The Wonderful World of Disney (1997)

Season 2 Episode 10

Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Dec 13, 1998 on ABC
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Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery
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Mrs. Murphy is a cat. Tucker is a dog. Together, they help their human friend "Harry" Haristeen (Ricki Lake) get to the bottom of mysterious situations. It's hard to call Harry their master, as they're as independent as pets can be. Naturally, this leads to all sorts of funny and potentially troubling situations – especially since the perceptive pets aren't always on the mark in their hunches. Based on Rita Mae Brown's novel (Brown credits her cat Sneaky Pie as co-author), Murder She Purred is a mystery about a murder in bucolic small town Virginia, where Harry serves as postmistress. A new man, Dr. Blair Bainbridge (Linden Ashby) has arrived in town right around the time that a local man is found at the bottom of a lake – murdered. Mrs. Murphy and Tucker are right on top of things, and they're convinced that Bainbridge is the killer. To their horror, Harry is getting chummy with the widower, and she continues with this, even after learning the dark secret he has moved there to escape. As the local sheriff struggles to figure out whodunit, Harry conducts her own investigation, and her pets do the same. As resolution approaches, we learn that there are more secrets in this town than anyone had been letting on. Is the killer the obvious suspect, or does someone else have something they're trying to hide? Murder She Purred is solid, television-style entertainment. It's a murder mystery that's mild enough for family viewing, with just one or two moments that might disturb the youngest family members. This movie first appeared on the small screen, and it has that look and feel – not too ambitious or intense, with appropriately spaced fades to black to accommodate advertising. Given the limitations of the genre, it's an enjoyable movie. Brown's stories are witty and great fun, and that light sense carries over successfully. The animals, complete with voices for their unspoken thoughts and communication, are likeable. Blythe Danner provides the voice for the acerbic Mrs. Murphy, while Anthony Clark voices Tucker, the stubby little corgi who imagines himself something much more athletic than he really is. Ricki Lake is likeable as Harry, although she doesn't have a terribly strong screen presence. Her low-key approach works reasonably well here, as it's the animals who have the more distinctive personalities. The rest of the cast is even less memorable, although none of them embarrass themselves. If you're an animal lover who also enjoys mild entertainment with a mystery twist, then this movie is right up your alley. It's not the stuff of memory-making, but it's decent enough entertainment for those feeling unambitious.moreless

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