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Cat of the Century: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery (Mrs. Murphy #18)

3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,369 Ratings  ·  172 Reviews
Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen’s beloved, tart-tongued neighbor Aunt Tally is about to turn the big 1-0-0, and the alumnae association of Tally’s alma mater is throwing a big fund-raising bash in her honor. The plan is to celebrate Tally’s centennial and recoup some much-needed school revenue lost in the cratered economy, but when a killer blizzard bears down and a board mem ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 25th 2011 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2010)
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Apr 26, 2010 Lily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have read almost all of Rita Mae Brown's books since I first discovered her book "Rubyfruit Jungle" in a multicultural literature class in undergrad. I picked up the Mrs. Murphy series and it became a guilty pleasure. Unfortunately this book will be my last. The amount of political preaching which in her earlier books provided some texture to the storyline in this book reads like a disjointed rant.
Dec 30, 2010 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It hurts so very much to write this review. I have read several of these books and it is exciting that this particular mystery is set at a college located only thirty minutes from where I live but this book was just not good. I found the anti-tax and anti-government diatribes unnecessary and annoying. Though all authors have biases I don't like it to be so apparant; or so overly blatant that it distracts from the story. Any character with liberal leanings was either described as unlikeable or ki ...more
This book decided me to give up on the series. The rather slender plot of murders involving members of a college alumnae board is defaced with wooden writing, and the author's apparent belief that her audience is interested in her political views. Since a note indicates the author is starting a new mystery series, out in October 2010, perhaps she's come to realize that these characters have been milked dry. Pity.
Jun 08, 2010 Janet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Brown needs to quit using her characters as an excuse to voice her own opinions on life. I had a hard time finishing this book because of the incredibly intrusive diatribes on everything from the economy to pollution to the dissolution of society. The editors need to proof their work better—last time I checked Tally was Mim’s aunt, not Harry’s.
May 30, 2010 Nicola rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have a soft spot for the Mrs Murphy books as this was the series that got me addicted to cozy mysteries, but the last five books haven’t been so great – a trend that has continued with this recent addition.

The plot is that Aunt Tally is turning 100 and there are an abundance of celebrations, mostly centred around William Woods University alumnae association, one of whom gets murdered. She is joined by her best friend and Fair’s mentor, Inez, who is a vet and an active member of the University
Alannah Davis
May 11, 2014 Alannah Davis rated it liked it
Having been a fan of the Mrs. Murphy mysteries for years, I really wanted to like this one more. On the positive side, I liked the setting of the college far away from Crozet, Virginia. I enjoyed the idea of Aunt Tally's one hundredth birthday celebration, and I liked the focus on the trouble in the alumnae committee. The change of focus was refreshing. And of course, the animals' dialogue with each other is fun. I always crave more of that!

However, the ambiance of the story was marred by the co
I have enjoyed these mysteries but this one must have just been an obligation in Browns' contract. The main plot is centered around the 100 birthday of Aunt Tally and her University Alumni group use this occasion as a fund raiser. This adds lots of characters that we haven't met before and so didn't care about when they end up dead or accused of the crime. Also this just seemed like one rant after another. Everything from Anti - big government, anti big business, anti taxes etc. Her characters w ...more
Jun 06, 2010 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book I read to recover from Sam Lipsyte's "The Ask" while on vacation. The four star review is skewed up by that fact. Brown's mystery's are not deep, hard or challenging reads. Rita Mae Brown is unapologetic about writing books to sell books to support her lifestyle, but I do enjoy her output.

I've lived in both Virginia and Missouri so the settings in this book are very, very familiar. She place-name drops throughout her books, and having spent time in Charlottesville eating Crozet
Jan Underhill
I downloaded this book after having read about 17 titles in the series, one after another, having become a bit attached to the characters and accustomed to a good bedtime yarn. Took a look at the reviews a nanosecond before the final step, and found it had been rather thoroughly panned, but I was willing to form my own opinion. Well, I hate to report that the review was sadly spot on. I had been skimming over some rather overt political sentiments intruding clumsily and pointlessly into the char ...more
It wasn't the best book in the series, but it was like visiting old friends. It was good to see some of the characters such as Mrs. Murphy, Harry, Pewter, Tucker, Aunt Tally, and Fair. I was disappointed, however, that there wasn't any real sleuthing action on the part of Harry; also, Susan and Miranda were both absent (the former shows up in a very brief phone conversation, and the latter is very conspicuously absent). Even the Rev. Jones, Jim Sanbourne, and Blair were only mentioned but not ac ...more
Emily Von pfahl
Over the years, Brown has infused her own political point of view into this series, which normally doesn't bother me because 1)I tend to agree with her, 2)the opinions that are expressed are in keeping with the characters who express them, and 3)it is incorporated into the plot so as not to be jarring. That is, something has occurred that makes the character voice his or her opinion. However, in this particular novel, there seemed to be A LOT more of it than normal. The mystery was sound, and as ...more
Feb 16, 2012 Linda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a loser. I have a rule that I'll give a book 50 pages, and if it hasn't grabbed me by then, well, there are just too many other books out there and time is too short. It was a struggle to go the 50 pages. Such a disappointment as I've always loved the Mrs. Murphy books. As others have said, this is a political harangue, and very boring. I'm done.
May 13, 2010 Diane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I made it to page 40 but I just couldn't take all the digs at politics. I miss the carefree and funny plots of her earlier books. Even the animals are underused in this book. This one just doesn't live up to her previous books so I'm sending it back to the library early. Maybe someone else will enjoy it more.
Apr 21, 2010 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little disappointed in this one. I've read all of these and this is the first one that did not have the "usual suspects" - regular characters as part of the story. I missed some of the regulars and the story was a little thin. I figured "who done it" before I was supposed to ---
C.J. Prince
Mar 22, 2014 C.J. Prince rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do love a series of books and getting to know the characters. This one, written by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown (a very astute cat) is #18 in the series. I read as many as had been published and drifted away for a few years. So when I found this one, I just jumped in, unaware that I've probably missed four or five books. No matter.

There is no way that you will not be charmed by the dog and two cats and Rita Mae Brown's skill at showing disruption between people, what annoys them, what
Jun 04, 2010 Julia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mrs.Murphy is one of my favorite series. Until this one. I finished it, but it wasn't nearly as good as the previous 17.
Jul 27, 2014 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Much too predictable for my tastes, though I've been reading a far number of mysteries these days so I may just be hypersensitive to the whodunnits. This is the only one of this series I've read thus far, so I can't judge the entire series on this one book. I may try another in future...I guess I was expecting something similar to the "Cat Who" series w/J Qwilleran...

As a side note, I appreciated the quick character intros in the beginning. There were way too many characters to keep track of wit
Karen GoatKeeper
This is a typical Mrs. Murphy mystery in many ways which makes it a relaxing book for anyone who enjoys these books.
Aunt Tally is turning 100. William Woods alumnae organization is throwing a birthday celebration/money raiser.
Two alumnae board members hate each other. One disappears. The other turns up dead a little later.
Clues mount up. Suspicions and strange behaviors creep around. Who is next to die?
Of course the animals are in on the finish even if Harry isn't. Someone must help aunt Tally s
Suzanne Jacob
Feb 07, 2016 Suzanne Jacob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As always, the dogs and the cats steal the show in Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy series. However, the plot was excellent with the reader not really sure of the murderer until the last couple of chapters. The treat is the "old" mystery and its resolution at the end of the book.
Another excellent, fast read of a delightful cozy series that gets better with age.
By the way, I'd love to see a couple of these as TV movies. Disney did one with Ricki Lake a number of years ago and I've about played it out
Sep 01, 2014 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading any of the books in this series is like visiting with old friends, and this was no exception. There are some new faces in this story--mostly not terribly likeable people who are either in financial planning or run a store. People die; we know because the gifted animal companions clue us in...they always smell death, while their people never do!

In this story, Harry's beloved Aunt Tally turns 100 and her alma mater holds a huge fete for her--also a fundraising opportunity, which rankled me
Melissa (ladybug)
Aunt Tally is turning 100. While attending a party/fund raiser for her Alma Mater, someone turns up missing. Everyone will be wondering what could be happening. Aunt Tally is also curious about an old unsolved murder that happened in the 60s.

Like other reviews I wanted to say great things about this book, but I cannot. (view spoiler)
Oct 12, 2010 Jackie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very disappointed and will probably not read any more. I’ve been a faithful follower of the series, but the last few books have gotten on my nerves and this one has put me over the top. The out-of-context diatribes are really irritating. I can hear that on the TV if I wish. It’s not what I buy the books for.

In addition, some inconsistencies are present – the college was a two-year school when Aunt Tally attended and she graduated in 1931 and Inez in 1933. There was no way that they attended sch
Jul 15, 2013 Xyra rated it liked it
I liked this installment of the Mrs. Murphy mystery series, but I did not love it as I have the others in the series. What was the difference?

Well, I noted in one of my status updates that this one seemed a bit preachy. The preaching didn't stop. I'd be reading along, submersed in activities of the characters, then suddenly one would make a statement about the state of the world or how we should do such and such to save energy or comment on the state of the economy, etc. When these situations ar
Lora King
May 30, 2010 Lora King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: animal lovers
Shelves: fiction
18 Mrs. Murphy books has taken me through about 14 yrs. Found this series and fell in love. Book is written with the animals being able to communicate with each other but of course not humans. They help their owner Harry Harristeen (femal)solve murders in the Virginia town of Crozet. (Mrs.Murphy a "Mary" cat like Koshka and Yoko; Pewter a gray fat cat; and Tucker a cute little Corgi)

I love knowing these characters and watching the changes that have happened to them through the years. This is lik
Mikaela Cekalski
I read these books a long time ago and in the last 6 months I started back again at #1 and now I'm at Cat of the Century. I guess when I was younger and didn't understand much of what the characters talked about, it didn't really matter about how biased and preachy the books have become. Man do I notice now. It's been hard to get through the last five books or so without rolling my eyes a few times.

Also, RMB needs a better editor who will check continuity. If the books generally take place in th
Jul 08, 2010 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading this series since about 1999, so I wasn't about to pass on the latest installment. The last several books, however, show some new differences in writing style that I find very annoying. When her characters refer to things in conversation, she'll add a sentence like, "Harry mentioned a beautiful insect-eating bird..." or "Terri cited the department store..." to explain what the characters are referring to. This strikes me as both clumsy and a little insulting, as if we couldn' ...more
Feb 27, 2011 Spuddie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review applies to the audio version.

#19 Mrs. Murphy mystery also featuring Mary Minor "Harry" Harristeen in Crozet, Virginia. Harry is off on a road trip with her pets to help Aunt Tally celebrate her 100th birthday at her college alma mater back in Missouri. One of the organizers disappears, and another lets "slip" that the missing woman has probably done a runner since she knows of some shady business practices that have gone on. Once back in Virginia, the accuser ends up dead, believed
Oct 17, 2015 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#18 in the Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, her sleuthing cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and corgi Tee Tucker mystery set in rural Virginia. What starts off as the 100 birthday celebration for Aunt Tally quickly turns in the murder mystery with financial misdeeds and drug connections issues. As usual with this series, the animal characters are delightful and add much to the story line. Much is also added by the characters Aunt Tally and Inez Carpenter who really steal the story.
Oct 05, 2014 Sally rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had forgotten that I have lost my interest in the Sneaky Pie Brown series as it moves to the author's podium for political discourse. It's not that I agree or disagree with her sentiments, I just get enough of that in the media. The mystery in this story is definitely the side story and there is little of Tee Tucker and Mrs. Murphy solving a murder. The stories were better when Harry was still the post mistress.
Therese B
I have read quite a few of Rita Mae Browns book but the last two I have read, I have not enjoyed. She had become to politcal and too boring. This story is about a college reunion to honor a 100 woman who graduated there. Her friend who is 98 years old attends also and there are three murders. All about money. The animals try to help solve the murders but they can't seem to get the humans to listen to them
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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 25 books)
  • Wish You Were Here (Mrs. Murphy, #1)
  • Rest in Pieces (Mrs. Murphy #2)
  • Murder at Monticello (Mrs. Murphy #3)
  • 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)

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“I have always believed a window into a person’s true nature is how they treat animals, children, and the elderly. A person who mistreats animals isn’t worth knowing. A person who mistreats children—especially those who abuse and kill them—should be shot without wasting any taxpayer money for a trial and for feeding them in prison. When a perpetrator of heinous crimes can live in a climate-controlled environment and eat three meals a day while good people go hungry, something is very wrong. Americans are paying for serial killers, rapists, and child abusers to live better than they do.” 2 likes
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