Santa Clawed, by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown

Book 62 of 50 Book Challenge, Book 7 of Holiday Reading Challenges

“Sneaky Pie Brown” being the author’s cat.  My mother used to read these novels – small town Virginia farm lady solves mysteries with the help of her dog and two cats.  The animals can talk to each other but not to the humans, similar to Bunnicula.  So this was the holiday-themed one.

The novel did start with the heart-warming country Christmas stuff, but it didn’t last very long.  The ladies decorating the church for the Christmas social or whatever.  Gossiping about a guy with whom they attended high school who grew up to be convicted of securities fraud and joined the local monastery upon being released from prison.  Our heroine meets him again at the monks’ Christmas tree farm,  Later that night, when she brings her husband and the pets (really?!) to pick up the tree, the dog finds the monk with his throat slit.

I found it very interesting that such a cutsie concept could be wrapped around what came to be a rather sordid tale.  I’m not sure it was necessary.  The mystery was doing just fine without the dog and cat quibbling over…whatever.  When I asked my mother about it, she said that she liked when the horses got to talking, but that didn’t happen very often.

Having said that, this was a lot of fun.  I liked the main character and I liked the small town cops.  I’m not planning to seek out more of these books, but it is nice to know they are readable in a pinch.

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