It’s no secret that cats are a mystery writer’s best friend. Just ask the bestselling team of Rita Mae Brown and her furry partner, Sneaky Pie Brown, back on the prowl with another unforgettable whodunit. This time a controversial miracle in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains sparks religious fervor–and a suspicious death. Now the indefatigable felines Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, along with the dogged corgi Tee Tucker, must trust their animal instincts to sniff out the worst of human nature....
With the holidays approaching, Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen and her best friend, Susan Tucker, take a much-needed time-out at the mountain monastery of Mount Carmel. There, under the benevolent gaze of the statue of the Virgin Mary, their worldly worries are soon overshadowed. For in front of their very eyes the statue begins to cry tears of blood.
Legend has it that Mary’s crimson tears are harbingers of crises. And though skeptical, the ever-practical Harry can already see one on the horizon. If leaked, news of the so-called miracle could turn the monastery and the town of Crozet into a circus. What Harry doesn’t foresee is murder....
When Susan’s great-uncle Thomas, a resident monk, is found frozen to death at the base of the statue, foul play is ruled out–at first. But at Harry’s urging, the body is exhumed for an autopsy. There’s just one problem: the coffin is empty. That’s when Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tucker get involved. Then there’s the shocking revelation of a mystery that has perplexed the citizens of Crozet for ages.
With Christmas around the corner and the monastery overrun by the faithful, all Harry’s meddling menagerie can do is stay on her trail as she jumps knee-deep into an unofficial investigation–one that becomes more dangerous when another Crozet citizen meets an untimely demise. In this case it will be a miracle if Harry stays alive....
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Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of Rubyfruit Jungle, In Her Day, Six of One, Southern Discomfort, Sudden Death, High Hearts, Bingo, Starting From Scratch: A Different Kind of Writers' Manual, Venus Envy, Dolley: A Novel of Dolley Madison in Love and War, Riding Shotgun, and Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser. An Emmy nominated screenwriter and a poet, she lives in Afton, VA.
Sneaky Pie Brown, a tiger cat born somewhere in Albemarle County, Virginia, was discovered by Rita Mae Brown at her local SPCA. In addition to Sneaky Pie’s Cookbook for Mystery Lovers, Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie have collaborated on thirteen Mrs. Murphy mysteries: Wish You Were Here; Rest in Pieces; Murder at Monticello; Pay Dirt; Murder, She Meowed; Murder on the Prowl; Cat on the Scent; Pawing Through the Past; Claws and Effect; Catch as Cat Can; The Tail of the Tip-Off; Whisker of Evil; and Cat’s Eyewitness.
A thin trickle of water zigzagged over the Virgin Mary's cold face. She gazed westward from her home on top of the Blue Ridge Mountains, between Afton Gap and Humpback Mountain. Her elevation approached two thousand two hundred feet. The fertile expanse of the Shenandoah Valley spread below, rolling westward to the Allegheny Mountains. The Valley, made immortal by the military genius of Stonewall Jackson, had been beloved of the Native Americans long before the European immigrants, refugees, and mountebanks ever beheld its calming beauty.
Had the Blessed Virgin Mother been able to turn her head and look east, undulating hills traversed with ravines and ridges stopping at the Southwest Range would have delighted her eyes. The last spur of the Appalachian Mountain chain, the Southwest Range gives way on its eastern slopes to land with a gentle roll. These rich fields and forests drop until the Fall Line, the true geographic boundary between low country and up-country, between sandy soils, red clay, and loam mixtures. This line also divided the Iroquois-speaking peoples from the Sioux-speaking peoples. Neither side liked the other much, warfare and raids occurring with savage regularity. Into this political hot zone trooped the English, the first surviving colony founded in 1607. Those that lived, learned.
The conclusion of the Revolutionary War in 1781, one hundred and seventy-four years after Jamestown was founded, unleashed an exuberance of trade, exploration, birthrate, and optimism. Even the fierce Monocan tribe and their allies, who had kept the whites from building safe communities ever westward of the Fall Line, couldn't hold them back.
The land on which Mary stood was settled in 1794 by Catholics more comfortable on the crest of the mountains than walking among their hustling Protestant neighbors in Richmond or the Tidewater. They built a log chapel. The land and altitude were good for apples. Orchards flourished. After the Constitutional Convention, the new Constitution made crystal clear the separation between church and state. Many of the apple-growing Catholics moved down the mountain into Nelson and Albemarle Counties on the eastern slopes, Augusta County on the western slopes. Nestled in the valleys, the temperature warmer, the winds less fierce than on the mountaintop, the former religious refugees prospered.
The hard-core mountain people, many of them distillers of clear liquor--the mountain streams being wonderful for such endeavors--stayed in the hollows. They didn't want to live on a mountaintop.
Finally in 1866 a war-weary Confederate captain founded a monastic order based on the Carmelites. He called it Mt. Carmel after the original in Palestine. Carmelite orders were being founded in the north after the War Between the States. Captain Ainsly was defiant and remained independent of the international monastic order even though he followed their rules. Instead of being known as Whitefriars, the monks on Afton Mountain were called Greyfriars because of their gray wool robes, an echo of their uniform color.
The monastery itself was not open to the public. The dairy, the chandler's building, the food building with honey and jams, and the ironmonger's forge were open, though, as were the exquisite gardens. The products were made by the monks themselves. Applejack was their biggest seller. Made on the grounds from apples grown in the old orchards, the brothers took special care with their distillery. Folks said Greyfriars' applejack could kick one harder than a mule.
The Virgin Mary stood on the highest point of land, the spring gardens nestled below her. She was carved from native soapstone by another Confederate veteran sick of war and worldly corruption. The Blessed Virgin Mother radiated a sorrow, a forgiveness that touched many who looked upon her. The stones leading to her, worn concave from many feet, bore testimony to her grace and power.
On this day, November 24, Thanksgiving, snow settled in the folds of her raiment. It covered the earth down to a thousand feet above sea level. Below that, freezing rain pelted farm and forest.
Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen had driven up before the rain reached the eastern meadows. But as she squinted upward into a leaden sky, she knew getting down Afton Mountain would take a steady hand and a steady foot, no jamming on the brakes.
Her three dearest companions--Mrs. Murphy, a tiger cat, Pewter, a gray cat, and Tee Tucker, a brave corgi--had smelled the shift in the weather before their human friend knew it was coming. Confident in her driving ability, Harry wouldn't have turned back even if she had foreseen the change. She was determined to spend an hour on the mountain, alone and in thought, before plunging into Thanksgiving cheer. She'd quit her job as postmistress after sixteen years because the U.S. Postal Service was building a large, modern post office in Crozet by the railroad track. In this fit of improvement, the bigwigs decided that Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tucker could no longer "work" with her. How could she live without the cats and dog? How could millions of Americans sit in windowless cubicles without even a bird to keep them connected to real life? Harry couldn't live like that. Not yet forty, she felt a disquieting alienation from so-called modern life. What seemed vital to others, like wading through their e-mail, seemed fake to her. Harry was at a crossroads, not sure which way to jump.
The dear older woman she worked with, Miranda Hogendobber, walked out when she did. But Miranda had her deceased husband's retirement to draw upon; she'd been frugal and was in good shape.
Harry wasn't in good shape financially. Taxes crept upward like kudzu threatening to choke her small farm profits, in particular, and ultimately free enterprise, in general. Services became ever more expensive and gas prices bounced up and down like a basketball in an NBA game.
On top of those worries was her ex-husband, Fair Haristeen, who still loved her and had made significant amends for what Harry saw as bad behavior. Fair had grown up and wanted her back, wanted a mature bond. He was handsome. Harry had a weak spot for a handsome man. Fair qualified at six five, blond hair, all muscle. An equine veterinarian, he specialized in reproduction. They both shared a profound love of horses.
Harry, at last, had made peace with the bombshell Fair had dallied with four years back when their marriage blew up. Olivia "BoomBoom" Craycroft slew men the way longhaired Samson slew his enemies. BoomBoom had enjoyed Fair's impressive physique and his Virginia gentleman ways, but she bored easily, soon dismissing him. "Think of this as recess from class," were her exact words. For all of BoomBoom's heartlessness with men where romance was concerned, she loved animals, was a good athlete, and demonstrated great community spirit. In a word, she was fabulous, until you slept with her or if you were the woman left in the dust by your boyfriend or husband.
As Harry stared up at the unearthly face of the Virgin, she shivered. Tucker, at her feet, shook off the thickening snow.
"She's beautiful," the corgi said.
Harry bent down, patting the glossy head. "Bet you think I'm crazy standing out here. Probably am."
Tucker lifted her nose, breathed deeply. "Susan." The little dog took off toward the enticing scent, skidding to a halt about forty yards away where a curved stone bench overlooked The Valley. The bench, situated on a winding path below the statue, was hidden from view if one was standing in front of the Virgin Mary.
The Valley was usually colder than the eastern slopes. Snow was falling there, a patchwork quilt of white, beige, and corn stubble two thousand feet below.
"Tucker," Susan said, surprised. "Where's Mom?"
Harry, pursuing her dog, slipped along the walkway between tall magnificent English boxwoods, only to be equally surprised when she saw her best friend. "Susan, what are you doing here?"
"I could ask you the same thing," Susan replied, smiling.
Harry brushed off the snow to sit next to Susan. Tucker wedged between them. "I'm here because I, well, I need help. I know the Blessed Virgin Mother has always been reputed to have powers--the statue, I mean. Miranda says whenever times get tough she comes up here and talks with Mary."
"Girl talk." Susan smiled, her auburn hair peeking out from underneath her lad's cap.
"Wish she could talk. I'd like to hear that Jesus wasn't perfect." Harry sighed. "It's too hard having perfect Gods--you know, God the Father, God the Son, and I have no idea who or what the Holy Ghost is. I mean it," she said as Susan laughed. "You went to Bible school in the summers, same as I did; we suffered through two years of catechism together. We only made Confirmation because Reverend Jones took pity on us. I can recite the Nicene Creed but I still can't tell you why I'm supposed to care about it. What is the Holy Ghost?" She threw up her hands, red gloves bright against the gloom. "But I understand Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother. She's one of us; oh, better, but still, she's one of us."
"Yes." Susan reached for her friend's hand, her tan glove twining with the red. "I talk to her, too.
Questions. Life. Big questions. Little questions." Susan shrugged.
"The questions get bigger as we get older, don't you think?"
Harry took a deep breath, the air scouring her lungs. "I'm here because I don't know what I'm doing. I feel dumb and maybe I really am dumb. And Fair asked me to marry him again."
"Ah." Susan smiled.
"That means you think it's a good idea."
"I'm glad he loves you. You're worth loving." She squeezed Harry's hand.
"Susan." Tears filled Harry's eyes, for kindness and praise affecte...
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Buchbeschreibung Bantam, 2005. Gebundene Ausgabe. Buchzustand: Sehr gut. 304 Seiten Bantam 2005 : Michael Gellatly - gb + Su 0B-I2U5-4YLO Sprache: Englisch Gewicht in Gramm: 499. Artikel-Nr. 11098
Buchbeschreibung Bantam, 2005. Hardback in Dust Wrapper. | 9¼" x 6¼". 287pp. Cover art by Jack Unruh. | First Edition (First Printing). For more photos or information, use the «Ask Bookseller» button and I'll be pleased to help. The book is in stock and ships from the rustic nirvana of Peasedown St. John, near Bath, England from a long-established bookseller - guaranteed by my reputation and the UK Distance Selling Act. Remember! BUYING THIS BOOK means my Jack Russells get their supper! Condition :: Very Good - in Very Good DJ. Edges of DJ somewhat ruffled. Remnants of a sticker to the ffep. Artikel-Nr. 159047
Buchbeschreibung New York, Bantam Books, 2005. Halbleinen mit Schutzumschlag. Buchzustand: Gut. Erstausgabe.. XI 287 Seiten mit Illustrationen von Michael Gellatley. 23,5 cm. Sehr guter Zustand. - The 12th novel in this bestselling cozy series from Brown and her feline collaborator (after 2004's Whisker of Evil) offers the usual irresistible mix of talking animals and a baffling murder or two. - Rita Mae Brown (* 28. November 1944 in Hanover, Pennsylvania) ist eine US-amerikanische Schriftstellerin und frühere Aktivistin in der lesbischen Frauenbewegung der USA. Zu Beginn ihrer schriftstellerischen Laufbahn verfasste sie vor allem feministische Bücher, seit Anfang der 1990er Jahre sind es vor allem Kriminalromane, obschon auch noch andersgeartete Werke erscheinen. Leben: Rita Mae Brown wurde als uneheliches Kind in Hanover, Pennsylvania geboren und bald nach ihrer Geburt von Verwandten ihrer leiblichen Mutter adoptiert. Bis ihre Familie im Sommer 1955 nach Fort Lauderdale, Florida umsiedelte, wuchs Brown in York, Pennsylvania auf. Sie studierte an der University of Florida und in New York Anglistik und Kinematographie. Sie war aktiv in der Frauenbewegung; 1970 war sie eine der Begründerinnen der Radicalesbians. (Zu ihrer Rolle in deren Vorgeschichte siehe Lavender Menace.) Berühmt wurde sie mit Rubinroter Dschungel und nicht zuletzt durch ihre Kriminalromane mit der Tigerkatze Sneaky Pie Brown als Koautorin. Auf deutsch sind inzwischen sechzehn Romane über die Abenteuer der Tigerkatze Mrs. Murphy, ihrer Freundin, der Hündin Tee Tucker und ihr Frauchen Mary Minor Haristeen, genannt Harry, erschienen. Außerdem gibt es eine Verfilmung unter dem Titel „Detektiv auf Samtpfoten". Die Handlung spielt in Crozet, Virginia. Rita Mae Brown führte Beziehungen mit Martina Navrátilová (die sie in ihrem Roman Die Tennisspielerin aufarbeitete), der Schriftstellerin Fannie Flagg und der Politikerin Elaine Noble. Rita Mae Brown lebt als Schriftstellerin und Drehbuchautorin auf einer Farm in Charlottesville, Virginia. Aus: wikipedia-Rita_Mae_Brown Sprache: Englisch Gewicht in Gramm: 760 Originalsprache, Amerikanische Literatur des 20. Jahrhunderts, Book is written in english, Americana, Amerikanistik, Spiritualität, Selbstentwicklung, Selbstbewußtsein, Selbsterziehung, Amerikanische Philosophie des 20. Jahrhunderts, Selbsterfahrung, Selbstverwirklichung, Selbsthilfe, Psychologie, Philosophie, Amerikaner, Psyche, Krimis, Kriminalliteratur, Krimi, Kriminalistik, Verbrechen, Kriminalfall, Kriminalroman, Kriminalromane, Kriminalfälle, Kriminalfilme, Psychologischer Kriminalroman, Kriminalerzählungen, Kriminalbeamter, Katze, Privat Eye, Cats. Artikel-Nr. 39773