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Sneaky Pie for President by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown

Rita Mae Brown takes a break from her best selling Mrs. Murphy Mystery series to let the animals speak up on the topics of politics and good government in “Sneaky Pie for President.”   The human in the Mrs. Murphy series, Virginia farmer and horsewoman, Harry Haristeen, only appears in passing in this book.  The novel, narrated by the gray tabby herself, Sneaky Pie, is not a mystery.  Sneaky Pie makes no mystery of where she stands on the issues of greatest importance to predator and prey alike.

In these pages Sneaky Pie with her dog and cat entourage visit many of the farm’s animal residents to campaign for a place at the top of the ticket for president of the United States.  Sneaky Pie has absolute confidence that a wise, opinionated and energetic tabby can do a better job in Washington than either Republican or Democratic human candidate.  The platform is, I suspect, partly meant to supply a few chuckles, and partly a convenient soapbox for some of Rita Mae Brown’s own political beliefs.  These beliefs do not owe their beginnings in either traditional party, but rather are more an  argument for environmentalism mixed with a healthy dose of libertarianism.

Sneaky Pie recognizes that it will never be possible to keep predators from preying on the animals they naturally hunt, but the process should be as humane as possible.  Those animals not required to eat meat in order to survive should abstain to a much larger extent than now happens.  Ecosystems must remain in balance for the good of every creature on earth.  Sneaky Pie sees usefulness in the services provided at the local and, to some extent, state level, but she has no use for income taxes and does not understand what the federal government does with all the money it collects.  Services are best funded and provided locally except for defense and a few other key areas.  Sneaky Pie believes in live and let live and treating all creatures by the golden rule.  No one should mess with another individual’s lifestyle or livelihood as long as no one else is being hurt. Sneaky Pie (and I would suspect her real mistress, Rita Mae) expresses fundamentally a libertarian philosophy in “Sneaky Pie for President.”  In the context of a fight for the White House by a house cat, the arguments make a lot of sense.

I found this political tome an interesting diversion from my usual mystery fare, and a fitting commentary for the end of the presidential political season.

Liz Nichols

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