The author of the exuberant Ruby fruit Jungle and Southern Discomfort (1982) collaborates with her pet feline, Sneaky Pie, to create this insufferably cuddly small-town mystery--in which humans commit murder and idly gossip while their pets prove the superior sleuths. Mary ""Harry"" Haristeen, postmistress of Crozet, Virginia, is so preoccupied by the fact that her amiable-enough divorce has become the talk of her tiny community that she fails to pay heed to the unusual picture postcard that passes through her hands on its way to Kelly Craycroft. The picture, featuring a stone angel from a tombstone and the message ""Wish you were here,"" does strike Harry as odd, but it's only when Kelly is subsequently ground up in a cement mixer and Harry's friend Maude Bly Modena, who has received a similar card, is also murdered that Harry's suspicions are amused. Who is killing the citizens of Crozet? Is this a simple case of wanton violence, or is the murderer after something in particular? Of course, Harry's tiger cat, Mrs. Murphy (a stand-in for co-author Sneaky Pie) and her Welsh corgi, Tucker, are already well on their way to solving the mystery by the time the third murder takes place. As the rising death toll reawakens old human minors of a secret treasure buried in a closed-off train tunnel outside of town, of illicit drag dealings and of torrid extramarital affairs, the local pets use their well-honed talents for sniffing, deducing and pooling information to pin down who done it and how come. As in any Lassie scenario, the humans must be led by the nose to the mystery's obvious solution--a solution so transparent that readers will no doubt shake their heads along with the animals over their phenomenally slow-witted owners. Brown's talent for evoking the peculiar ambience of small southern towns is beyond dispute, but Sneaky Pie ought to be fired.