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Whiskers in the Dark

(Mrs. Murphy #28)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,072 ratings  ·  204 reviews
Death stalks the Blue Ridge Mountains as a centuries-old mystery resurfaces and murder mars the lead-up to an annual beagle competition, in a thrilling new tale from Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown.

"As feline collaborators go, you couldn't ask for better than Sneaky Pie Brown."--The New York Times Book Review

A massive nor'easter has hit northern V
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Bantam
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  1,072 ratings  ·  204 reviews

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Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it

Ricki Lake as 'Harry Haristeen' with Mrs. Murphy (cat) and Tucker (dog)

In this 28th book in the 'Mrs. Murphy' series, amateur sleuth Harry Haristeen investigates several unnatural deaths with the help of her cadre of 'talking pets': the cats - Mrs. Murphy and Pewter; the corgi - Tucker; and the half-grown Irish wolfhound - Pirate.


The story, set in northern Virginia, ping pongs between the present (2018) and the time right after the Revolutionary War (1787).

In the present, Harry Haristeen
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an interesting mystery set in two time periods - present day and 1787. There are suspicious murders in both time periods. In the present day scenario Harry Harristeen and her pets - cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter (love this name for a cat) and two dogs Tucker and Pirate - investigate both the present day and the 1787 murders. The talking animals are adorable - I enjoyed them. The setting is against a backdrop of an annual Hounds F4R Heroes beagle and basset hunting competition at an estate ...more
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
As a cozy mystery, Whiskers in the Dark may seem cute with cats and dogs that talk to one another and try to help their person, Mary Minor Haristeen (known affectionately as Harry), when trouble comes her way. Having read most of Rita Mae Brown’s 28 books in this series, I have grown quite fond of Harry, her cats Pewter and Mrs. Murphy, and her Corgi, Tee Tucker. Now there is a new pup in the family as well, Pirate. We don’t see much at all of Harry’s veterinarian husband Fair in this one, b ...more
Aimée Morrison
Jul 28, 2020 rated it did not like it
The only mystery worth solving in this book is the question of how it came to be published.

It’s not that the central mystery was actually two central mysteries, that never seemed to touch one another across the 240-year time gap, a squandering of the work the reader puts in over 300 pages alternating between two Virginia plantations in the 18th century and a 514 acre beagle club in the current day, waiting for the payoff when the two storylines converge. They don’t. Weird choice, Brown, but okay
Bam cooks the books ;-)
In the 28th outing of this mystery series set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, 'Harry' Haristeen and her friend Susan have joined a crew of workers who are cleaning up the weather-damaged site belonging to the National Beagle Club of America in Aldie, Virginia which is about to host an annual competition put on by Hounds F4R Heroes. Just days before the event occurs, one of the volunteer workers is found brutally murdered, but his wife insists the annual event must go on. When another de ...more
Kate Baxter
3.5/5 stars

Four murders, two time periods, a lovely Virginia estate, a hunting hound competition and a bunch of retired former members of the diplomatic corps, military and CIA. Sound interesting? Sure enough, it truly was.

A fully clothed African American woman's body bedecked with a stunning pearl necklace and pearl earrings surrounded by diamonds, had been hastily buried atop two freshly buried caskets...back in 1787 in the local graveyard. In 2018, with so little information on which to draw,
Jun 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
I rarely DNF a book--maybe twice in several years--but I couldn't get past p. 30. The first rule of writing is, don't bore the reader, either with meaningless chit-chat between characters or by using dialogue to provide the reader with backstory or historical detail both characters already know. (It's nice the two women cutting wood know exactly how to safely use a chainsaw, but do I need to be told in an aside that this is how one does it?) This is supposed to be a mystery, but the only mystery ...more
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was a disappointment. I very much enjoyed the earlier mysteries in this series for the banter between the animals and their somewhat limited interaction with their humans, to get the humans on the right track to solve the murders. Now, the books have two storylines going, one present day and one taking place in the 1700s, and the animals are almost forgotten. The author also raises the problems of social injustices and politics, both then and now. Not what I am looking for in a cozy my ...more
Coralee Hicks
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rita Mae Brown is so much more than just a writer of mysteries. Social commentator, rabble rousing feminist, and long time resident of Virginia. She brings a great depth to her long running Mrs Murphy series. All lovers of this series know it is co-authored by Sneaky Pie Brown (her cat.)

The 28th volume of the Mrs Murphy Mysteries is set primarily at the headquarters of the National Beagle Club in Aldie VA. The Beagle club will soon be hosting a fundraiser called Hounds F4r Heroes. This is an act
Jordan Stivers
May 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: net-galley, mystery
I just really didn't like it. For a cozy mystery, it's neither cozy or much of a mystery. A significant amount of the story was focused on teaching the reader historical facts about American history and how hound hunting works. The mystery didn't even begin until I was one-third into the book and even then it seemed to remain on the back burner until the last 20 pages or so. I really enjoyed the animals and thought the way the author wrote their dialogue alongside the humans was really neat but ...more
Merrilee Gibson
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of the Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown from the very beginning, and I always look forward to the latest story.

As with several recent Mrs. Murphy books, this one features a dual story line: a new, current story in April, 2018, the other an ongoing story from September 1787, resulting in a multi-layered, multi-century piece that brings historical perspective to the present day.

The historical material is thought-provoking. For me, it strikes a chord as m
Rita Mae Brown has a very loyal following. Her mysteries have been enjoyed and loved for years.
Her characters have been adopted by readers. Especially endearing to them are the chattering animals.

This book fits the Amateur Sleuth genre, but has elements of a harder, classic mystery. With elements of historical fiction, political intrigue, it tells the tale of two time periods. The reader does have to focus and may need to read between the lines. In the end, each reader must draw their own ethica
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found an easy to read text and a nice flow between the the two time periods. Very little about animals for which I read the series. There are a number of excellent pictures showing some of the events. The graveyard near St Luke's church is vandalized an in the grave an unburied skeleton is found with a rope of pearls around her neck.

Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen joins the volunteers at Aldie, the National Beagle Club for spring clean up before the trials. There was a damaging spring storm that
John Presler
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mary Minor "Harry" Harristeen and her best friend, Susan Tucker, have traveled to northern Virginia to help with a clean-up effort at a local Beagle club in preparation for the annual Hounds for Heroes benefit event. The weather is definitely not cooperating and the hunt trails are in a real mess. While preparing to move a large tree root, Jason Holzknect, one of the volunteers and a club member, goes to get a tractor to haul the tree roots away from the trail area. When Jason fails to return, t ...more
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am now hooked on the parallel story that runs in the last few Mrs. Murphy books about the families back in the 1700's. In this story, I was more interested in them than the goings on of Harry and Susan at the hound hunting contest. Funny how things change. The first time the story was introduced, I remember feeling a mild annoyance that the antics of Mrs. Murphy, Tucker and Pewter were being interrupted but it has grown on me to the point that I look forward to reading the latest chapter of th ...more
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Once again Miss Rita Mae has taken me on a journey of adventure and exploration into an amazing mystery. I've spent the last 24 hours reading it, because it was too good to put down. The ending will remain a mystery until you also pick up this book. ...more
Jan 17, 2020 rated it liked it
This is more historical fiction than cozy mystery. There are two stories--one in the past and one in the present. Both end with a cliffhanger. They are connected by a necklace and a church. The animals in this story talk to each other, same as the Sister Jane series. This one has beagle and basset hound hunts, which were interesting.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Whiskers in the Dark by Rita Mae Brown has two murders—one current day and one from the eighteenth century. I loved all the animals written about and involved in this story. It took me a bit to get fully invested in the storyline, and there were several characters to keep track of, but it was relatively easy to follow. The mystery held my interest. I liked the way the author unfolded the story from current day 2018 and the older story in 1787. I enjoyed the characters in the 1787 setting and the ...more
Tracy Cavanah
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A massive nor’easter has hit northern Virginia, where Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen joins groundskeeping efforts at the National Beagle Club at Aldie as the date for its springtime Hounds for Heroes veterans’ benefit approaches. Harry’s fellow volunteers, including her oldest friend, Susan Tucker, comprise a spirited group of hunting enthusiasts, some former service members themselves. But things take a sinister turn when, after a routine tree cleanup along the Club’s hunting trails, retired for ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arcs
This is the 28th book in the Mrs. Murphy mystery series.

I should have gone with my first instinct and passed this ARC right on by. I knew I might not like talking animals in my stories and I was right. But there was so much more wrong with this than the talking animals. The author used this as a study in American History and did a pretty good job of shoving a whole lot of it down our throats every chance that came around.

History has its place in a story, I think. But I don’t think I need to reli
Phyllis Barlow
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I always enjoy Sneaky Pie mysteries, but this one not as much as the others. Usually I don't really care for the switch between modern day and 18th century (even though I have learned some American History in this.) This time I thought the 18th century part was better than the modern story line.
I know RMB has strong political views, but she's letting some of them show too much in her books. She needs to remember who her target audience is; Southern women who live in the Bible Belt. I took extre
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
It is pure delight to visit Harry, best friend Susan, and Harry’s pets and horses! The setting is interesting, with the backdrop of hunting to raise funds for a worthy cause, Hounds F4R Heroes, present day Crozet, historical events, and the intriguing mysteries occurring before and after the hunts.

We visit Aldie, VA, as Susan, Harry, and a group of huntsmen prepare the National Beagle Club of America for the upcoming event that will raise money for military veterans to have sports events. Anythi
Karen Seibert-Combs
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another investigating adventure for Harry Harristeen and her four four legged companions and fellow investigators. Harry is helping to clean up the grounds of the National Beagle Club Grounds to prepare for the Hounds F4 Heroes competition event. Harry discovers the body of a committee member with his throat slit. Harry is convinced that the murderer is another committee member and much to her companions' chagrin she begins investigating. Meanwhile, at Harry's church a disturbed grave leads to t ...more
Diane Hernandez
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Set at a National Beagle Association event, Whiskers in the Dark is another satisfying entry in the Mrs. Murphy cat cozy mystery series.

Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, crime solving cats, plus Tee Tucker, a Corgi dog, and Pirate, an Irish Wolfhound puppy, get clues to two mysteries from a ghostly beagle only they can see. In current day, a man is found murdered before the annual Hounds for Heroes benefit hunt. Then, a woman’s skeleton from the 1780s is found with a broken neck and wearing an expensive n
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This mystery cuts back and forth between an historic antebellum cast of characters and a current storyline featuring amateur detective “Harry” Harristeen and her band of pets. Even with the interwoven plot, each side of the story fell a little short as if they did not have enough substance to stand on their own. I did appreciate that one storyline was left open at the end of the book, and the illustrations are a nice touch—I wish more adult authors would follow suit.
Sonia Hipple
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Reading this book was like watching an episode of a sitcom in the middle of a season. The character descriptions given at the beginning of the novel seemed to be an attempt to make up for the lack of depth in each character. Maybe I need to read the other 27 books in this series for it to be more meaningful. Or maybe this "meow-der" mystery genre is just not for me. ...more
Bethany Vaughn
I've never read a cozy mystery before, and I thought this one was sweet. I enjoyed the dual timelines and found the investigations in both to be enjoyable. I wasn't as satisfied by the ending as I would hope to be, but overall it was an entertaining read! ...more
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Always love the little history in a story. The animals make for an interesting read. A murder mystery that is relaxing to read. But I this case, does anyone really get punished for murder. We will never know.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime, abandoned
I am sick to death of this spoiled lesbian’s genteel portrayal of slavery as an out-of-date but benign institution.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the twists and turns and how they were highlighted with trips to the past
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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

Other books in the series

Mrs. Murphy (1 - 10 of 31 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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