2010: #40 – Murder at Monticello (Rita Mae Brown)

monticello Book #40 was Murder at Monticello, the third book in Rita Mae Brown’s Mrs. Murphy series.  The back of the book reads:

Mrs. Murphy digs into Virginia history–and gets her paws on a killer.

The most popular citizen of Virginia has been dead for nearly 170 years. That hasn’t stopped the good people of tiny Crozet, Virginia, from taking pride in every aspect of Thomas Jefferson’s life. But when an archaeological dig of the slave quarters at Jefferson’s home, Monticello, uncovers a shocking secret, emotions in Crozet run high–dangerously high.

The stunning discovery at Monticello hints a hidden passions and age-old scandals. As postmistress Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and some of Crozet’s Very Best People try to learn the identity of a centuries-old skeleton–and the reason behind the murder–Harry’s tiger cat, Mrs. Murphy, and her canine and feline friends attempt to sniff out a modern-day killer. Mrs. Murphy and corgi Tee Tucker will stick their paws into the darker mysteries of human nature to solve murders old and new–before curiosity can kill the cat–and Harry Haristeen.

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, and Pewter, the pages of them waxing rhapsodic about American history kinda crossed the line for me. I can buy them observing and making comments about human nature (you know, as much as I can buy that animals talk to each other in this way), but I can’t credit them with an extensive knowledge of historical fact. I’m sure I’ll read more of the books in this series, but I’m hoping we get back to the usual mysteries.

Page count: 320 | Approximate word count: 80,000

2009: Undead and Unappreciated (MaryJanice Davidson)
2008: 20th Century Ghosts (Joe Hill)
2007: Plum Lovin’ (Janet Evanovich)
2006: All the Flowers Are Dying (Lawrence Block)
2005: A Kiss of Shadows (Laurell K. Hamilton)

Used in these Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; 2010 Reading From My Shelves Project; Pages Read Challenge Season 2; The TwentyTen Challenge;

One thought on “2010: #40 – Murder at Monticello (Rita Mae Brown)

  • May 6, 2010 at 10:07 am

    I like this series, but I think part of the attraction for me is the setting. Carl’s parents live close to Crozet. Sorry it didn’t work for you.


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