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

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  3,589 Ratings  ·  127 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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Mar 26, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-mystery
!?! 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.
May 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: murder-mysteries
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
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
Somewhat boring, but also confusing in regards to characters. It was a short lite mystery but the 'cast of characters' page in the beginning is not pretentious, I found it necessary while thinking that it should not have been.
The story seems to offer excuses for marital infidelity and for the sexual use of black women in slavery by white men. I think the author is against those things but messages seem morally wishy-washy, as if the author has an opinion but is willing to try to explain the immo
Peggy Sinden
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everything you ever wanted to know about Thomas Jefferson and more. The book centers on Monticello the family home of Mr. Jefferson and a two hundred year old unsolved murder. It takes a village to track the body found in a slave's house to the family ties deepest secret until now. When the truth comes out it involves all the families connected together by near and far relationships. Add in a cat by the name of Mrs. Murphy, Pewter her fat cat friend and Tucker the family Corgi. Ever wonder what ...more
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
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.
May 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The remains of a body are found buried at Monticello, sparking interest in a 200 year old murder. As Kimball Haines searches for information about the identity of the corpse and the killer, he finds interesting details in local family histories. The body count in Crozet rises quickly as a certain postmistress begins to take interest in Kimball's case.

This is not the best of Rita Mae Brown's mystery series. There are several story lines happening at once, which is not a problem. This is common in
Jennifer Butala
A lot of details about Thomas Jefferson and his bloodline that were confusing and I had to keep going back to see who the secondary characters where.
Lisa Hechesky
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good. First one of the series I've read. I liked it because of the corgi. :)
Hayley Williamson
Waaaay too much normalizing of master-slave relationships for me.
Molly Cline
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is book 3 of this series however you DO NOT have to read these in order; but I feel you could understand everyone's relationships better if you at least read the first book in this series as it explains who every one is and who everyone is within the community. I had to skip book 2 and read this one and I was a little 'lost' as to 'why' the main character had help now in the post office and when did she get a horse farm? But those aren't 'major' issues and was probably addressed in book 2. ...more
Jul 22, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This installment of the Mrs. Murphy series was disappointing. I like reading long series because you get to see the characters grow and change over time. However, in this book, some of the characters did a complete 180 from the last two books. I hate when an author gives up on continuity because they changed their minds about who their characters should be.

I doubt that the things that bothered me would bother a casual reader of the series who is not reading in order, but I like reading books in
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  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
Colleen Morgan
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been really enjoying this series. The little town where everyone knows everyone, and nothing ever happens except for the murders which take place in each book. Who couldn't love rooting for a smart-ass cat and a dippy welsh corgi to save the day?! If only their owner would learn to speak their language!

I really do enjoy these books. I wouldn't be on #3 if I didn't.

But this one did irritate me a bit with all the Thomas Jefferson proselytizing. When all the native Southern characters got in
Sep 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
I had very mixed feelings about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the rationales of the historic and current crimes mirroring each other, and I found the topic of interracial relationships (both past and present) very intriguing. It seemed that the book started off with an attempt to dissect a serious issue while we enjoyed a fun animal filled mystery along the way. The story, however, never seemed to answer any of the questions it raised. I suppose maybe that was the point? Additionally, I kept e ...more
May 31, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story revolves around a body that was found during the restoration - buried under the hearth of a slave cabin. The man was well dressed, had money in his pocket, and was probably white. He had been murdered, hit on the back of his skull with a triangle shaped instrument. The event happened around 1803, when Jefferson was president. (newest coins in his pocket were dated 1803.) Could they solve an old murder? Was there a connection to today? – A special feature of this book (and of all Sneaky ...more
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Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
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
I admit this isn't my usual type of book; however, I am doing a reading challenge to read a book with a cat on the cover! I'd seen the books by Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie Brown around the book stores and libraries for years and thought I'd give one a try.

Still not my thing, sorry to say. The idea of the animals thinking, and "solving" the mystery in the background didn't really work for me. What started out as quaint got silly.

As far as the story and the Monticello / Jefferson connection, that is
Laurel Bradshaw
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audiobook, cats
Reread on audio.

Not a review. These notes are for my own reference and may contain spoilers!

Crozet, Virginia and the Monticello estate. Springtime. At least a year after last book as it mentions Harry is now in the third year since her divorce. She is said to be in her mid-30s.

Fair and Harry are on good terms, and they are going out together (movies) as friends.

Blair Bainbridge is away on a photo-shoot in Africa.

The Rev. Herbert Jones has a new cat Lucy-fur.

Fair and Mim give Harry a new horse -
May 10, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy_mystery, 2010
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
Paul Lunger
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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
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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 26 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)

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