Claws and Effect by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown


Cozy MysteryThe Third Three Mrs. Murphy Mysteries in One Volume The Third Three Mrs. Murphy Mysteries in One Volume: Cat on the Scent; Pawing Through the Past; Claws and EffectRita Mae Brown; Wings 2007WorldCatIt’s a cold February in Crozet, Virginia. The Fox Hunt season is in swing. Otherwise things are rather blah. Harry Haristeen is working in the post office when Big Mim, one of the richest and most influential women in Albemarle County, comes in for her mail. She is annoyed by a chain letter – the Sister Sophonisba will bring good fortune to anyone who donates $5 to the local hospital. The conversation soon centers around the hospital, especially after the cranky head of maintenance drops by for his mail. He’s mean and rude, but has worked at the hospital for close to 20 years and is good at what he does.

Unfortunately, a day or two later, he is killed down in the basement of the hospital in one of the engine rooms. He is found by one of the night maintenance employees, his head bashed in. Harry and her friends, Tucker the Corgi dog and Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, her cats, are curious as to what happened. Did the man upset someone else that much? Most people didn’t like him, but he knew the machinery at the hospital better than anyone. Although Sheriff Rick Shaw and Harry’s friend, Deputy Cynthia Cooper, tell Harry to leave the investigation to them, she still has to check things out herself.

When one of the doctors get shot after a Hunt at Harry’s, the situation gets worse. How are these two murders related? Everyone investigation believes they are, but don’t have a reason. Are there black market drugs or organs being shipped through Crozet Hospital? Is there something more sinister?

Not only is the murder the story in Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown’s cozy mystery story. The people of Crozet and their relationships also are important side stories in Claws and Effect. Little Mim Sanburne, close to Harry’s age, has decided to run against her father for mayor of Crozet. He has run unopposed for the job for a many years now. Little Mim is asking for support but Harry and the other citizens of Crozet she approaches have to decide if that’s what they’d like to see happen to the town. Crozet has prospered without growing too big over the past few years. Why should they change a good government?

Although it is a smaller part of Claws and Effect, Harry’s relationship with Fair, her ex-husband, is flourishing. They are dating. Fair is still frustrated when she doesn’t share with him; she doesn’t mention her head injury until he returns from a veterinary conference he attended. She knows she loves him; she doesn’t know if she can forgive him or if she’s “in love” with him.

The mystery is interesting, but never quite grabs hold. I didn’t guess “who done it”, but neither did I try very hard. Instead I just enjoyed my visit to Crozet in Claws and Effect. If you’ve read others in the series, Rita Mae Brown gets in one or two comments about the problems with large government and for animal rescue. Both of those causes are a small, ongoing theme in this series. It’s not overly annoying, but can be distracting.

Mrs. Murphy series at Stop! You’re Killing Me!
More books by Rita Mae Brown

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