Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Review: Cat Of The Century

Rita Mae Brown.
I almost wrote "Rita Mae Down" because the latest effort by Rita Mae Brown is a depressing bit of work, laden with frequent sententious and pretentious right-wing rants delivered by several of the characters. The content is sufficiently and needlessly political that the politics is a real distraction from Ms. Brown's otherwise well-crafted mystery plot. As one reviewer on Amazon put it, Brown may as well have simply told us to join the Tea Party and be done with it. I, for one, don't see why there should be heavy political content in a cozy cat mystery; it's out of place, and there are cat-mystery lovers of every political stripe.

I dutifully read to the end because the "Fairchild Alumni Center" mentioned a few times in the book is named after the late mother of our friend Catherine Fairchild: her mother had much to do with William Woods University* in her lifetime, and Catherine loaned me the book. Thank goodness for that; I am relieved to have saved my $15.21 for the hardbound edition... or should that be "hidebound edition"? ... and I recommend you do the same.

To date, I have collected all of the Mrs. Murphy series. I shall not seek them out again. Let Ms. Brown draw her readership from the Tea Party set instead.

* Corrected per Catherine Fairchild's reminder: her mother was very active at and in behalf of William Woods University, not Mr. Woods himself. - SB


  1. Catherine FairchildApril 21, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    Actually, my mother had a lot to do not with Mr. Woods himself but with William Woods University, which he founded, in Fulton, MO. She was alumni secretary there for many years. Portions of the novel are set on the WWU campus.

  2. Duly noted and corrected. It's a good day for editors and a bad one for writers. :)

  3. Sad to know that ruby fruit has gone fermented....

  4. Catherine - I'm sorry. I am sorry. I seem to be offending my friends with what appear to me to be relatively innocent comments, but what do I know. I cannot honestly post positively about the book; I really don't feel that way about it... Rita Mae Brown has chosen to offend me, and it would be dishonest of me not to acknowledge that in anything I write about her book. This has nothing to do... nothing... with William Woods University, which I had heard of long before you came into my life, and for which I have great respect. But I regret to say that Rita can go hang as long as she continues her characters' rightist rants. I am done with her, unless she repents and relents.

    Others who may have misconstrued me... too bad; Brown has stepped over the line, and I no longer like her. Accept that and go elsewhere if it bothers you.

  5. word verification: dismort

    i loved rita mae brown for years and years and years, and bought all her books, including the ones coauthored by sneaky pie brown until a few years ago. i forget which book it was that made me decide to stop reading, and at least with this review you've saved my overflowing library list from adding one title [to the hundreds? that are already on there].

    ps. love your new banner quote! my parents are still alive, and sometimes tell stories of their childhood[s] growing up during that time [one family doing ok, but not great, the other dirt poor], and it depresses the hell out of me to think that they might have to live the end of their lives in a similar depression.

  6. hipparchia, I literally ache at the thought of society-wide poverty, so needless, so evitable, but likely anyway because some wealthy people see it as to their advantage that a fraction of the population should be poor. I don't worry for myself; for one thing, with my lower-class upbringing, I have the capacity to suck it in, live on less, etc. But what about my former near neighbor Ms. M, who is (IIRC) 81 years old? She lived a comfortable existence in a 1br flat, which was (barely) within her means. What happens to her now? As I said, I ache to think of that.

  7. BTW, I now collect my banner quotes over time so we can sit and read all of them. Look for the link at the bottom of any blog post page, to a static page that contains them.



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