It’s not often that a cat writes a New York Times best-selling series, but for more than 20 years now, Sneaky Pie Brown has defied the odds, with the help of her human owner, Rita Mae Brown, of course.
This month, the 20th anniversary book of Brown’s Mrs. Murphy mystery series, The Big Cat Nap, hit shelves.
Brown was an established, Emmynominated screenwriter in Hollywood when, during the Writers Guild of America strike of 1988, Sneaky Pie finally convinced her to start the mystery series she had been resisting.
“The first one, I didn’t want to write it,” said Brown. “But there we were, on strike for nine months, and the bills didn’t stop coming.”
The result was Wish You Were Here, published in 1990. The response was so positive that Brown continued writing them. The series now numbers 21 novels, each following the curious Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen as she solves mysteries with much help from her two cats, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and corgi Tee Tucker.
Before she started the franchise, Brown had enjoyed a career as a seri ous author and gay-rights activist. She started her writing career in poetry, and challenged mores in 1973 with her first novel, Rubyfruit Jungle, a landmark work that is considered a forerunner of lesbian fiction.
Brown is an avid lover of animals, big and small. She lives on a Virginia farm packed full with horses, foxhounds and basset hounds and a couple of handfuls of cats. A number of them animals are rescues.
“God bless my fans. They’ve helped me save a lot of animals,” said Brown.
She said she looks forward to tonight’s stop at Full Circle Bookstore, as she has only passed through the state on previous tours.
Sneaky Pie, on the other hand, will be unable to attend the book signing due to an extreme detest for traveling.
Brown has her boots ready to go and hopes that her Oklahoma fans come out to see her, possibly bringing along their furry companions as well.
“Best friends do come on four legs,” she said.