Hiss of Death By Rita Mae Brown

Yes I know this is one of those mysteries where the crime is solved with the help of animals. It’s cute okay? This story takes on a very serious subject, that of cancer. Cancer has touched just about every one of us in one way or another. Harry is part of an organizing committee for a run/walk that raises money for cancer awareness and treatment. The organization encourages early testing and also treatment of many types of cancer. Every year after the race the team goes and gets their annual physical and this year one of them is touched by what could be a deadly diagnosis. This definitely throws a spanner in the works and gives everyone an emotional edge in a busy time, especially for Harry who is trying to harvest grapes that she has heavily vested in both financially and physically.

Soon after the race, one of the nurses who works at the local hospital is found dead with not a mark on her but she did have an extreme allergy to bees and one was also found near her body. She worked very closely with an exceptional surgeon who everyone knows is not faithful to his wife but there doesn’t seem to be any suspicion to the nurse’s death. Soon after this the counselor at the local hospital who also happens to be a cleaned up addict is found murdered. She does have some unorthodox ways about her and seems to annoy a lot of her coworkers but the people who need her for help with addiction understand her and vice versa. Her death is way more suspicious with her throat being cut and her body left behind the wheel of her car. Harry is pretty sure the deaths are connected but she really has no solid evidence.

At the scene of the first death Harry finds a cylinder which is generally used for shipping horse semen in the world of thoroughbreds and other high end horse breeding. Harry talks extensively with her husband, a vet, about what the standards are for insemination for horses but she still can’t get to the bottom of the deaths. There is definitely a lot of money in horse breeding but none of the victims seem to be well versed in either horse medicine or racing so that doesn’t seem likely.

If you read these Crozet, Virginia mysteries you know that Ms. Harry Haristeen never backs down and usually puts her life on the line as a result and this time is no different. Her animals are just as cantankerous but loveable and yes they help save the day again. Total brain candy for readers.

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