Sneaky Pie for President: A NovelSneaky Pie for President by Rita Mae Brown

I gave this book 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads

I think it’s fun that, in an election year, RMB really tried to get into the brains of critters and what issues they might get behind. Sneaky Pie and friends, both wild and domesticated, debate issues of conservation, fair and healthy farming, taxes, coupling, water quality, health care, and many other hot topics. The most interesting part was about much the farm industry, wildlife & sporting, and companion animals make or save humans in terms of dollars. It’s more fun to hear the issues framed in the mouth of a cat, who I would probably vote for if she were really running for president. Seriously.

While the concept is a really fun way to frame a slice of politics and I appreciate the plot that leads up to Sneaky Pie announcing her candidacy, but most of the time it felt forced. The author seemed pulled between writing a good fiction story and a cohesive platform piece. Both are things she does very well, but combined it was a little uneven. I had fun, but I’m sure it’s mainly because I’m such a devoted fan of the author. Probably not the best choice for your first RMB, but definitely worth adding to your list.

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The Big Cat Nap: The 20th Anniversary Mrs. Murphy MysteryThe Big Cat Nap by Rita Mae Brown

I gave this book 4 of 5 stars on Goodreads

I love this series. Through 20 years I feel like I’ve grown up with these characters. They’re effortless and real in a way that feels genuine, even in such a contrived environment as the murder mystery can be. RMB has a gift for easy blending of topical education, cute talking animals, and southern life. You may not agree with her take on things, but then you may not agree with your neighbor’s either and you hear them anyway. This story covers talking animals, cancer recovery & support, sports cars, farming, insurances, genuine vs. after-market parts, golf, gardening, racing, and keeping a church running. It was a winning 20th anniversary tribute. I hope she never stops this series!

Murder Unleashed: A NovelMurder Unleashed by Rita Mae Brown

I gave this 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads

I’m happy to report that this new story line seems to be settling in. The formula of talking animals + educational, culturally relevant content + warm, likable, but uncommon in pop lit characters = win for me. The first book in the series felt more raw and I’m happy they’re fitting together better. It’s easy to spot the killer, but hard telling if that is because I’ve read the rest of her mysteries and am conditioned. RMB’s are the only mysteries I read, so not having anything else to compare them to, I give them mostly middle scores. I enjoy them in spite of their flaws and I don’t pretend they’re a revelation of the art of fiction.

This story is a murder mystery that encompasses a wide variety of topics including but not limited to: the mortgage crisis, squatter’s rights, hunger both human and animal, coyote’s and ranch politics, cattle farming, campaign finance, school buses, and sex industry workers. I’m sure there was more, plus the everyday lives of regular characters. The story is easy and RMB has a gift for packing a lot of content into a weekend read without making it laborious.