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Probable Claws: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery

(Mrs. Murphy #27)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  994 ratings  ·  165 reviews
Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown return to Albemarle County, Virgina, as tangled mysteries past and present converge in the bestselling Mrs. Murphy series.

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

With the New Year just around the corner, winter has transformed the cozy Blue Ridge
Paperback, 432 pages
Published April 23rd 2019 by Bantam (first published May 29th 2018)
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 Li'l Owl
I love this fun and exciting series!!

Probable Claws by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown is the twenty-seventh book of the Mrs. Murphy cozy mystery series.
I read the first novel in this series, Wish You Were Here, many years ago and was immediately drawn by all the characters. By the third book I came to love these clever mysteries and lovable characters with each new instalment.
As always, the storyline drew me in from the very beginning, making it difficult to put down until the mystery w
Bam cooks the books ;-)
I've been a long-time fan of this series set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia which features both human and animal characters. Rita Mae Brown even gives writing credit to her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown, haha. But it looks like I stopped at book #20 in the series, so it was a pleasure to revisit these familiar characters.

This is a very intriguing mystery--a bold murder committed in front of witnesses, including Mary Minor 'Harry' Haristeen, local farmer and the hero of these stories, who can't
Another recently released cozy mystery in the Mrs. Murphy series. I love that her series features Mary Minor "Harry" Haristean and her menagerie of dogs, cats, and horses. The dogs and cats have the fantastic ability to talk to one another and always seem one step ahead of Harry when she is trying to solve a mystery. I felt that their dialogue somehow had lost the wittiness that it usually contained and by the end of the story was very tired of the "big spider" thread. Usually they were much mor ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love myself some Mrs Murphy mysteries. All of the animals crack me up on their adventure. I want a "Fair" of my very own :). Great mystery to solve in this latest RMB novel. I have to admit she stumped me to the very end this time. I enjoy reading her reflections back to the 18th century and the characters of that time. I have always liked the Ewing sisters and their spouses. Great new characters and animal friends in this one. Can't wait to see what's up next for Harry and her furry friends! ...more
Aug 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sneaky Pie, this post is for you. I really enjoy the Mrs. Murphy series, but I have one concern. While each of the characters are engaging and the mystery intriguing, I wish that you would curl up on Rita Maw Brown's lap, purr engagingly, and whisper into her ear that she needs to tone down the constant political commentary. It distracts from the flow of the story. While I agree with most of the views presented, that really isn't the point. Not all readers will. Even if the political comments we ...more
Joy Smith
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
My favorite characters continue to be Mrs. Murphy, Tucker, Pewter, the barn critters--and the spider! And I enjoyed the present story line with Harry and her friends, especially Cooper this time--more than the eighteenth century story line, though I'm impressed by all the research! (I'm learning a lot--also from the author's note.), but I lose track of those characters sometimes. (I appreciate the cast of characters listed in the front as I needed to refer to it.) This story line is continued fr ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Harry" and Deputy Cynthia Cooper watch a motorcyclist gun down architect Gary Gardner. With little to go on besides the fact the motorcyclist wore a black jacket, the police are grateful for any clues--even those provided by Harry's pets. Gary kept building codes for each year, but the 1984 file seems to be missing, and when a skull halts construction at a building site, it dates back to that period. Eventually another murder occurs. The cats, of course, assist in capturing the guilty party.

A l
Debbie Maskus
As a cat lover, I adore this series, but I do have a beef. Brown has too many animals and people, and too much conversation among the animals. The animals seem to act as a Greek chorus in explaining what is happening. Brown does use italics when the animals are speaking, but this disrupts the flow of the story. As usual, Rita Mae Brown utilizes her expertise is filling the book with lengthy and tedious information concerning some aspect of the story. The discussion of building and architecture w ...more
I have been enjoying this series from the start so this is the 27th Sneaky Pie I have read. The draw for me is the present day, in every book. Like a letter from home, I look forward to finding out how life is going for Harry and the animals and various friends and family, of course. My problem with the last book, this one and probably will be for the next one is the two stories in one book. I really have a hard time focusing on two time periods and two story lines. Just my opinion but I would r ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy books are always so good to read! Each book is like a visit with old friends that you have not seen in a while...Harry gets involved with the unexplained murder of her architect friend, Gary Gardner, who is designing a new shed for Harry...and is shot to death righ in front of her and Deputy Cynthia Cooper! Then the killer strkes again...but how and why are the two murders related? Love the way the books go from the present to the past..I always learn at least one th ...more
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A motorcycle roars to a stop in Crozet and the rider shoots at a group of three people standing outside a storefront. And Harry is drawn into another murder investigation. What is the motivation for the killing? Is a second killing linked to the first? Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tucker are entertaining, as always, and now are joined by an Irish Wolfhound puppy. The modern day story is interwoven with the story of early settlers in the area. Their story is equally fascinating and I am anxiously wai ...more
Lindsay Porter
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC from Netgalley and I'm glad I did. I love this series and I eagerly await the next. I normally don't like books that switch back and forth in time but Rita Mae Brown does a fabulous job. I feel like these people are my friends and of course who doesn't love the animals. Definitely 5 stars and please hurry with more! ...more
Karla Cook
I read about half of this book and found myself not caring much how it ended. The modern day murder mystery part was mildly engaging, but I felt like I was handicapped in not having read previous books in the series. I kept having to refer to the list of characters in the front and even then, didn't really understand who everyone was. The 18th century storyline interspersed throughout just made no sense at all in relation to the other story. I did find the pets' conversations amusing. ...more
Sep 12, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book to knock off a “book with a pun in the title” item on a 2020 reading challenge, and I cannot say I would recommend it, but since I did read it here is my review:

this book follows a rather bland woman as she solves the murders of two acquaintances whose deaths she reacts to with the passion of someone mourning a sweater they left behind on an airplane. the killer, when confronted, pulls a glock on her and is defeated when a spider drops from the ceiling, triggering the killer’s a
No wonder this series is so enduring (27 entries so far!), it’s as cozy as a cozy mystery can be and clever to boot. At first, I thought the talking animals would be over-the-top cute but they added a welcomed touch of insight and humor to the process of figuring out who-dun-it. And even though this was my first Mrs. Murphy mystery (Mrs. Murphy is a cat, btw), I didn’t have any trouble keeping up with the characters and plot of the present day story line. I can’t say the same about the 18th-cent ...more
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cosy-mystery
Well what can l say? The animals were the same as usual. Their is a change in Harry and Fair's life a nice one. The 18th century story line was for me was interesting and l am looking forward to reading the next book as it wraps up. The modern day mysteries was okay. But the spider story line went far to long in the book. The other thing l found odd a lot of Cooper in this book,very little of Susan. Makes me wonder if Rita Mae Brown is getting ready to wrap up the series. ...more
Julie Carter
This was a decent mystery, although the animals were not nearly as involved as in the past. Many of the characters that we have come to know and love weren't in the book either, and I feel that the writing style has changed some. Maybe I haven't read one of these books in a while, but the sentences were really choppy, and sometimes they responded with one word. I don't remember that from her other books. This story also contained one of my pet peeves, which is referring to the safety on a Glock. ...more
Benni Taylor
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, arc
Review also posted on my blog:

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This book has content warnings for death, murder, poison, gun violence, physical violence, racist/xenophobic language, and miscarriage/pregnancy loss.

I had expected better of this book than what I got; though it wasn't the worst, overall it was quite disappointing. One thing that is less the book's fault and more my own is that the dual timelines did not work fo
Brenda Freeman
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harry and her animal friends are once again witness to a murder. As they work to solve the crime the story goes back in time to the time of slavery and how the area was during that time. Another great book by RMB and Sneaky Pie.
Rhonda Lomazow
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love love this series how delicious a new pet.thanks #netgaley
Elaine Cook
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
Read this in print (took one renewal). Repeat characters/18th c. storyline from previous Hiss of Death.
Kim Vargas
Oct 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Do not read this book first.

My guess is that part of the reason I did not enjoy it is that I'd had no previous happy experiences with the characters. I understood that going in, and this is not the first series that I jump into halfway. However, I did expect to enjoy the plot and characters without having any previous introduction to them being that I both love cats and mystery.

This turned out to not be the case. The animals were completely irrelevant to solving the mystery, and the mystery its
JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book)
"Harry" Harristeen lives in Crozet, Virginia with her veternarian husband Fair and her assortment of animals, including her felines Pewter and Mrs. Murphy and her Corgi Tucker. She has decided to build a new work shed and she's hired architect Gary Gardner, a good friend, to build it. But when she's standing outside his shop along with Gary and Deputy Cynthia Cooper, a motorcyclist stops and shoots Gary once then drives away. The bullet is perfectly aimed and he quickly dies from the wound.

But w
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-harder-2019
Huh. <- This is how I felt after finishing Probable Claws.

Having read Wish You Were Here last year, I decided to read one of the more recent books in the series this year for a reading challenge.... so I picked out Probable Claws because the title and cover were cute.

Seeing the Cast of Characters list, I had a feeling that I would be a little confused in the beginning and I sort of was. Of course, I knew the main characters but those in the 1700s were totally new to me. Early on, I had a hard ti
Lis Carey
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's start by saying that Mrs. Murphy (tiger cat), Tucker (corgi), and even new recruit Pirate (Irish wolfhound puppy) are amazingly patient with Pewter (fat gray cat). Just saying!

Harry Haristeen is working with architect Gary Gardner on improvements to her barn and workspace, and all seems as peaceful as it ever is around Harry. Then the illusion of peace is shattered as Harry, Gary, and Deputy Cynthia Cooper are standing outside Gary's office. A motorcyclist, completely obscured in bike leat
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been many years since I last read a Rita Mae/Sneaky Pie Brown mystery. One aspect remains the same - in this world, cats and dogs can talk to each other and understand (to varying degrees) what humans say, but the humans are unaware of this. The cats (in particular) usually help solve the crime. New to me, in this book, was that there were two distinct story arcs. The main one, which takes place in the present and has the murders (and talking cats), and a tale about life in post-Revolutiona ...more
Aug 28, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review hurts to write. I grew up reading Rita Mae Brown. As the resident weird kid at my religious middle school, I found refuge in Sneaky Pie, Tee Tucker, and their plucky owner, Harry. She fed my curiosity, my love for nature, and a real appreciation for my hometown, Crozet.
That being said...this is not Rita Mae. This book feels to me like a writer who no longer loves to write. And an editor who doesn't have a decent grasp of the English language. Sloppy grammar, redundant prose, choppy
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I received this through the Early Reviewers giveaway.

I've read a number of Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries and I thoroughly enjoy them. This one was a bit different as it was two separate stories progressing side by side under one cover, but in different eras.

In the current day, "Harry" is working with Gary, a local architect, on designing a new work shed. It is just before the New Year and the area is picture perfect. That is until Gary is shot dead walking out of his office with
Rob Trans
This is the first book I have read of any of the those this author has written. This book contains two stories, one a murder mystery set in the present and the other set during the time when the Articles of Confederation are being discussed in convention and are about to be transformed into the Constitution. In both stories much of the writing is to describe the lives, interactions, and relationships of the mostly well off educated members of society. In both stories there is a tension between b ...more
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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 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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