tall tailby Rita Mae Brown

3.5 Stars

Publisher: In this fast-paced mystery by Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown, Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen and her animal friends seek to solve a whodunit rooted in eighteenth-century Virginia—uncovering a shocking secret that refuses to stay buried.

At any moment a perfect summer day in Crozet, Virginia—nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains—might turn stormy and tempestuous, as Harry knows too well when a squall suddenly sweeps in. In a blink, Harry’s pickup nearly collides with a careening red car that then swerves into a ditch. Harry recognizes the dead driver slumped over the vehicle’s steering wheel: Barbara Leader was nurse and confidante to former Virginia governor Sam Holloway.

Though Barbara’s death is ruled a heart attack, dissenting opinions abound. After all, she was the picture of health, which gives Harry and her four-legged companions pause. A baffling break-in at a local business leads Harry to further suspect that a person with malevolent intent lurks just out of sight: Something evil is afoot.

As it happens, Barbara died in the shadow of the local cemetery’s statue of the Avenging Angel. Just below that imposing funereal monument lie the remains of one Francisco Selisse, brutally murdered in 1784. Harry’s present-day sleuthing draws her back to Virginia’s slave-holding past and the hunt for Selisse’s killer. Now it’s up to Harry and her furry detectives—Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tee Tucker—to expose the bitter truth, even if it means staring into the unforgiving eyes of history and cornering a callous killer poised to pounce.

My Review: This is the first book I have read in this series and from what I have read about the other books, this one is a little different. The animals are really not involved in the story much at all. Harry is almost in a collision with a red car during a storm and when she rounds the corner, she finds the car in the ditch and the driver dead. It turns out the driver is the nurse for G-Pop, the governor, her friend Susan’s grandfather. It is originally ruled an accident (heart attack) but then ruled a murder after drugs are found in her system. Parallel to this story is the story of Rachel and Catherine (ancestors), their husbands and some slaves that have been wrongly accused of murder. When there are some other suspicious goings on, the family is a little worried about G-Pop being in danger. Further investigation reveals that Eddie, Susan’s cousin may be trying to hide information that could ruin his chance at the Senate.

The past and present storylines were blended quite well and there was not problem following them. There was not a lot of mystery, but it was an interesting story nonetheless. I will have to check out other books in this series.

I would recommend this story to cozy mystery lovers as well as historical fiction readers.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.