In the picturesque town of Crozet, Va., set amid Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, veterinarian Fair Haristeen remarries his ex-wife, nursery owner Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen. Elsewhere, things are less serene.

When professor Vincent Forland arrives from Virginia Tech to discuss agriterrorism, the nearby residents become concerned that this type of terrorism could ruin their vineyards.

Professor Forland goes missing on his return trip to Virginia Tech, and before police discover what happened to the professor, Fair finds the bullet-riddled body of vineyard entrepreneur Toby Pittman, whom Forland passed over for a job years ago. As the body count rises, feline Mrs. Murphy and her fellow animal friends help the humans discover the identity of the killer ... or killers.

Brown's truly original mystery series highlights the capable sleuthing efforts of humans and animals alike, as Mrs. Murphy and her dog and cat friends discuss the ongoing murder investigation. The suspense is carefully intertwined with the colorful antics of the animals. (Mar. 246 pp., $25.00)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick