“Tail Gait” by Rita Mae Brown, Bantam, 307 pages, $ 26

“Tail Gait” is the latest in Rita Mae Brown’s Mrs. Murphy Mystery series, perhaps better known as the Sneaky Pie Brown books.

As usual, the book is set around Mary Minor “Harry” Hairsteen and her friends and family in Crozet, Virginia.

The animals of the area also play a role; their “conversations” are usually a major part of the Sneaky Pie books.

However in “Tail Gait,” those animal conversations take a back seat to another device Brown often uses in other books: historical flashbacks.

In this book, those flashbacks are to the Revolutionary War and how actions from then lead to the death of a beloved professor and the possible downfall of a high-end construction project in the present.

And the present is set during the reunion of the University of Virginia’s 1959 football team.

Overall, the latest Sneaky Pie novel, like the rest of them, offers a fun read with lots of familiar characters set in the Deep South. Fans will slip right into the work.

For those who are not familiar with Brown’s series, the only warning would be that the books are chronological. Characters move, divorce, marry, etc., so reading them out of order may lead to minor confusion.

However, because there are so many characters in the books, Brown always starts with a list she calls “a cast of characters,” that describes them.

She even introduces the animals.

So if you love mysteries, jump right in.