They say that love is better the second time around, and we're just about to find out if that's true or not when Mary Minor Haristeen, better known as Harry, remarries her ex-hubby, Fair. Although Fair cheated on Harry in the past, they've finally managed to put their differences behind them and give love a second chance. It's a little hard to settle back into married life, however, when things are going haywire around you.
When ex-postmistress Harry and her veterinarian spouse Fair plant a crop of grapes, they never dream that such a simple act will lead to murder. What began as a possible business enterprise quickly turns sour when people start dropping dead.
Professor Vincent Forland is in town to lecture as part of a panel on his particular area of expertise, a variety of fungi and agriterrorism. Obviously someone took exception to what he had to say because he is found decapitated a short while after. But the question is, who would want to silence the Professor? Could it be the person who's planted a detrimental bug in Fair and Harry's crop?
Whoever thought that something as simple as grapes would cause people to lose their heads?! Two archenemies as well as former students of Professor Forland's are also at odds. Tempers flare as Toby Pittman, an unconventional genius when it comes to grapes, and Arch Saunders, partner of the Rockland Vineyards and former paramour of Harry, go at it. Should it be a surprise when Toby also ends up dead?
Not to worry though because Harry and her band of furry friends --- felines Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and corgi Tee Tucker --- are on the trail of the killer. It's funny to see the animals finding clues and solving problems that escape the notice of the human contingent in this novel. While it may seem a bit far-fetched, if you have animals you know it's most likely true since our pets don't miss a trick, especially things we're often too busy to notice.
Crozet, Virginia need not worry though. Curiosity leads Harry into one predicament after another, suspicion flashes from person to person, and it seems that there is no one around who didn't have a motive. But the murder is solved in the long run and the people of Crozet can sleep again thanks to Harry, Fair and their little ones.
The usual cast of characters and townspeople are present and as amusing as ever in this novel. SOUR PUSS introduces us to a whole new world of grape-growing and winemaking in the now-familiar setting of the Virginia Piedmont.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on January 23, 2011