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The residents of tiny Crozet, Virginia, thrive on gossip, especially in the post office, where Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen presides with her tiger cat, Mrs. Murphy. So when a belligerent Hell's Angel crashes Crozet, demanding to see his girlfriend, the leather-clad interloper quickly becomes the chief topic of conversation. Then the biker is found murdered, and everyone is baffled. Well, almost everyone...Mrs. Murphy and her friends, Welsh corgi Tee Tucker and overweight feline Pewter, haven't been slinking through alleys for nothing. But can they dig up the truth in time to save their humans from a ruthless killer?

288 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1995

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About the author

Rita Mae Brown

109 books1,868 followers
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 University of Florida at Gainesville on a scholarship. In the spring of 1964, the administrators of the racially segregated university expelled her for participating in the civil rights movement. She subsequently enrolled at Broward Community College[3] with the hope of transferring eventually to a more tolerant four-year institution.

Between fall 1964 and 1969, she lived in New York City, sometimes homeless, while attending New York University[6] where she received a degree in Classics and English. Later,[when?] she received another degree in cinematography from the New York School of Visual Arts.[citation needed] Brown received a Ph.D. in literature from Union Institute & University in 1976 and holds a doctorate in political science from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

Starting in 1973, Brown lived in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles. In 1977, she bought a farm in Charlottesville, Virginia where she still lives.[9] In 1982, a screenplay Brown wrote while living in Los Angeles, Sleepless Nights, was retitled The Slumber Party Massacre and given a limited release theatrically.

During Brown's spring 1964 semester at the University of Florida at Gainesville, she became active in the American Civil Rights Movement. Later in the 1960s, she participated in the anti-war movement, the feminist movement and the Gay Liberation movement.

Brown took an administrative position with the fledgling National Organization for Women, but resigned in January 1970 over Betty Friedan's anti-gay remarks and NOW's attempts to distance itself from lesbian organizations. She claims she played a leading role in the "Lavender Menace" zap of the Second Congress to Unite Women on May 1, 1970, which protested Friedan's remarks and the exclusion of lesbians from the women's movement.

In the early 1970s, she became a founding member of The Furies Collective, a lesbian feminist newspaper collective in Washington, DC, which held that heterosexuality was the root of all oppression.

Brown told Time magazine in 2008, "I don't believe in straight or gay. I really don't. I think we're all degrees of bisexual. There may be a few people on the extreme if it's a bell curve who really truly are gay or really truly are straight. Because nobody had ever said these things and used their real name, I suddenly became [in the late 1970s] the only lesbian in America."

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5 stars
1,086 (29%)
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3 stars
1,029 (27%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 132 reviews
Profile Image for Randee.
815 reviews32 followers
January 10, 2018
The fourth book in the Mrs. Murphy series was quite satisfying as cozies go. I liked that there was a lot of comedic interaction between Mrs. Murphy, Tucker and Pewter. I am not embarrassed to admit that I like this series precisely because of the two cats and dog. They are the highlight but the regular cast of characters are likable in this Virginia town. I plan to read every single book in this series in chronological order.
Profile Image for Trish.
2,316 reviews34 followers
August 7, 2015
Been a while since I read any of the books in this series. I'd forgotten how much I liked them - especially the snarky cat - even if I figured out who the murderer was about half-way through the book.
Profile Image for Maggie Anton.
Author 12 books258 followers
July 12, 2022
I liked Pay Dirt a lot more than the third/previous Mrs. Murphy mystery. Nothing from the previous century, no excuses for slavery or misogyny in those days. A modern crime committed by someone with computer expertise, but underneath lie the age-old motives of money and love. I liked how Harry was getting gently wooed by her ex-husband Fair, and the friend/rival relationship between Fair and Blair as they cooperate to prevent Harry from being killed. Again, I love the animal characters and how they interact. I had the murder's identity down to two people, and I was correct on one of the two. But unlike some of this novel's critics, I don't mind if I figure out who done it before the mystery is solved.
Profile Image for Christine (KizzieReads).
1,286 reviews87 followers
April 24, 2019
Even though I am getting better and reading between the lines and figuring out the whodunnit part, I still really enjoyed this! I love the animals and their banter to each other and towards the humans. Being a cat owner, the author has nailed their mannerisms down pat.

This installment has a biker turning up dead after loudly looking for his wife Malibu. No one by that name lives in Crozet, so everyone thinks it was just a mix up. Then a computer virus is said to be hitting all the banks on a specific day and everyone is worried that their money will be gone. Other people start turning up dead, and it's up to Mrs. Murphy and Tee Tucker to figure out who is responsible, or at least get the humans to figure it out with their help!
Profile Image for Fiona.
630 reviews1 follower
February 26, 2015
Cute story.

Harry is one of the two postmistresses in Crozet, Virginia. She has a cat, Mrs Murphy, and a corgi, Tucker. The other postmistress is Mrs Hogendobber (Miranda) who really doesn't care to much for animals but has no choice since Mrs Murphy & Tucker go wherever Harry goes. Crozet is not far from Ash Lawn, the home of the late President James Monroe. The docents at Ash Lawn are many of the characters in this story and who live in Crozet.

A Hells Angel-type biker rolls up to Ash Lawn & rudely demands to talk with Malibu. No one knows a Malibu. He is shortly found in the woods near Crozet murdered with a .357 Magnum and his bike is left outside the post office. Mrs Murphy and Tucker want to help with the investigation. After all, the human senses aren't as sharp as the animal senses. Humans didn't pick up the smell of blood on the biker saddlebags.

This murder happened the same time as the Threadneedle computer virus was spreading. For most banks, this meant a slow day and recovery transactions. However, at Crozet National Bank, two million dollars is missing. Then, the bank president is murdered; he was shot with a .357 Magnum, too.

All all these misfortunes related? The town folks have their own idea but Harry and her friends (human and animal) want to help. In addition to the murder mystery, there's the love relationships of the characters. Crozet is a small town so everyone knows what every one else is doing (or thing they are doing).

Cute story. I like how the animals are involved in the investigation. There are a lot of characters (human) though which could get confusing.

Profile Image for Baseni.
153 reviews
June 28, 2011
"Crozet, die Kleinstadt in Virginia, erhält Besuch durch einen Hell’s Angel, zumindest gibt er sich alle Mühe diesem Klischee gerecht zu werden. Es sucht eine Gewisse Malibu, allerdings will sie niemand kennen. Die Suche wird durch den Fund seiner Leiche gestoppt, gleichzeitig verbreitet sich aber ein Virus in den Computern der Banken, auch die örtliche Bank bleibt nicht verschont, dies zeigen nachträgliche Kontrollen. Der Leiter des Rechnungswesen, nebenbei durch seine kürzliche Heirat in einem Kampf zweier Freundinnen, er entschied sich anscheinend für die falsche, verstrickt, macht sich auf die Suche im System, das Ergebnis sind weitere Tote. Mrs. Murphy, mehr zufällig in den Fall verstrickt, gelingt es mit ihren Tierkollegen, die entscheidende Fährte zu finden, und ihr Frauchen Mary Minor Haristeen, genannt Harry, vermag die Informationen richtig zu interpretieren.
Der 4. Band der Krimiserie um und über Harry und Mrs. Murphy, sowie ihren weiteren menschlichen und tierischen Freunden, ist fast wie eine Reise in die Computervergangenheit. Obwohl erst 1995 geschrieben, deutsche Erstausgabe von 1997, zeigt der Roman die Vergänglichkeit in dieser Branche. Über diesen „Virus“ kann man sich heute nur amüsieren. Für Freunde von Katzenkrimis gut geeignet, vielleicht sollte man aber die Reihenfolge einhalten, für Mrs. Murphy-Fan gibt es nichts zu überlegen."
Profile Image for Lindsey.
175 reviews4 followers
December 21, 2018
This was a fun, cozy mystery that held my attention and entertained me from the beginning to the end. The familiar residents of Crozet, Virginia, continue to evolve their relationships with one another in the face of multiple mysteries going on, namely a frightening new computer virus called Threadneedle and the murder of a stranger who rolled into town on his Harley motorcycle searching for his ex-wife Malibu. I especially appreciated that the dynamic among Harry, her ex-husband Fair, and her neighbor Blair didn't become a stereotypical dramatic love triangle, in that the two men are fighting outright for her tortured heart; the two scuffle at a party but Harry ends up pissed at both of them for acting like children, and makes promises to neither of them. She's the most relatable character in the series to me, and I appreciate her down-to-earth philosophies about life, love, and human nature.

I especially loved seeing Pewter being more included in the adventure, as she reminds me of my mother-in-law's pudgy kitty Abby with her sass and her love of food. The animals saved the day at the end of the story; no one messes with Mrs. Murphy and Tucker's mom!
Profile Image for Heather.
54 reviews
August 9, 2009
This was my first Rita Mae Brown book. I love mysteries, but this one is different than what I'm used to reading, mainly because of the "talking" animals throughout the book. That part is at the same time silly but likable. I'm a huge animal lover and have had cats and dogs my entire life. The author really captures the mannerisms that any cat or dog owner is very familiar with. As to the animals' dialog, it's in italics, which makes it a little easier to follow. Of course, the humans can't understand them...(Of course!)

As to the actual story, I wouldn't go so far as to say it's as well-written as a Mary Higgins Clark novel. The dialog gets confusing at times and isn't always written in a natural way. I wasn't able to figure out the end right away, but it wasn't a big shocker either. Still, the draw for me was the animals. This was a good light-read and gave me more than a few chuckles. I plan to read the rest of Rita Mae Brown's "Mrs. Murphy" mysteries soon.
Profile Image for Aprilleigh.
817 reviews38 followers
July 23, 2018
An improvement over the previous volume, which focused a little too much on questionable history for my taste (I prefer to know where the lines are being blurred), this one gets right back to the author's strengths - an unexplained murder confuses the town, not least because no one knows the victim, but over the course of the book things move closer and closer to home. Another murder involves one of their own. It's predictable, but so well done you really don't mind. Brown's talent for making her characters feel real and fleshed out is in full swing, as even the newly introduced characters don't feel like they're quite so shiny. As another reviewer has also indicated, this time I knew who the murderer was about halfway through the book. I'm not sure if it's because of the formula Brown uses so well or because the clues were just more apparent and the red herrings less enticing than usual. I think I need to read the next few to be sure...
Profile Image for Susan.
1,391 reviews
January 18, 2019
The gossip mill is working overtime in Crozet. Harry Haristeen and her pets, Mrs. Murphy the cat and Tucker the corgi get involved in a case. When a leather-clad biker storms into the Monroe house looking for 'Malibu' and apparently high on something, he is eventually ousted but then turns up dead in the woods. Not long afterwards, the bank president is shot and killed, and a bank clerk is strangled. Is all this related to the mysteriouis Threadneedle virus that has computer experts in a panic? Is the virus the cause of the money missing from the bank? And who the heck is 'Malibu'? The pets do their own sleuthing and try to alert the humans to clues, but are largely ignored. When Harry's friend is accused of the murders, she refuses to believe it and buckles down to solving the case. There are some interesting twists. Overall a good easy read, that held my interest all the way through.
154 reviews29 followers
December 17, 2017
Pay Dirt was enjoyable and definitely better than the last book in the series. In Pay Dirt it feels as though the author is going back to what made the first two books good, except the author didn't quite make it there. The author fleshes out the characters even more without them being clustered together and bringing more life to them. However I really wish that Harry had been fleshed and expanded more as she seemed to become more of a side character in this book. The plot was interesting and only a little bit predictable, But that didn't take away from the story.
Profile Image for Jae.
540 reviews
May 5, 2018
The small town of Crozet is atwitter when a biker roars into town, looking for a woman named Malibu. When the biker is found murdered, some speculate that he was at the epicenter of a drug deal gone bad. In the meantime, the town's residents are also worried about the dreaded Threadneedle virus, which is set to infect computers on August first. The local bank takes precautions, but two million turns up missing anyway. Later, the bank president is murdered while working late at night in an effort to fix things, and one of Crozet's own is arrested for the crime.

Harry doesn't believe Kerry is a murderer, and neither do Mrs Murphy and Tee Tucker. The animals find clues and work hard to get their human to notice them, while Harry speculates and bats ideas around with the people who come into the post office for gossip. When another murder takes place, the race is on to find a killer in Crozet.

Very good book, witty and charming, and I love the characters, both old and new. Drawbacks to the book are that there are too many povs used, and too many murders. Most mysteries have one death, but these seem to involve multiple murders. It's a small town! If people keep getting killed, there won't be anyone left. Also, the resolution, or rather, the motive(s) seemed confusing to me.
Profile Image for Lindsay Luke.
464 reviews2 followers
November 13, 2021
Diverting, but not too challenging vacation read. This is one of the earlier Mrs. Murphy mysteries. At the start, everyone is talking about a computer virus that seems to be targeting banks. As someone who worked in a bank for years, including the mid 90s when this was written, I enjoyed this subplot. It turns out there is $2M missing from Crozet National Bank and no one can figure out where it went.
Meanwhile, a biker turns up at Ash Lawn, where Harry and several other townswomen serve as docents, looking for his girlfriend "Malibu". Soon, he turns up dead. The Sheriff and Deputy Cooper investigate officially, the Bank President and main accountant investigate the missing money, Mrs Murphy and Tucker also investigate and try to share their findings with Harry and her human friends.
Soon, more people turn up dead and it seems the biker may have had something to do with the virus and the missing money, but no one can figure out who Malibu might be and where the money is.
There is the usual gossip and intrigue amongst the townspeople, with the animals providing both insight and comic relief. It took me back to working at a bank when the internet was just taking over. I enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Shannon.
291 reviews1 follower
November 3, 2019
Honestly, this was really boring. None of the characters were interesting nor compelling. The mystery was also SO predictable. It got to be that I was looking for twists everywhere. I also REALLY couldn't stand the love-triangle nonsense! I keep feeling like Harry's going to go back to Fair because he realized he was an idiot, but after learning more about Harry's memories, it just seems like they had such a problematic marriage! It's not that I think Blair is better for Harry. I just think she has this independence and space without Fair to really become her own person again.
Profile Image for Tara.
280 reviews14 followers
January 20, 2023
I found this to be another enjoyable book in the Mrs. Murphy series. There were numerous laugh out loud moments. I had trouble keeping track of all the characters, but I think that was more due to my reading this on audio and sometimes spacing out. It had also been way too long since I had read the 3rd book in the series and I had trouble remembering characters and who they were to Harry. I was not shocked by who the killer ended up being, in fact there was a pretty big hint way before and it made me realize who the killer really was. But that's okay, I still enjoyed reading this one and am looking forward to continuing on with this series.
207 reviews
May 9, 2018
I always enjoy visiting Crozet, Virginia, and this visit did not disappoint. These books are not read solely for the actual mystery, as there usually isn't much mystery to them. In this case I knew "who done it" from about chapter two or three. But it's the charm of the characters, both two-legged ad four-legged, and the sense of place that keeps one coming back for more of Harry, Mrs. Murphy, and Tee Tucker. If you enjoy cozy mysteries featuring animals who assist their humans in crime solving then this book is definitely for you.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
567 reviews24 followers
July 12, 2019
OH MY! Let's start with a murder, oh, take two, they're small-ish...When a stranger turns up murdered in Crozet, Virginia, Harry Haristeen is, of course, bound and determined to find the killer with the able assistance of her brilliant tabby, Mrs. Murphy, her Welsh Corgi, Tee Tucker, and their slighly zaftig friend, Pewter. But one murder turns into two, and there's a LOT of money missing from the local bank. Things are looking dire, but she won't give up! Harry would do far better is she learned to speak Cattish and Dogese!
Profile Image for Jeanette Revie.
126 reviews2 followers
July 6, 2022
I am really enjoying this cozy mystery series, but I feel kind of bad for the citizens of Crozet as they must keep enduring terrible happenings and murders. It’s like watching the BBC series, Midsomer Murders. How many more people can die before nobody can relate normally to their neighbours anymore?

I’m also enjoying the friendships developing between Harry, Fair and Blair. It will be interesting to see what direction she chooses or if she even does.

As always, the animal characters are a pleasure. :)
128 reviews5 followers
March 9, 2019
This book was the first I’d read by this author, and I will be looking for more. The murder mystery involved was not too explicit in detail, and the best part were the animals involved, who comment on clues and are as well charactered as the humans. Their role in pointing out clues through misbehavior etc. was amusing and endearing. To my mind, the mysteries themselves were pure secondary enjoyment.
Profile Image for Juliane.
14 reviews
September 26, 2019
I read many of the Mrs. Murphy books as a child, but never read them in the right order. I do remember lots of snippets, but missed the big picture. Now that I try to read all of them in the right order, I realize how the characters gain depth over time. So far, I liked this book definitely best. Its fun to come back to Crozet, follow up on all the beloved characters and their lives. Also, I do think the storyline in this book is really nicely written. I did not want to stop reading.
Profile Image for Jules Bertaut.
386 reviews1 follower
October 22, 2019
This book is kind of a weird period piece because it's a mid-'90s book revolving around (among other things) a computer virus, which sure is different in the '90s than now.

Also the main character has a fairly anti-government streak which I think reads differently now than it did back when the book was written, but I guess I don't remember the early 90s that well so *shruggie emoji*

Anyway the mystery was fine.
Profile Image for Shirli.
547 reviews5 followers
June 11, 2021
Three murders! Think of the least likeable, most hateful characters in the story and you’ll hit pay dirt. These stories really suck the big one except for the animals—they are the real heroes. Harry and Miranda are not too bad. I don’t know how Blair is going to turn out; but so far, he’s okay. Fair is an a$$***e for messing around with BoomBoom—another character that should be knocked off. Since I like the animals, I’ll keep reading.
11 reviews
April 5, 2019
This fourth book in the Mrs. Murphy series is finally settling down...the character development in the first three is rather ragged. It is still pretty far-fetched in terms of the philosophical capacities of the cat and dog, but the stories are fun and now that I can relate to the characters, they are becoming more interesting
Profile Image for Kellene.
874 reviews9 followers
January 18, 2023
I thoroughly enjoy the early books in this series. It was nice going back and visiting Crozet and all of the wonderful characters, especially the non-human ones. I also find cozies where the culprit is exactly who I wanted it to be all along especially satisfying. I have several more entries in this series on my TBR list, so I'll be joining Mrs Murphy and Tee Tucker again soon.
956 reviews
March 1, 2018
My favorite part of these books is the animals’ commentary on the humans. It cracks me up. I also love the way the continuing characters develop. The mystery is interesting and involves old school computer viruses and Hell’s Angels which is a great combination.
Profile Image for Debbie Hagedorn.
51 reviews2 followers
February 15, 2019
Mrs. Murphy hits Pay Dirt

Fans of the lovable pair, Mrs. Murphy and Tee Tucker, will love this adventure. A touch of danger, romance, jealousy and laughter will hit pay dirt for the reader. Sneaky Pie Brown is always a winner!
Profile Image for Melissa.
906 reviews1 follower
May 29, 2019
This time Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tee Tucker help the humans sp;ve a triple murder and banking computer virus mystery. A few cute illustrations and the cute animals make this a must reading. Recommended.
Profile Image for Nancy Fredenburgh.
228 reviews2 followers
December 27, 2020
A belligerent Hell's Angel crashes Crozet, Va., looking for his girlfriend and shortly he is found dead instead, murdered. Can Harry and her friends solve the case? Not without Mrs. Murphy, Tee Tucker, and Pewter.
Profile Image for Pam.
800 reviews
March 6, 2021
Crooked banker? Biker in town, complete with Harley? 2 women battling over the same man? Murder? All of that and more, with Mrs. Murphy and Tee Tucker ready to take charge. I just love these easy reading, mostly happy-ending mysteries!
Profile Image for Solarkat.
164 reviews2 followers
April 17, 2022
I really enjoyed this one. The protagonist was genuine and dimensional, the critters were absolutely fabulous...and the plot was pretty clever.

Borrowed via DoD Navy MWR Libraries & read on the Kindle app.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 132 reviews

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