is: are the two cases connected and if so, how? Many interconnected puzzles begin to unfold with one of the strangest being the disappearance of a famous studhorse. As an addition to the story, B...more
Paul Lunger
"Whisker of Evil" is one of the longer & yet better done books in the Rita Mae Brown series. In this entry from 2004, we start with the discovery of Barry Monteith who has been killed apparently by a wild animal & delve much further into paranoia & other things when the cause of death appears to be rabies. The story also deals with a 2nd murder of Mary Pat Reine who disappeared along with her horse 30 years ago. Brown does a very good job with characters both human & animal &...more
Jules
I had read previously that this series isn't quite as good in the later books. I have to agree that this one isn't as strong as others I have read.[return][return]Of course, Rita Mae Brown is such a fabulous writer that though this book isn't up to the caliber of some of her earlier works, it still is great writing and an interesting mystery.[return][return]Over the years the characters do continue to grow and change. The animal characters don't so much evolve, but she adds new ones into the mix...more
Donna LaValley
Many years ago I read two books of this series, and was somewhat underwhelmed then, as well. Maybe it was because at that time I was so enjoying "The Cat Who..." series, and also discovering Maeve Binchy and Dorothy Gilman 2 favorite authors). I'm afraid Rita Mae Brown's series didn't have a chance with me at that time. Giving it another try was, unfortunately, a confirmation that this series and these characters don't resonate. In this book, one learns about horse breeding and a lot about rabie...more
Madeline Benoit
While the Sneaky Pie series isn't exactly going to win any awards, I love the simplicity and simple guilty pleasures of these books. Fast and easy to read mystery with a focus on horses and talking animals? I'll take it. Whisker of Evil provided a great afternoon of entertainment as I sat cozily inside during a pet sitting gig. While many have complaints that Rita Mae Brown's Sneaky Pie series is too "cutesy" and "contrite", I think they're taking the books far, far too seriously. Call me easy t...more
Marji Laine
It's been about 2 years since I read these, so I'm not sure I've pegged the correct one for this review. Since I seldom dislike books, I felt I needed to explain my low rating for this one. I'm not spoiling the ending by telling who the culprit is, but I will say how disappointed I was that the murderer got clean away! Even though the proof was there in front of the authorities, the criminal was left to live rich and untouched. I kept thinking I would read in a later book that the beast was take...more
Kim
Horse breeding ... in detail. Learned lots!
Jennifer Parent
What I loved about this book: that it was in a south-central rural area, lots of discussion about horses and breeding, and scenes with only the animal characters. What was disappointing: the reading as lackluster. I may read another book in this series but I won't listen to another one by the same reader.

I have just started this book-on-CD; selected it because it is co-authored and co-stars a cat. How bad can that be? Although it is a little slow getting started, but that may be he southern aspe...more
Janet
I have read enough of these to know that many of the animals have their own conversations and that often they have clues to the finale because of their superior eyesight, hearing and sense of smell. That said, this entry into the series added in talking broodmares, talking foxes, more talking mice, and they generally talked about little that had to do with advancing the overall storyline. The basic plot (rabies in human and a missing woman) was good, but this book needed serious editing.
Bonnie
Talking animals who know much more than the humans.
A laid back southern town.
Lots of information on horse breeding.
Even more information on rabies.
A murder... or two... or three...
A romance... or two...

Makes for a cozy mystery to knit to.

It's been a long time since I read a Mrs Murphy mystery and must say I wasn't disappointed. This was a fun, light listen. Nice to find out what the Crozet, VA community has been doing since I last read about them many years ago.
Natalie
This is one of the later books...some of the changes in the characters lives made it difficult to go back and read the earlier books again...I should have waited. Usually I look at the order they were published before reading a large number of the same author to avoid this problem.
Charming animals and believable characters make it fun to read. This one had a few more political opinions regarding gay rights but I skimmed and it did not spoil the book for me.
Devin
Like all of the books before it I do enjoy the adventures of Harry, Mrs. Murphy, and Tucker. However, the last book and this one seem to be more political than the ones before it. More moaning about how terrible progress is and how horrible life is if you don't live on a farm. Not that I can't understand her perspective but it drags the story down a bit. Other than that I still very much enjoy this series and will continue onto the next books.
Sean Kennedy
The Mrs. Murphy books have been getting a lot better since the disastrous and offensive entry with the stereotypical gay/trans killer. The murder of a Crozet local hearkens back to a cold case from decades before - as always, Mrs Murphy and her animal friends are on the trail! These books are cozy mysteries through and through, and a lot like comfort food they are nice to come to when you really need them.
Sarah
This was one of my favorite entries in this series. It was so engaging that I missed my bus stop three different times while reading during my commute. The only thing preventing me from giving this book 5 stars was the overkill on equine bloodlines. While it was important tonthe plot, at times I felt as though I was heading the begats in the less gripping potions of the Old Testament.
George
Nov 12, 2007 George rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery readers
Another in the "Harry" Haristeen and her two cats and Welsh corgi set in rural Crozet, Virginia mysteries. This time the murders occur related to horse breeding and Harry and her pets help unravel the mystery. A lot more personal stuff in this story as the author starts changing aspects of Harry's life so there is more person emphasis in this one.
Chazzi
Enjoyed this read. Tight plot, good characters and the pace was right. You did get a hint of who might have done it, or rather I had a suspicion but couldn't quite put my finger on it till it was revealed. Felt is was a good use of my reading time and I wanted to get back to it each time I put it down.
Leslie
I rarely quit reading a book once I've started, but I couldn't handle this one after about 75 pages. I've ready several of her books before, and managed to enjoy them, but this one dragged, has far too many characters, and, much as I love pets, the "conversations" were sappy.
Beatrix
This is the last book I will read in the series. I enjoy the animals. A few of the stories were great the others were good. However, I am sick of the preaching. Ms. Brown's opinions have taken over the characters and the stories. I want fiction, not essays.
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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.
More about Rita Mae Brown...
Rubyfruit Jungle Wish You Were Here (Mrs. Murphy, #1) Murder, She Meowed (Mrs. Murphy #5) Murder at Monticello (Mrs. Murphy #3) Rest in Pieces (Mrs. Murphy #2)

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