When I first decided to start reading this series, it was about 10 books old, and the first four were not available on audio. Every year or so, I check and no, these older novels have never showed up at my public library in audio form. Until now. As of a few months ago, three of the four early novels are now available, so I scooped up the first one and gave it a listen.
I have read more than twenty books in this series, so reading the first one was an off experiences. Characters were in different places (sometimes literally) and in different relationships. Sheriff Shaw and Officer Cooper are new in their positions, for example, as this book starts. So it was interesting to see how over the course of the series, they have become integrated into the main cast of Crozet locals.
The plot involved shipping things through the mail, as well as incriminating postcards, so Harry’s job at the Post Office was custom-made for this, her first murder mystery. I give Brown credit for finding mail-related crimes for the first dozen or so books in the series, but changing Harry’s job circumstances gives her the freedom to stumble into a larger range of crimes. In retrospect, that was a wise authorial choice.
And the key aspect of the series was present right here from the start, and that is how Harry’s animals think and act. They can communicate to each other, and we get their dialogue, although the dumb humans jut hear barking and hissing. The animals “insights” about human nature and behavior add levity to the otherwise tense and suspenseful mysteries.
This novel was obviously not written as a prequel, but it helped me to think of it that way, having so many future books from the series. I enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to picking up more of these early novels.
Source: public library