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When Miranda’s husband, George, died, Harry, fresh from Smith College, took his position as head of the P.O., never thinking the job would last nearly two decades. Miranda, despite her loss, showed up every day to help orient the young woman whom she’d known as a baby. Harry’s youth raised Miranda’s spirits. In mourning, it’s especially good to have a task. Over the years they became extremely close, almost a mother–daughter bond. Harry’s mother had died when Harry was in her early twenties.
Noticing fields filled with the debris of the now-subsiding waters, Harry observed, “What a mess. Can’t turn out stock in that. You just don’t know what else is wrapped up in all those branches and twigs.”
“Hey, there’s a plastic chair. Might look good in your yard.” Miranda smiled.
“Well,” Harry drawled the word out, like the native Southerner she was.
The younger woman, generous with her time and happy to feed anyone, could be tight with the buck. Miranda couldn’t resist teasing Harry about a free if ugly chair.
“This is sure better than my 1961 Falcon,” the older woman said. “Initially I resisted the Outback’s fancy radio. I mean, this is a used car and had the Sirius capabilities, but I didn’t want to pay extra. How did I live without it?” Miranda mused, now a Subaru convert.
“Regular cars can now do more than Mercedes or even Rolls from ten years ago. That’s what amazes me: the speed with which the technological developments of those high-end cars became commonplace in much-lower-priced vehicles. But I still love my old 1978 F-150 and you still drive your old Falcon. Hey, want me to wax it?”
“Would you? What a lovely offer.”
“You know how crazy I get with anything with an engine in it. I’ll clean the tires, refresh your dash. I’m a one-woman detailing operation.”
Her eyebrows knitting together, Miranda said, “Uh-oh.”
An odd pop, then a lurch, made holding the Outback on the road difficult.
“Put on your flashers and brake.”
They slid toward a narrow drainage ditch, and the airbags billowed up inside as the wheel dipped in the ditch. Miranda couldn’t see.
If there was enough room, narrow drainage ditches, about one to two feet deep, paralleled the country roads. Occasionally, small culverts passed the runoff under farm driveways or sharp curves, moving the water, which could rise very quickly, away from the roads.
Even without vision, Miranda was not one to panic. She braked smoothly, and the right side of the car dropped into the ditch. The car rocked a little.
Asleep on the backseat, Harry’s two cats and dog rolled off.
“Hey!” Pewter, the rotund gray cat, howled.
The tiger cat, Mrs. Murphy, and the corgi, Tee Tucker, scrambled back up on the seat.
“No other cars,” the dog noted.
The tiger cat looked around. “Right.”
“I was asleep.” Pewter hauled herself up to sit next to her friends.
“We all were,” Mrs. Murphy dryly noted.
“Well—I was more asleep.”
Excerpted from The Big Cat Nap by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown. Copyright © 2012 by Rita Mae Brown.
Between raising her crops, scouting out classic cars and investigating murders, there’s never a dull moment for Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen. It starts when Harry and her friend Miranda go for a leisurely drive—and land in a drainage ditch when the air bags accidentally deploy. Things really go into overdrive when Harry visits the local repair shop and finds a mechanic with his head bashed in!
For Harry, it’s time to pop the hood and start poking around, but her P.I. pet pals—cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter and corgi Tee Tucker—see disaster fast approaching. Harry's race to the truth leads straight to underhanded forces who are determined to avoid scrutiny at any cost, even if it means running the Nosy Parker permanently off the road!
Large Print Hardcover Book : 416 pages
Publisher: Random House Inc. ( April 03, 2012 )
Item #: 13-569184
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 1.04inches
Product Weight: 16.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)