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The Litter of the Law

(Mrs. Murphy #22)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,563 ratings  ·  261 reviews
Autumn has descended and crops are being harvested all over Crozet, Virginia, ideal conditions for a scenic drive for Harry and husband Fair. Bucolic views are all well and good, but Harry's nose for trouble leads her straight to a cornfield's macabre scarecrow--an all too real murder victim that frightens all but the noisy crows.

This accountant's gruesome death is only
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2013)
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Margaret Wilkening
I really used to enjoy the Mrs. Murphy books. Rita Mae Browns books had a snappy story line, and the animals viewpoints were fresh and provided an interesting voice to the narrative. However, a number of books ago, I found that they had lost their sparkle and it took a concerted effort on my part to slog my way through. When Netgalley gave me the opportunity to read a pre-release of her newest effort, The Litter of the Law, I decided to give the series another chance.

Unfortunately, the series
This is a series I thought had finished and was surprised to find it is still on going. Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown write about murder in their small town of Crozet, Virginia.

Our protagonists are Mary Minor Harristeen Harry and tiger striped cat Mrs. Murphy. Harry had acquired a fat lazy gray cat called Pewter in earlier episodes. The Corgi Dog Tucker has to put up with the cats, it is his nose that follows the evil doers. In the earlier episodes, Harry was the postmistress but now she
Barbara Ann
Fall is my favorite time of the year, and one way I can become immersed in the beauty of autumn is through books, vicariously experiencing the season through the storys setting and characters. One of those novels that does exactly this is Rita Mae Browns The Litter of the Law. The series is set in a small rural farming community called Crozet, Virginia, which is also a real town. The Litter of the Law takes place in October and centers on the protagonist, Mary Minor Haristeen or Harry who finds ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The small town of Crozet, Virginia continues to engage me with its citizens and animals. Pewter is fighting, as usual, with Tucker and Mrs. Murphy and just about anyone who displeases her by any small infraction. Pewter is my favorite character because she reminds me of every cat I've ever been enslaved by. She loves to eat and steal food, she can be very sweet when she wants to be (or wants something) and disagreeable when things aren't going her way (or if she just feels like causing a stink.) ...more
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Periodically while reading this book I would forget I was reading a mystery - the author talks nonstop about the environment as well as Native American rights. Both of these are noble causes, but the tone of the writing was off-putting in its preachiness. There is little suspense because the murders seem to be an afterthought.
Received thru NetGalley
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from Net Galley to read and review. Up front, let me say that I have never read any books by the author before. This one was cute and flowed quite easily and smoothly from start to finish. The way the animal pets of Harry spoke and discovered clues in the mystery was endearing and fascinating. Too bad humans cannot really communicate with them, as it might save some time and effort (as this mystery proved). In the story, while out, Mary Minor Harry Haristeen and her husband ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Halloween is rapidly approaching in Crozet, Virginia, and Harry is right in the middle of the preparations. However, nothing can prepare her for the very human and very dead scarecrow that she finds hanging in a local field. Who was he, and why was he killed? Those questions are still being pondered when another body is found, dressed as a witch. But everyone knows this person...although peculiar and a bit of a loner, she's very much a part of the community. Harry is certain that the deaths are ...more
Jun 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a long absence from the world of Mary Minor Harry Harristeen and her friends and family (human and animal) in Crozet, Virginia, I picked up The Litter of the Law, the 21st of the Mrs. Murphy cozy mysteries by Sneaky Pie Brown and her human co-writer, Rita Mae Brown. Harry is one of those individuals who seems to stumble upon trouble at every turn, and she is always ready to stick her nose in to get to the bottom of things. Her pets, cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter and corgi Tee Tucker, are ...more
Lily (Night Owl Book Cafe)
I got a copy of this book for free through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

Halloween is coming. While the people of Crozet, Virginia are out and preparing their beloved home for the festivities, people are suddenly found murdered and dressed up in costumes.


A little disappointed with this book. Okay, quiet a bit disappointed with this one. I picked it up as a Halloween read because it was marked as a cozy mystery and had animals in it, and all the fun halloween stuff.
Lis Carey
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, dogs, fiction, cats, horses
Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and her husband, Fair, are out with their dog, Tee Tucker, and their cats, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, when the animals find a very interesting scarecrow, apparently being torn apart by crows.

Why would crows be attacking a scarecrow?

It's a corpse. His name was Josh Hill, and he was shot through the heart before being dressed as a scarecrow and hung up in the field. It's the start of a frightening October, building toward Halloween and the annual hayride to raise money

Full review coming soon

If you want to learn about crimes against indigenous tribes , organic gardening or certain types of politics instead of reading a cozy mystery, then this will be a great book for you.
I have stayed away from Ms. Browns work for a while now ever since she started taking the books into a new direction and infusing them with the authors opinions on politics, world views, religion et al.

I thought I would give this author one more try I am sorry I bothered. We are back to
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is some laughably bad dialogue in this, moments where I looked up from the page and said, "People don't talk like this." I realize that the author was trying desperately to keep new readers up to speed with a large cast of characters, but still. There are good ways and bad ways to do this, and the author/editor went with laughably bad, stilted, and unnatural.

Another downside: with a cozy of this style, set in a small town with a sprawling cast of regulars, it's pretty easy to determine
Debra Scott
Very little mystery. Mostly politics. I need a break from Rita Mae for a bit I think.
Sep 09, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I have never read a book by this author before, so perhaps avid readers of these books can take my review with a grain of salt.

Personally, this book was not a good introduction to Rita Mae Brown's books.

Sure, for a mystery book, there were a lot of head scratching moments...but in a bad way. The animal dialogue is really cheesy and served no real purpose. The animals did nothing to help solve the mystery (which I was expecting), and
Nov 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a word...disappointing. I've been reading the Rita Mae Brown/Sneaky Pie books since the first one was published and have always thought of her as one of my favorite authors. I've read several of her other books as well, including Bingo, Venus Envy, Riding Shotgun, Rita Will, the Sister Jane series and more, but Harry and the animals have always been my favorites.
Well, Ms Brown seems to have hit a bump in the road with this book in the series, as well of some of the previous ones. Out of the
Not my favorite of the Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, but it was an enjoyable way to pass my time while on a road trip. I enjoy these little, light mysteries as a break from the horror and darker paranormal books I tend to favor, and this one was perfect for my mood.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These cozy mysteries continue to bring me joy and comfort, and I adore them. This installment features a horrific murder of a man named Josh Hill, who is then dressed up like a scarecrow and displayed in a Halloween creche outside in a field. Harry Haristeen, who discovers the body with her husband Fair and their two cats and dog, sets out to solve the mystery before another neighbor is victimized. Along the way, Harry discovers a disturbing turn of history in which a man in the early 1900s ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Rita Mae Brown is a terrible writer. In fact, I vowed never to read any more of her books several years ago when one of them turned out to be a screed against Obamacare masquerading as one of those Harry Hairsteen books. Quite a few of her readers must have felt that way because she included a foreword in her next book saying that she wasn't Harry, or Harry wasn't her and people in rural Virginia were fiercely independent blah blah.
The point is, I should have stuck to my guns on this and not
Kat Lebo
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Litter of the Law
By Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown
A Mrs. Murphy Mystery

Rita Mae Brown is a prolific author, having authored 8 books in the Sister Jane Arnold series, 2 in the Mags Rogers series, this Mrs. Murphy series, plus several other fiction and non-fiction works.

Rita Mae Browns Mrs. Murphy mysteries are always fun. I have all but one of the Mrs. Murphy books all of the fiction, but I didnt purchase the Cook Book. This is the 22nd novel in the series. By now, I almost feel like
I was given this book by a friend who read it on her vacation and left it with me when she visited. It took me so long as the font is rather small so I could only take it in bits and pieces. There was enough dialogue to break up the page so I could read it in tiny doses.

The book kept my interest. I did want to find out more about the farming and life of these farm people. I loved reading about the characters. I found the Native American research interesting though it added to the shame of how
I don't mind the pets. I don't even mind Harry or Fair. But it's hard constantly read about what a great town Crozet is when people are murdered there left and right. You'd have better luck living in a huge city. It just gets repetitive.

(view spoiler)
Luanne Clark
Oh Rita Mae, you are showing your age. You are becoming a curmudgeonly old woman. Every second page includes a diatribe about the evils of government. And why do you have to explain farming practices to me? I dont care about rust and rainfall and which harrow to use. I just want a cozy mystery. Speaking of, your community of characters has grown so large that any new characters are either a victim or the murderer. And it only takes about 10 chapters to figure out which is which. And one more ...more
I'll admit up front that it is hard for me to give a Mrs. Murphy book a truly bad review. I have been reading them since the first one came out and Harry, Mrs. Murphy, and Tee Tucker are old friends to me. But I must say that this was not one of their better offerings. The usual cast of characters (both two legged and four legged) was present, a body (or two) was found, and the hunt for the killer began. And while it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out "who done it" in these books, ...more
Mary Ann
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I borrowed this as an audio and a hardback novel. I was reading when I was home and listening while driving.

It is October and the area of Crozet, VA is getting ready for a hayride to make money for the library and Hester is running her Produce Stand. She will only sell things that are organically grown. She even researches people she buys from to make sure that they are selling what she wants. Then Harry and Fair find a body in a cornfield, dressed as a scarecrow, then Harry finds Hester.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Scary Halloween Scene

1 million gold stars. I will admit that by far MRS. MURPHY MYSTERIES ARE ONE OF MY FAVORITES TO READ. The Litter of the Law book #22 in the series Mrs. Murphy Mystery by: Rita Mae Brown will have you laughing with the critters and in love with friends and a very loving Husband and very anger at what people will do for (MONEY); and even more angered of what the government did the the Indians in the past. A clean plot and story line with one or two cusswords ,but nothing
I give it about 3.5 stars.
It was a little difficult getting into the rhythm of switching between animal and human POVs but eventually I got used to it. However, I couldnt seem to get it straight in my head that Tucker was female. I kept going back to thinking the dog was a boy.
Anyway, the story was okay. There were so many characters that by the time whodunnit was revealed I didnt really remember who it was.
Last, but not least, this book was almost exaggeratedly folksy/cutesy/down-home/schmarmy.
Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its been a while since I visited Crozet. This was a short book by the Mrs. Murphy standard. I did miss my old friends - Harry, Susan, etc. I had put this series off because of the last few books I read were just not gratifying in the way the initial books in the series were and felt it was more preachy that story. However, this one was, while not perfect, a marked improvement. I did like the story and the little mystery. I would have liked to see more of Harrys old friends involved, and more of ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a tedious lecture. I only finished it because it was one of two audio books I brought during a vacation. The audio reader was pleasant to listen to, but the "story"...not so much.
Usually I enjoy the animal banter used to help solve the mysteries in this series but this book was just carping and fat shaming. So unnecessary. I also enjoy a mystery where I learn about something but this was preaching and lectures on so many unrelated things, I was left feeling drained. The actual mystery was
A. Lieberson
Not one of her better books. The story takes place at Halloween time in rural Virginia. Harry and her husband Fair see a scarecrow in the corn field but after looking at it, their cats got out and headed to the scarecrow. A dead man in the costume was a accountant. Later there was a second death of a farm woman who was also put in a Halloween outfit. Parts of the story were about the types of soil they have and what fertilizers do best which had nothing to do with the killings. The cat Mrs. ...more
Peggy Sinden
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Ms. Murphy, Pewter and Tucker work along side with Elocution, Cazenovia and Lucy Fur on a holiday Halloween Hayride, mayhem is bound to be a part of the theme of the day. Mix in the human owners of these animals and death is only the first of many disturbing events. Its not all play because reading this tale will enlighten you with more information then you knew possible. Light reading but very enjoyable.
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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

Other books in the series

Mrs. Murphy (1 - 10 of 30 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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