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

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  2,991 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Bestselling author Rita Mae Brown and co-author Sneaky Pie Brown are back in a delightful new caper. When a very old skeleton is uncovered beneath the slave quarters at Monticello, the citizens of Crozet, Virginia, are shocked. Then, a murder is committed and feline detective Mrs. Murphy is up to her whiskers in murder and scandal.
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published November 1st 1994 by Bantam (first published 1994)
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!?! 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Jul 14, 2013 Ferne rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
Paul Lunger
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
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
Becky Roberts
Light fun

Just enough history, just enough humor and suspense. Characters are believable and the result is a fun read. RMB has some pithy insights that put the book a bit above everyday mysteries.
Ryan Mishap
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
May 05, 2009 Samantha rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
I listened to this book at bed time, and I had a hard time getting into it. The author threw in a lot of historical facts, and the cats kept breaking in with comments, which bothered me to hear their voices in the story. This wasn't a favorite read.
What a great mystery within a mystery! I loved the historical backstory in this one.
I don't think I'd really like these that much now, but I happened to have them thrust upon me by a shut-in neighbor lady as a thank-you for bringing her groceries. My tastes have obviously changed since 8th grade but at the time I was really into the Mary Higgins Clark/mystery genre so I read em' because I liked to read (side note, she had a TON of "smut novels" which I have to admit I realllly wanted to read as well back then). Long story short, this lady willed me this series of books after sh ...more
Pretty basic Rita Mae Brown. Main character lives near Monticello. Archeologist discovers a dead body buried in the slave quarters. Which of course leads to revelations about present-day people, enough that someone will commit some murders when the wrong people find out too much. Moves along, with a couple of good red herrings. All in all, a good mystery. There's also the lives of the pets of the main character, who try to help out. This wasn't as central as in other books of hers I've read, and ...more
Finding RMB's interspecies mysteries virtually everywhere I went in Vienna, I was very curious not about this book specifically, but about the writing in general. Sadly, the cover of my 1990s edition is the best thing about Murder in Monticello. For a crime story, the events unfold painfully slowly. Add to it dealings in conservative gender and power roles, a totally weird understanding of how to be critically white, and some sloppy dialogue. Still haven't given up on reading Rubyfruit Jungle on ...more
Light, fun reading....
Perfect timing for me - all about genealogy, just when I'm starting my own research (just a lucky library pick at the time). A 200-yr-old corpse of a wealthy white man is found buried at the site of an old slave cabin at Thomas Jefferson's estate, Monticello. Uncovering the story turns out to be dangerous for a few Crozet citizens. The past comes back to haunt the present. I thoroughly enjoyed the history with this one. (See description for "Claws and Effect" for more info on the series.)
Lynn Pribus
A dear friend -- now gone -- gave me this book when I moved to Charlottesville about 2 miles from Monticello. It is, she told me, set in the fictitious town of CROZit. Ah, says, I. It's an actual town and it's called Crow-ZAY. My granddaughter-in-law teaches in Crozet.

I'm not much for talking cats. In truth, I'm not even much for non-talking cats. But having been to Monticello and written about it as recently as this month, it was fun to read.

Thanks, Margrette, wherever you are...
I'm on page 180 of 284 of Murder at Monticello: More than halfway though and not enjoying the story much yet --not a good sign. The book is broken up into short chapters, each focused on a different set of townspeople, of which there are many. Too many. The abrupt shifts make the narrative choppy, giving you nothing to grab onto. The animals' musings are random and un-enlightening, too --a particular bummer for me.

This is probably the first and last book of this series for me.
I liked this book even better than book 2 in the series! The flow is improved and the author has better depth of characters. The story is woven around an archeological find at the home of Thomas Jefferson. The find reveals a 200+ year old murder and opens up a racial stir that brings the characters to emotional and personal conflicts. The story is filled with twists and hard to put down for very long.
Hard to follow at parts, but I also was reading it at a time when focusing wasn't one of my better skills. Considering it delves into bloodlines a few hundred years old and involving many people sharing names, confusion isn't surprising, and in fact was noted in the book. I love this series, and if it weren't for all the people getting murdered, I'd want to live in this town.
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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 24 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)
Rubyfruit Jungle Wish You Were Here (Mrs. Murphy, #1) Murder, She Meowed (Mrs. Murphy, #5) Rest in Pieces (Mrs. Murphy #2) Pay Dirt (Mrs. Murphy, #4)

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