Cover Image: Claws for Alarm

Claws for Alarm

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The new vet, Ben Wagner, in Crozet is found murdered and his Ketamine is missing.  Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and her vet husband Fair find Fair's ketamine is missing from his vet truck.  One of the town's oldest residents, Candida Perez is found dead and her children, Ballard and Constance, are driving everybody crazy fighting over her home and extensive collection of historical documents.  
Some of the documents are found to be forged and the originals missing, escalating their conflict  Harry tries to help them find middle ground, but they fight over everything.
Harry gets help from her corgi, Tee Tucker, her puppy, Pirate, and of course her cats, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter.
Meanwhile, Ben's murder MAY be linked, but how?  
Harry eventually figures it out just a little late and in mortal danger from the murderer
Interspersed are scenes from the 18th century ancestors of present day Crozet, which provide interesting background for the current story..
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The newest novel in this popular series, Claws for Alarm has the dual storyline of the present (2019) and early republic (1789) periods in Crozet, Virginia. While the present-day story is good, the older story isn't much of anything. Possibly it's background for future novels, but as it stands nothing much happens and it could easily be left out.

The present-day story, on the other hand, is excellent and different from others in the series. Here the emphasis is less on the animals and more on the people with questions of heritage and family divisions in the forefront.
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This is book 30 in the Mrs. Murphy series and can be read as a stand alone but you might want to read some of the earlier books to get a firm understanding of the characters, especially the animals.  Ms. Brown has started the duel time line in last 10 books or so and I find them less appealing. The story has husband Fair in a little more prevalent role.  A new vet is moving into town and when he's found dead the police are using Harry's knowledge of animal drugs to help find the killer.
Rita Mae Brown has also been getting more political in the books but I didn't notice it quite so much in this one.   I find her other series, Sister Jane, a little more exciting any more.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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I LOVE this series and was so happy to visit these characters and their town again. The animal characters are such fun. This plot was very engaging and I really liked the two storylines. I would say this is a great addition to the series.  
Many thanks to Random House Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Claws for Alarm by Rita Mae Brown is another Mrs. Murphy mystery. Mrs. Murphy is a cat, which along side her animal cohorts, lived with Fair and Harry, a lovely, if somewhat flawed, human couple. The animals solve the mysteries and hope they can drag the humans along. A lovely young vet named Ben has been killed . . . for no apparent reason. Nothing has been stolen. Well, maybe a couple of vials of ketamine, but that is all. Not enough to sell, really. Then Candida died. Well, she was 90 years old. Her son wanted an autopsy but her daughter refused. She was 90 years old, after all. It was going to be a mess, as all wills tended to be, but there was so much a stake here . . .

This was a novel written in two time periods and a different dimension: the animals. When I first started to read, I found the animals difficult to isolate, but Brown made it so easy that soon I got it and it was easy reading. It was a good, but sad, mystery. The characters were interesting, mostly, and imbued with their own personalities. They spoke like actual people, in their conversations, I mean. It really did take the animals to figure it out. It was a good crime, one that was undetectable without a lot of expensive study. It was a shame people died. The 1789 storyline revealed a lot about slavery without it being a slavery novel. It was interesting. People are interesting and Rita Mae Brown always included many of them. 

I was invited to read a free e-ARC of Claws for Alarm by Bantam, through Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine. #netgalley #bantam #clawsforalarm #ritamaebrown
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For the first time, I had a hard time finishing this mystery by Rita Mae Brown.  I have always enjoyed her mysteries in the past, but this one baffled me.  Ms. Brown goes from present day into the past of the 1700s.  Same families just different times.  I never really understood the connection between the two stories.  The present-day murder finally made sense, but it did not have any ties to the past story except just proving that the families' ancestors still lived in the same area.  
I would recommend this mystery to anyone who enjoys a good mystery and moving from one time period to another.
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Tee Tucker, puppy Pirate, as well as feline sleuths Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and their humans, Harry and Fair are back to solve another mystery in their town of Crozet, Virginia.  During his rounds, Fair Harristeen, the big animal vet in town, decides to check on Ben Wagner, the new vet in town.  However shortly after arriving at his practice, it soon becomes clear something went tragically wrong.  Fair discovers Ben dead, and even more distressing, he has been shot at close range.  Curiously, the only thing missing from his practice that including lots of valuable equipment are a couple of bottles of ketamine, commonly used to tranquilize horses.  When Fair discovers some of his own supply of ketamine has been stolen as well, he starts to wonder if ketamine was the reason Ben was murdered.  When town matriarch, Candida is found dead by her daughter Constance, the feud between Constance and her brother Ballard over their inheritance grows nasty.  The pair will stop at nothing and drag seemingly everyone into their feud.  When a third individual is found dead,  the police, and Fair Harry and their animal sleuths start looking into connections between the three events to see if they might somehow be linked.  Tee Tucker, Pirate, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter may just have it all figured out, if only they could get their humans to listen.  
Claws for Alarm is another resounding success in the long running and delightful mystery series featuring amateur sleuths of both human and animal variety.  This newest addition has a dual time line, much the same as the previous two books in the series, and takes us back to the same area of the country in 1789, to discover the origin of some of the farms and families that exist around town today.  I found the dual timeline to be fascinating and was seamlessly interwoven into the larger narrative. The clues to mysteries both past and present are unveiled a little at a time, allowing fellow amateur sleuths and readers to solve the case right alongside our detectives.  Puppy Pirate is a great addition to Harry and Fair's motley crew of animals and added a healthy dose of comical antics to the mix.  He might just be my new favorite, but don't tell Mrs. Murphy.  Claws for Alarm is told from Fair's perspective, which is an interesting switch, as the other 29 books in the series are told from Harry's perspective. I highly recommend Claws for Alarm to readers looking for a new addictive cozy mystery series full of delightful characters, both human and animal, as well as murder, mayhem and history.
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Thank you to Random House Publishing and NetGalley for this advanced readers copy. I nearly DNFd this book many times over. It was just plain old boring. The "shocking' reveal at the end didn't seem so shocking. There was another story happening at the same time in the past that should've been its own book. Also, that story had an incident that could've had an interesting plot that was never resolved.

This author is a good writer, but the content was not fun or engaging. The animals were the best part of the story and there was not enough dialogue from them. This was the first book I've read in this series and I don't anticipate reading any others. I rarely give 2 stars, but I can't justify 3 in this case.
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Rita Mae Brown continues her Mrs Murphy mysteries with Claws for Alarm.  A vet is killed and his ketamine stolen, followed by another death, a well known senior citizen. Her children quarrel over the estate which contains valuable historic papers.  Whodunit? Will the animal squad with Mrs. Murphy the cat in the lead find the murderer?  Family spats are bitter.  Enjoy this cozy.
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Once again we get to visit with Harry and friends as she solves the latest murder in Crozet.  These characters are like family to me and this book did not disappoint me.

Harry with the help of of Fair as well as Mrs. Murphy, Tee and Pewter, works to solve the death of the new vet.  

It's an entertaining read and I look forward to the next one in the series.
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I have been reading the Mrs. Murphy series since Wish you were here 
 came out in 1990. This is the 30th in this long running, very popular series and I was not let down.. The story goes back and forth between 2019 and 1789 telling about the farms, the horses and the people of the land.
As always the animals are always there to help the story/ readers in on what the humans may miss.I love the new puppy Pirate. Can they make Mom "Harry" understand the connect between the murder of  new Vet Ben and the death of a beloved matriarch?
My thanks to NetGalley,  Bantam publishing and the author for the opportunity to read and review this book which released on October 12th, 2021
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Fair Harristeen, big animal vet, is making his rounds one day and decides to drop in on new vet Ben Wagner, to see how he's doing.  But when he arrives, he finds Ben dead, and immediately calls the police.  It seems Ben has been shot at close range, and the only thing missing from his practice are bottles of ketamine, used to tranquilize horses.  But who would want them and why?

Meanwhile his wife Harry is visiting her friend Nancy, an antiques dealer, when in walks elderly Candida Perez, who likes nothing more than to talk, and especially about her past.  With her are her children, Constance and Ballard,  After a lengthy talk with a young woman, Ballard hustles his mother out, but not before greeting Nancy and Harry.  Candida mentions as how she wants to re-read her precious family letters, some dated from centuries ago.  But while perusing them alone, Constance comes across her mother, face down at her desk, dead.  After Ballard and Constance argue about autopsies and burial, the people of the town are drawn into their squabbles about the will and their home, Lone Pine, which has also been in the family for centuries.  

Even though the upkeep is going to cost more than either can afford, Constance is determined to keep the home, while Ballard sees no way out but to sell it.  They do employ someone to catalog the letters and put them in order, but even this distresses the pair.  When there's another murder, this time the police are taking a more serious look at everything that's gone on before, and wonders what to make of it.  So does Harry, especially when she's unwittingly drawn deeper into the investigation...

This is the thirtieth book in the series and I practically devour them when they come out.  I love mysteries within mysteries, and tales within them as well.  Not only are we reading about Harry and her friends in our time, but the book takes us back to the original owners of the farms the families are living on, this time back to 1789, after the American Revolution is recently over, and the struggles the families have there to make their lives in the new country.  It's fascinating fiction, and it ties in with the present day so seamlessly that you don't even mind going back and forth in time, as it were.

In our present day, Harry can't help but be curious as to why Ben was murdered, and she shares those questions with her friends Susan, Nancy, and Tazia.  Why ketamine?  And why would he be murdered over such a small thing when there were thousands of dollars of equipment that wasn't touched?  It even gives Fair pause as he is wondering along with his wife.

Ah, but the pets -- Mrs, Murphy, Tucker, Pewter, and puppy Pirate are wondering themselves, but they are not only trying to figure out, but might hold the key to everything.  If only they can get their mother Harry to listen...

The clues are there all along, but they are given to us sparingly and we must use our own minds to put the pieces together.  Ms. Brown is one of my favorite novelists; her books are so well-written and so well thought out that I am always amazed at how she manages to write stories that are centuries apart but moments together in time.  

When we come to the end of the book and the killer is revealed, it is a motive as old as time itself.  Having been faced with the same motive from someone close at hand, it never surprises me anymore how people can allow their lives to be twisted like this.  But it is what it is, and the book not only gives us a satisfactory ending, it gives us a terrific story to read.  Highly recommended.
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First time that I have read a book from this series. Quite a few characters to keep track of. Entertaining story.
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Harry returns in a dual mystery. Fair finds a new vet dead, probably murdered. Candida Perez a 90+ matriarch is found dead – is it natural or murder? What could these have in common? And why does Candida’s daughter want the military prints back.  

It’s always good to see Harry and Fair back and of course the animals Great setting. Good neighbors.
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CLAWS FOR ALARM by Rita Mae Brown is A Mrs. Murphy mystery – actually number 30 in the series involving a dog named Tucker, and two cats, Pewter and Mrs. Murphy. I generally enjoy spending time with their owners: Harry, former postal worker, and her husband, Fair who is the local vet in Crozet, Virginia. However, it seems like Rita Mae Brown and her "co-author" Sneaky Pie Brown are sadly running out of ideas. The dialogue and text here felt repetitive and the story itself, involving the death of a local matriarch and subsequent squabbling by her adult children, was not particularly original or inventive.  Combining the modern day happening with a mystery set far in the past generally adds confusion and encourages readers to focus on one storyline or the other. Earlier tales in this series are more engaging and worth a look.
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I read Claws For Alarm in two days. I love this series. This one wasn't as good as the others but still readable. I felt it was very choppy. We were just dumped into these new people and I missed the familiarity of our other friends. The jumps back weren't as interesting either. I know that retelling how our nation was formed is important but I miss the relationships more. Don't get me wrong I will definitely continue reading the series but this one was a bit flat.
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I am a Rita Mae Brown fan and enjoy all of her mysteries-although the last few have incorporated the alternate time lines which I find difficult to enjoy  I hope she returns to the former format.
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The 2019 mystery was what I was expecting from Rita Mae Brown.  She gives just enough clues to keep reader actively trying to figure out “who done” it without making it too easy.  
The two plot lines left me confused.  I kept looking for clues and trying to figure out what the 1789 storyline worked into the 2019 storyline.  I tried making the connection to the skeletons found and kept waiting for the correlation in the 2019 storyline.  As the animals would smell old skin and I would keep reading through the 1789 storyline for mentions of the manuscripts and how it related back to the 2019 storyline.  As I finished reading, I still had many questions about events that happened in 1789.  The story felt unfinished. 
I would like to thank NetGalley, Rita Mae Brown and Bantam Books for my ARC of Claws for Alarm: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery.
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Fun, quick read that the reader can quickly lose themselves in and find that dinner has come and gone.  The  story is well plotted, characters believable, and the book is easy to recommend.
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Again, Rita Mae Brown has melded two historical mysteries into one.  I always learn new snippets of our history along with reading a fun mystery with interesting characters.  Being from the West it is interesting to see what makes Southerners who they are.  Keep the books coming, please.
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