The latest in Brown's popular feline mystery series, set in small-town Crozet, Virginia, has Mary "Harry" Haristeen finding horse breeder Barry Monteith dying with his throat ripped out. Harry discovers a ring near his body that had belonged to a woman missing since 1974. Something sinister is afoot. Soon Monteith's business partner dies from rabies, a disease that was also present in Monteith's brain tissue.

The community panics. People shoot at supposedly rabid animals and at each other. But it is Harry's pets who steal the show. Cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter and dog Tee Tucker conduct their own private conversations as to how the two victims could have contracted rabies.

The suspense is supported by well-developed characters whose interrelationships create an enigmatic tale. New readers who may have trouble keeping track of the many colorful characters, both human and animal, will find a cast-of-characters directory up front. (Apr., 320 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick