A detective series with a twist, The Mrs. Murphy Mysteries is written by American writer Rita Mae Brown with the help of “Sneaky Pie Brown,” her cat. The story takes us to Crozet, Virginia, where Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen is the thirty-something post-mistress. She catches killers with the help of her irrepressible crime-solving tiger cat, Mrs. Murphy.
Well, it really more Mrs. Murphy who solves murder mysteries, utilizing her feline genius and the help of her favorite human, and her friends, fat-cat Pewter and corgi Tee Tucker. Together, they uncover clues and take down cold-blooded killers.
How to read the Mrs. Murphy Mystery Series in Order?
Every novel in the Mrs. Murphy book series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- Wish You Were Here – Crozet’s thirty-something post-mistress, Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen, has a tiger cat (Mrs. Murphy) and a Welsh Corgi (Tucker), a pending divorce, and a bad habit of reading postcards not addressed to her. When Crozet’s citizens start turning up murdered, Harry remembers that each received a card with a tombstone on the front and the message “Wish you were here” on the back. Intent on protecting their human friend, Mrs. Murphy and Tucker begin to scent out clues.
- Rest in Pieces – When Blair Bainbridge comes to Crozet, Virginia, the local matchmakers lose no time in declaring him perfect for their newly divorced postmistress, Marry Minor “Harry Haristeen.” Even Harry’s tiger cat, Ms. Murphy, and her Welsh Corgi, Tee Tucker, believe he smells A-okay. Could his one little imperfection be that he’s a killer? Blair becomes the most likely suspect when the pieces of a dismembered corpse begin tuming up around Crozet.
- Murder at Monticello – 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.
- Pay Dirt – The residents of tiny Crozet, Virginia, thrive on gossip, especially in the post office, where Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen presides with her tiger cat, Mrs. Murphy. So when a belligerent Hell’s Angel crashes Crozet demanding to see his girlfriend, the leather-clad interloper quickly becomes the chief topic of conversation. Then the biker is found murdered, and everyone is baffled.
- Murder, She Meowed – The annual steeplechase races are the high point in the social calendar of the horse-mad Virginians of cozy Crozet. But when one of the jockeys is found murdered in the main barn, Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen finds herself in a desperate race of her own-to trap the killer.
- Murder on the Prowl – As the principal of St. Elizabeth’s, an exclusive private school that caters to Crozet, Virginia’s, best families, Roscoe Fletcher has proven himself to be a highly effective and vastly popular administrator. So when his obituary appears in the local paper, everyone in town is upset. Yet nothing compares to the shock they feel when they discover that Roscoe Fletcher isn’t dead at all.
- Cat on the Scent – Things have been pretty exciting lately in Crozet, Virginia-a little too exciting if you ask resident feline investigator Mrs. Murphy. Just as the town starts to buzz over its Civil War reenactment, a popular local man disappears. No one’s seen Tommy Van Allen’s single-engine plane, either-except for Mrs. Murphy, who spotted it during a foggy evening’s mousing.
- Pawing Through the Past – Each member of the class of 1980 has received the letter. Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen, who is on the organizing committee for Crozet High’s twentieth reunion, decides to take it as a compliment. Others think it’s a joke. But Mrs. Murphy senses trouble. And the sly tiger cat is soon proven right…
- Claws and Effect – Winter puts tiny Crozet, Virginia, in a deep freeze and everyone seems to be suffering from the winter blahs, including postmistress Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen. So all are ripe for the juicy gossip coming out of Crozet Hospital–until the main source of that gossip turns up dead. It’s not like Harry to resist a mystery, and she soon finds the hospital a hotbed of ego, jealousy, and illicit love.
- Catch as Cat Can – Spring fever comes to the small town of Crozet, Virginia. As the annual Dogwood Festival approaches, postmistress Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen feels her own mating instincts stir. As for tiger cat Mrs. Murphy, feline intuition tells her there’s more in the air than just pheromones. It begins with a case of stolen hubcaps and proceeds to the mysterious death of a dissolute young mechanic over a sobering cup of coffee.
- The Tail of the Tip-Off – When winter hits Crozet, Virginia, it hits hard–and hangs on for months. That’s nothing new to postmistress Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen and her friends, who keep warm with hard work, hot toddies, and rabid rooting for the University of Virginia’s women’s basketball team at the old stadium affectionately dubbed “The Clam.” But the usual postgame high spirits are laid low when contractor H. H. Donaldson drops dead in the parking lot.
- Whisker of Evil – This balmy summer in Crozet, “Harry” has a lot to think about. Things have been pretty cozy between her and her ex-husband, Fair and her beloved old post office is in danger of being replaced with a modern building-and modern rules. Harry’s thoughtful contemplation is shattered the day she stumbles over a dead body near Potlicker Creek.
- Cat’s Eyewitness – With the holidays approaching, Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen and her best friend, Susan Tucker, take a much-needed time-out at the mountain monastery of Mount Carmel. There, under the benevolent gaze of the statue of the Virgin Mary, their worldly worries are soon overshadowed. For in front of their very eyes the statue begins to cry tears of blood.
- Sour Puss – After an unexpected rekindling of their romance, Harry and her veterinarian ex-husband, Fair Haristeen, have happily remarried. But the excitement of their nuptials is quickly overshadowed by the murder of Professor Vincent Forland, a world-famous grape and fungal expert who was in town visiting the local vineyards.
- Puss n’ Cahoots – Instead of a proper second honeymoon, the newly remarried Harry and Fair Haristeen leave cozy Crozet, Virginia, for Shelbyville, Kentucky, site of the famous saddlebred horse show. There they’ll visit dear friends Joan Hamilton and Larry Hodge and enjoy a week among some of the finest horses, trainers, and riders in the country. But soon after they arrive, events veer mysteriously–and murderously–off course.
- The Purrfect Murder – Autumn has arrived in cozy Crozet, and that means the town’s inhabitants are hard at work in home and garden preparing for winter. Harry is planning to harvest her first crop of Petit Manseng grapes along with her beloved sunflowers. Meanwhile, her recent marriage to Fair and her friendship with Deputy Cynthia Cooper, who’s rented nearby Blair Farm, are flourishing. But even when peace descends on the idyllic countryside, murder is lurking.
- Santa Clawed – As Harry well knows, there’s hardly a place on earth cozier than Crozet, Virginia, at Christmastime. The snowflakes drifting lazily down, the soft glow of the winter light, the sound of old carols in the streets…even cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter get into the spirit batting ornaments and climbing the holiday tree. In fact, it’s this year’s tree that Harry and her husband, Fair, have gone to fetch when they find the one they’ve chosen grimly decorated with a dead body.
- Cat of the Century – Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen’s beloved, tart-tongued neighbor Aunt Tally is about to turn the big 1-0-0, and the alumnae association of Tally’s alma mater is throwing a big fund-raising bash in her honor. The plan is to celebrate Tally’s centennial and recoup some much-needed school revenue lost in the cratered economy, but when a killer blizzard bears down and a board member goes missing.
- Hiss of Death – Ah, spring! The brighter days and singing birds have a way of lifting people’s spirits, as well as those of their animal companions. But the season can also bring out the first blossoms of murder.
- The Big Cat Nap – The trouble begins when Harry’s dear friend Miranda Hogendobber takes her on a leisurely drive that ends in a narrow drainage ditch. The chaos continues when the Very Reverend Herbert Jones’s Chevy pickup also abruptly goes kaput. But these vehicular mishaps are nothing compared to the much more distressing state of a mechanic discovered by Harry in a local repair shop: His head’s been bashed in.
- Sneaky Pie for President – Human candidates have had their chance in Washington, and nowhere does it say in the Constitution that the next president cannot be a cat. Vote Sneaky!
- The Litter of the Law – Autumn has descended and crops are being harvested all over Crozet, Virginia, ideal conditions for a scenic drive for Harry and husband Fair. Bucolic views are all well and good, but Harry’s nose for trouble leads her straight to a cornfield’s macabre scarecrow-an all too real murder victim that frightens all but the noisy crows.
- Nine Lives to Die – Winter has come to Crozet, Virginia, bringing with it a fresh blanket of snow. Harry and her husband, Fair, are hip deep in their usual end-of-the-year activities: distributing food to needy residents, and shopping for outfits for the Silver Linings youth organization’s annual fundraising gala. But buried beneath the white stuff are dark secrets from Crozet’s past-and Harry and her posse of pet detectives are determined to sniff them out.
- Tail Gait – Spring has sprung in Crozet. Harry and her husband are enjoying a cozy dinner with some of the town’s leading citizens. But beneath the cloak of conviviality lurks a sinister specter from the distant past that threatens to put all their lives in jeopardy.
- Tall Tail – At any moment a perfect summer day in Crozet might turn stormy and tempestuous, as Harry knows too well when a squall suddenly sweeps in. In a blink, Harry’s pickup nearly collides with a careening red car that then swerves into a ditch. Harry recognizes the dead driver slumped over the vehicle’s steering wheel: Barbara Leader was nurse and confidante to former Virginia governor Sam Holloway.
- A Hiss Before Dying – Autumn is in the air in the Blue Ridge Mountain community of Crozet and all the traditions of the changing seasons are under way. Harry cleans her cupboards, her husband, Fair, prepares the horses for the shorter days ahead, and the clamorous barking of beagles signals the annual rabbit chase through the central Virginia hills. But the last thing the local beaglers and their hounds expect to flush out is a dead body.
- Probable Claws – With the New Year just around the corner, winter has transformed the cozy Blue Ridge Mountain community of Crozet into a living snow globe. It’s the perfect setting for Harry to build a new work shed designed by her dear friend, local architect Gary Gardner. But the natural serenity is shattered when out of the blue, right in front of Harry and Deputy Cynthia Cooper, and in broad daylight, Gary is shot to death by a masked motorcyclist.
- Whiskers in the Dark – A massive nor’easter has hit northern Virginia, where Harry joins groundskeeping efforts at the National Beagle Club at Aldie as the date for its springtime Hounds for Heroes veterans’ benefit approaches. Harry’s fellow volunteers, including her oldest friend, Susan Tucker, comprise a spirited group of hunting enthusiasts, some former service members themselves. But things take a sinister turn when, after a routine tree cleanup along the Club’s hunting trails, retired foreign services officer Jason Holzknect is found dead, throat slit from ear to ear. Soon enough, another murder in their midst jolts the preparations, convincing Harry that the killer is familiar with the Club-and must be close by, masked in plain sight.
- Furmidable Foes – Spring arrives in northern Virginia, and as the ground thaws and the peonies begin to bloom a bright magenta, the women of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church prepare for a Homecoming celebration like no other. Harry, Susan Tucker, and their friends are busy planting flowers and trimming hedges to get the church grounds in shape for the big day.
- Claws for Alarm – Pharamond “Fair” Haristeen is known throughout Crozet, Virginia, as a good horse vet and a better man. So when Benjamin Wagner, a new vet in town, is found dead in his unopened clinic, local police turn to Fair for help getting to the bottom of things. Fair quickly realizes Ben’s clinic has been robbed of ketamine, used by doctors as a horse tranquilizer but also a popular recreational drug. Then Fair’s own ketamine goes missing from the back of his truck. Was Ben killed for his supply? Or was he mixed up in something bigger?
- Hiss & Tell – Christmas is coming and Harry’s to-do list is a mile long. But the holidays aren’t cheerful for everyone. Harry’s friend on the police force, Cynthia Cooper, warns that the season can bring an uptick in crime. Her words prove tragically prescient when Harry and Susan discover the body of a man by the side of the road, dead, without any clues to his identity. One suspicious death is bad enough, but when Cooper reports that two more bodies have been found, also unidentified, Harry knows trouble is afoot.
- Feline Fatale – Harry’s dear friend Ned Tucker is in the House of Delegates, advocating for a bill to improve road clearing during bad weather, and Harry and Ned’s wife, Susan, have gone down to the statehouse to support him. Tensions are high between political parties. The bill’s chief detractor is the glamorous Amanda Fields, a former newscaster turned delegate whose flair for the dramatic has earned her a formidable reputation—and made her more than a few enemies. Amanda’s claws-out approach to politics might have some of her colleagues wishing she was dead, but the statehouse is rocked when one of the young pages who assists the delegates dies under mysterious circumstances.