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Authors: Rita Mae Brown

Rest In Pieces

BOOK: Rest In Pieces

Rest in Pieces

Rita Mae Brown



A Bantam Book


Bantam hardcover edition published September 1992

Bantam mass market edition / July 1993

Bantam mass market reissue / April 2004

Published by

Bantam Dell

A Division of Random House, Inc.

New York, New York

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved

Copyright © 1992 by American Artists, Inc.

Illustrations copyright © 1992 by Wendy Wray

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 92-7257

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law.

For information address: Bantam Books, New York, New York.

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Bantam Books and the rooster colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

eISBN 0-553-89862-0  Published simultaneously in Canada



Cover Page

Title Page


Cast of Characters

Letter from Sneaky Pie Brown

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Books by Rita Mae Brown

Previews of The Mrs. Murphy Series

Copyright Page

To the Beegles
and their dalmations

Cast of Characters

Mary Minor Haristeen (Harry),
the young postmistress of Crozet, whose curiosity almost kills the cat and herself

Mrs. Murphy,
Harry’s gray tiger cat, who bears an uncanny resemblance to authoress Sneaky Pie and who is wonderfully intelligent!

Tee Tucker,
Harry’s Welsh corgi, Mrs. Murphy’s friend and confidant; a buoyant soul

Pharamond Haristeen (Fair),
veterinarian, formerly married to Harry

BoomBoom Craycroft,
a high-society knockout

Blair Bainbridge,
a handsome model and fugitive from the fast lane in Manhattan. He moves to Crozet for peace and quiet and gets anything but

Mrs. George Hogendobber (Miranda),
a widow who thumps her own Bible!

Market Shiflett,
owner of Shiflett’s Market, next to the post office

Market’s fat gray cat, who, when need be, can be pulled away from the food bowl

Susan Tucker,
Harry’s best friend, who doesn’t take life too seriously until her neighbors get murdered

Ned Tucker,
a lawyer and Susan’s husband

Jim Sanburne,
mayor of Crozet

Big Marilyn Sanburne (Mim),
queen of Crozet and an awful snob

Little Marilyn Sanburne,
daughter of Mim, and not as dumb as she appears

Fitz-Gilbert Hamilton,
Little Marilyn’s husband, is rich by marriage and in his own right. His ambition sapped, he’s content to live very well and be a “gentleman lawyer”

Cabell Hall,
a trusted figure in Crozet, is preparing to retire from the bank where he is president

Ben Seifert,
Cabell Hall’s protégé, has come a long way from a callow teller to a bank officer. He was a year ahead of Harry in high school

Rick Shaw,
Albemarle sheriff

Cynthia Cooper,
police officer

Rob Collier,
mail driver

Mrs. Murphy’s ex-husband, a saucy tom

an opossum with a low opinion of humanity. He slowly succumbs to Harry’s kindness. He lives in the barn-loft along with a crabby owl and a hibernating blacksnake

Dear Reader:

Here’s to catnip and champagne!

Thanks to you my mailbox overflows with letters, photos, mousie toys, and crunchy nibbles. Little did I think when I started the Mrs. Murphy series that there would be so many cats out there who are readers . . . a few humans, too.

Poor Mother, she’s trying not to be a grouch. She slaves over “important themes” disguised as comedy and I dash along with a mystery series and am a hit. This only goes to prove that most cats and some dogs realize that a lighthearted approach is always the best. Maybe in a few decades Mom will figure this out for herself.

The best news is that I was able to afford my own typewriter. I found a used IBM Selectric III so I don’t have to sneak into Mother’s office in the middle of the night. I even have my own office. Do you think I should hire Pewter as a secretary?

Again, thank you, cats out there, and the dogs, too. Take care of your humans. And as for you humans, well, a fresh salmon steak would be a wonderful treat for the cat in your life.

All Best,


Golden light poured over the little town of Crozet, Virginia. Mary Minor Haristeen looked up from the envelopes she was sorting and then walked over to the large glass window to admire the view. It seemed to her as if the entire town had been drenched in butter. The rooftops shone; the simple clapboard buildings were lent a pleasing grace. Harry was so compelled by the quality of the light that she threw on her denim jacket and walked out the back door. Mrs. Murphy, Harry’s tiger cat, and Tee Tucker, her corgi, roused themselves from a drowsy afternoon slumber to accompany her. The long October rays of the sun gilded the large trotting-horse weathervane on Miranda Hogendobber’s house on St. George Avenue, seen from the alleyway behind the post office.

Brilliant fall days brought back memories of hotly contested football games, school crushes, and cool nights. Much as Harry loathed cold weather, she liked having to buy a new sweater or two. At Crozet High she had worn a fuzzy red sweater one long-ago October day, in 1973 to be exact, and caught the eye of Fair Haristeen. Oak trees transformed into orange torches, the maples turned blood-red, and the beech trees became yellow, then as now. Autumn colors remained in her memory, and this would be that kind of fall. Her divorce from Fair had been final six months ago, or was it a year? She really couldn’t remember, or perhaps she didn’t want to remember. Her friends ransacked their address books for the names of eligible bachelors. There were two: Dr. Larry Johnson, the retired, widowed town doctor, who was two years older than God, and the other, of course, was Pharamond Haristeen. Even if she wanted Fair back, which she most certainly did not, he was embroiled in a romance with BoomBoom Craycroft, the beautiful thirty-two-year-old widow of Kelly Craycroft.

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