Cat of the Century

March 7, 2012 - Cat of the Century (Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie Brown). Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and her hometown of Crozet, Virginia take something of a backseat in this entry in the series. Instead, the focus is on Aunt Tally and her friend, Inez, and a good part of the story is set in Missouri.

Missouri is home to William Woods University, the alma mater of Harry's feisty neighbor, Aunt Tally. Tally's turning 100 and the university is using the occasion to honor her and to raise some money. So, Tally, Harry and her pets and some other folks from Crozet make the trip to Missouri for the celebration. But, the happy atmosphere is spoiled by in-fighting among some of the trustees. Soon, one of the trustees goes missing and, just days later, her arch rival is found murdered. Then, it appears the trouble might follow the gang back to Crozet.

The mystery solving here isn't, for the most part, done by Harry. Rather, it's the elderly and well-respected veterinarian, Inez, who puts the pieces together. Inez is 98 and knows Tally from their days together at William Woods. Inez also knows Harry because, years ago, she mentored Harry's husband, Fair, when he was just starting out. Inez is retired now, so she has plenty of time to hang out with Tally and Harry and figure out what's going on.

Despite the softer focus on Harry, and despite the complete absence of Crozet residents we have come to know through previous books, I rather enjoyed this one. I think that the mystery got wrapped up rather quickly at the end, but you kind of knew where things were going anyway, the pets helped to save the day, and it was nice to hear Inez and Tally expound on what they've learned from a century of living.