Aunt Tally’s centennial provides more excitement than anyone bargained for when alumni-association members get up to no good.
Fresh from yet another local murder (The Purrfect Murder, 2008, etc.), Mary “Harry” Minor Haristeen, small-town postmistress turned farmer, eagerly anticipates getting out of town to celebrate Aunt Tally’s 100th year at the old gal’s alma mater, William Woods University. Harry thinks she’s leaving trouble behind but finds that the bickering among the alumni association members is the least of her concerns when Mariah D’Angelo, head of Kansas City’s WWU Alumni Association, goes missing. Whatever Mariah’s problems, she doesn’t have to worry about her nemesis Flo Langston, head of the warring St. Louis WWU Alumni Association, because Flo has met with violent death. Soon Aunt Tally and friends receive e-mails from Mariah in a catch-me-if-you-can vein. Harry wants to look into the murder without becoming too involved, but her troupe of pets, including the ever-present cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, have different ideas. While they’re sure this murder plot is more complicated than their humans could imagine, all they can do is hint at the clues and feign patience. In the meantime, Harry’s amateur sleuthing suggests that money may be the bottom line of the mystery, a possibility that may appeal to more readers than Brown’s sometimes politically charged topics.
While many of the human characters seem interchangeable in their combination of down-home folksiness and tribal-elder gravitas, her animals are witty as ever.