“Sister” Jane Arnold hopes to play matchmaker, but winds up playing detective when hunting season kicks off with a murder in a riveting mystery from the bestselling author of Homeward Hound.
Every fall, the start of hunting season brings crowds of people to Tattenhall Station. “Sister” Jane Arnold has long served as the proud Master of Foxhounds for the Jefferson Hunt, but this year she’s noticed a new phenomenon: the men in their hunting scarlets are having an amorous effect on the women in the club. Delighted, she sets her mind to playing matchmaker, but the joys of hunting season are cut short when a body is discovered.
Was the death from illness, as everyone, including Sister Jane, is led to assume? She isn’t so sure, and soon, with the help of hunters, horses, foxes, and hounds, she uncovers a nefarious scam involving an inheritance–turning this seemingly innocuous death into a murder.
“Sister” Jane Arnold returns in a colorful mystery featuring four-legged sleuths—and the breathtaking thrill of the chase—from the New York Times bestselling author of Crazy Like a Fox.
As winter deepens over the Blue Ridge Mountains, even the threat of snowstorms cannot derail this year’s Christmas run, not as long as “Sister” Jane Arnold has a say in it. With spirits high and traditions strong, a glorious parade of hunters in full holiday regalia gathers on the grounds of Tattenhall Station. But a blinding blizzard brings an early end to the sport. More disturbing: A horse soon returns without its rider. Gregory Luckham, a controversial presence as the president of a powerful energy company pushing for a pipeline through central Virginia, is the missing hunter. A search is organized for what is presumed will be a dead, frozen body. What is discovered, however, chills everyone to the bone—and points toward murder. Sister Jane will have to untangle a mystery packed as hard as snow—full of history, secrets, old wounds, and avarice.
Praise for Homeward Hound
“Cunning foxes, sensible hounds and sweet-tempered horses are among the sparkling conversationalists in this charming series.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Readers will be charmed by Brown’s endearing characters, animal and human, all of whom are given to philosophizing on the state of the world.”—Publishers Weekly
“With deep and broad knowledge of the sport, the area and the people and animals who inhabit it, [Brown] infuses Homeward Hound—and the entire series—with unmatched authenticity, Southern charm, beloved characters and engaging storylines.”—The Free Lance–Star
In this thrilling new foxhunting mystery from New York Times bestselling author Rita Mae Brown, an investigation into a missing and valuable object flushes out murder, ghosts, and old family rivalries. Now “Sister” Jane Arnold and a pack of four-legged friends must catch the scent of a killer and unearth a long-buried truth.
As the calendar turns, the crisp October winds bode well for this year’s hunting season. But before the bugle sounds, Sister Jane takes a scenic drive up the Blue Ridge Mountains for a board meeting at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting. Brimming with colorful stories and mementos from hunts of yore, the mansion is plunged into mystery when a venerable hunting horn is stolen right out of its case. The only clue, on a left-behind cell phone, is what seems to be a “selfie” video of the horn’s original owner, Wesley Carruthers—deceased since 1954.
Odder still, Wesley’s body was never found. When Sister makes a discovery that may explain his unsolved disappearance, it leads her back to the Jefferson Hunt at midcentury, with her faithful hounds at her side. But as the clues quickly mount, Sister is no longer sure if she’s pursuing a priceless artifact, a thief, Wesley’s killer . . . or a ghost. The only certainty is that someone wants to put Sister off the chase—perhaps permanently.
Teeming with familiar and beloved characters, intrigue, and the rich local history of Virginia’s horse country, Crazy Like a Fox races toward its stunning conclusion in full cry and packed with plenty of surprises. Once again, Rita Mae Brown dazzles and delights in her irresistible style, with a novel readers are certain to be crazy about.
Praise for Crazy Like a Fox
“If you can pick up Crazy Like a Fox and recognize the voices of Comet, a wise old gray fox; Dasher, a hound at the top of his game; and Golliwog, a snippy calico cat, you qualify as a member of the pack that surrounds Sister Jane Arnold, Master of Jefferson Hunt and the sleuth in Rita Mae Brown’s enchanting novels set in the Virginia horse country. . . . Just the kind of story that adds to the charm of Brown’s whimsical mysteries, with their thrilling hunts and intelligent animals.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Brown’s animal characters, including horses, hounds, and foxes, have as much to say as the people, and Brown never misses an opportunity to interject her own social commentary. This will appeal . . . to fans of Brown’s Sneaky Pie novels.”—Publishers Weekly
The chase is on in New York Times bestselling author Rita Mae Brown’s gripping new foxhunting mystery, featuring the irrepressible “Sister” Jane Arnold and the wily antics of her four-legged friends. In Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, a century-old crime reawakens bad will—and stirs up a scandal that chills Sister to the bone.
Sister Jane and the Jefferson Hunt Club have traveled from Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains to the Bluegrass State of Kentucky to ride with the members of the Woodford Hounds—in the teeth of foul weather. Sister knows better than anyone that an ill wind blows no good.
After the hunt, Sister Jane and her boyfriend, Gray Lorillard, head to a sumptuous party on a nearby estate, also home to a historic equine graveyard. The revelry is interrupted by jarring news: The discovery of grisly remains in the cemetery that are decidedly not equine.
Now Sister and her hounds are on the case, digging up clues to an old murder that links three well-connected Southern families. When mayhem follows the Jefferson Hunt back to Virginia, the deadly doings become all too real: A dear friend of Sister’s is found murdered. Sister and her animal friends must work fast to find a clever killer determined to keep deep-rooted secrets buried.
A rollicking, riveting mystery, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie is a masterly novel full of colorful characters, gorgeous country landscapes, and the breathtaking thrill of the hunt.
Praise for Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
“A knotty murder mystery . . . Cunning foxes, sensible hounds, and sweet-tempered horses are among the sparkling conversationalists in this charming series starring Jane (Sister) Arnold. . . . The biggest thrills are riding out with Sister and her chatty hounds on a cold, crisp morning.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[Brown] combines a clever plot, cherished characters and the beauty of nature and rural life to provide an entertaining whodunit.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Sister remains an intriguing and challenging sleuth. . . . [Brown’s] foxhunting titles are great for readers who like gentility with a wicked little twist.”—Library Journal
“Enjoyable [and] pleasurable . . . Enough with the demographics of foxhunting as most people view it; if I’ve learned one thing from reading Rita Mae Brown, it is to expect the unexpected!”—Huntington News
“Whether you’re a fox chaser or not, Brown’s storytelling skills will keep you entertained throughout.”—In & Around Horse Country
“As usual, Brown is at her best when relaying the animals’ quirks and conversations, and mischievous foxes are a delight.”—Publishers Weekly
“Fun . . . [Let Sleeping Dogs Lie takes] readers on an adventure.”—RT Book Reviews
“[Rita Mae Brown] enlivens a timely tale with . . . amusing accounts of her four-legged creations and delightful descriptions of the central Virginia countryside.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
New York Times bestselling author Rita Mae Brown bounds to the front of the pack with Fox Tracks, the thrilling new mystery in her beloved foxhunting series featuring the indomitable “Sister” Jane Arnold and, among others, the boisterous company of horses and hounds. Now, as a string of bizarre murders sweeps the East Coast, this unlikely alliance must smoke out a devious killer who may be closer than they first think.
While outside on Manhattan’s Midtown streets a fierce snowstorm rages, nothing can dampen the excitement inside the elegant ballroom of Manhattan’s Pierre Hotel. Hunt clubs from all over North America have gathered for their annual gala, and nobody is in higher spirits than “Sister” Jane, Master of the Jefferson Hunt in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Braving the foul weather, Sister and her young friend “Tootie” Harris pop out to purchase cigars for the celebration at a nearby tobacco shop, finding themselves regaled by the colorful stories of its eccentric proprietor, Adolfo Galdos.
Yet the trip’s festive mood goes to ground later with the grisly discovery of Adolfo’s corpse. The tobacconist was shot in the head but found, oddly enough, with a cigarette pack of American Smokes laid carefully over his heart.
When a similar murder occurs in Boston, Sister’s “horse sense” tells her there’s a nefarious plot afoot—one that seems to originate in the South’s aromatic tobacco farms. Meanwhile, Sister’s nemesis, Crawford Howard, will stop at nothing to subvert the Jefferson Hunt Club. There’s more than one shadowy scheme in the works in Albemarle County, and some conspirators are unafraid of taking shots at those evidencing too keen an interest in other people’s business. When Sister voices her suspicions, she, too, becomes a target. Fortunately for her, the Master of the Jefferson Hunt may rely upon the wits and wiles of her four-legged friends—including horses Lafayette and Matador, the powerful hound, Dragon, and even the clever old red fox, Uncle Yancy!
From Manhattan’s gritty streets to the pastoral beauty of Virginia horse country, Fox Tracks features the beloved characters from past Sister Jane novels in a fascinating new intrigue. This sly, fast-paced mystery gives chase from sizzling start to stunning finish!
Praise for Rita Mae Brown’s “Sister” Jane novels
“Brown is a keen plotter who advances her story with well-placed clues and showy suspects.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[Brown] succeeds in conjuring a world in which prey are meant to survive the chase and foxes are knowing collaborators.”—People
“One of the most entertaining amateur sleuths since those of Agatha Christie.”—Booklist
“Sister” Jane Arnold, esteemed master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, has traveled to Kentucky for one of the biggest events of the season: the Mid-America Hound Show, where foxhounds, bassets, and beagles gather to strut their champion bloodline stuff. But the fun is squelched when immediately after the competition a contestant turns up dead–stripped to the waist and peppered with birdshot. Two weeks later, back in Virginia, a popular veterinarian dies from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Sister refuses to believe that her friend killed herself and vows to sniff out the truth. But before she can make real headway, a wealthy pet food manufacturer vanishes during the granddaddy of all canine exhibitions, the Virginia Hound Show.
Ever reliant on her “horse sense,” Sister can’t help but connect the three incidents, and what she uncovers will make her blood run colder than the bodies that keep turning up in unexpected places.
It’s February, prime foxhunting season for the members of Virginia’s Jefferson Hunt Club, when a shocking event alarms the community. A woman is found brutally murdered, stripped naked, and meticulously placed atop a horse statue outside a tack shop. The theft of a treasured foxhunting prize inside the store may be linked to the grisly scene, and everyone is on edge.
With few clues to go on, “Sister” Jane Arnold, master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, uses her fine-tuned horse sense to try to solve the mystery of this “Lady Godiva” murder. But Sister isn’t the only one equipped to sniff out the trail. The local foxes, horses, and hounds have their own theories on the whodunit. If only these peculiar humans could just listen to them, they’d see that the killer might be right under their oblivious noses–and that Sister could become the killer’s next victim.
Praise for The Tell-Tale Horse:
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE BESTSELLER
“[A] charming and engrossing series . . . Sister Jane Arnold is Master of the Foxhounds as well as one of the most entertaining amateur sleuths since those of Agatha Christie.” –Booklist
“Intriguing . . . Fans of the series will be fascinated with Jane’s evolution under Brown’s hand. With each book, Jane becomes more real–and more human–in the reader’s imagination.” –Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Grabs readers from the opening scene and gallops through to the very surprising end.” –Horse Illustrated
Critics and fans alike are wild about Rita Mae Brown’s richly imagined and utterly engaging foxhunting mysteries–and this latest novel promises more thrilling hunts, breathtaking vistas, and an all-new sinister scandal.
Millions of dollars seem to be missing after a long-overdue audit of the local aluminum plant reveals a major accounting discrepancy. Company president Garvey Stokes finds himself at a loss–in more ways than one. He turns to his sharp-tongued, ornery bookkeeper, Iphigenia “Iffy” Demetrios, for an explanation, but she’s no help. Yet when the fuzzy math suddenly includes a body count, the figures can no longer be ignored.
While the town sheriff tries to get to the bottom of the matter, leave it to “Sister” Jane Arnold, venerable master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, to rely on her keen horse-and-hound sense to follow the trail of murder and cover-up. Throwing her off the scent, however, is former hunt club donor and all-around cad Crawford Howard, who thinks he can go toe-to-toe with the beloved septuagenarian and outclass her club by grossly sidestepping hound- and-hunt etiquette. Against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a menagerie of friends, foes, and fresh new faces saddle up for the breakneck ride to unravel the conspiracy. Even the furry denizens in the fields and boroughs have a thing or two to say about these peculiar humans.
Incomparable author Rita Mae Brown returns to the glorious hills of Virginia and its genteel foxhunting society, where how much money you have in the bank is not nearly as important as how long your family has lived on the land–and where nearly everyone has something to hide. As Sister muses, “The little secrets leak out. The big ones, well, some escape like evils from Pandora’s box. And others we’ll never know.”
“A rich, atmospheric murder mystery . . . rife with love, scandal . . . redemption, greed and nobility,” raved the San Jose Mercury News about Outfoxed, Rita Mae Brown’s first foxhunting masterpiece. In The Hunt Ball, the latest novel in this popular series, all the ingredients Brown’s readers love are abundantly present: richness of character and landscape, the thrill of the hunt, and the chill of violence.
The trouble begins at Custis Hall, an exclusive girls’ school in Virginia that has gloried in its good name for nearly two hundred years. At first, the outcry is a mere tempest in a silver teapot–a small group of students protesting the school’s exhibit of antique household objects crafted by slaves–and headmistress Charlotte Norton quells the ruckus easily. But when one of the two hanging corpses ornamenting the students’ Halloween dance turns out to be real–the body of the school’s talented fund-raiser, in fact–Charlotte and the entire community are stunned. Everyone liked Al Perez, or so it seemed, yet his murder was particularly unpleasant.
Even “Sister” Jane Arnold, master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, beloved by man and beast, is at a loss, although she knows better than anyone where the bodies are buried in this community of land-grant families and new-money settlers. Aided and abetted by foxes and owls, cats and hounds, Sister picks up a scent that leads her in a most unwelcome direction: straight to the heart of the foxhunting crowd. The chase is on, not only for foxes but also for a deadly human predator.
No one has created a fictional paradise more delightful than the rolling hills of Rita Mae Brown’s Virginia countryside, or has more charmingly captured the rituals of the hunt. No one understands human and animal nature more deeply. The Hunt Ball combines a rounded, welcoming world with an edge of unforgettable white-knuckled menace.
In the third novel of her captivating foxhunting series, Rita Mae Brown welcomes readers back for a final tour of a world where most business is conducted on horseback–and stables are de rigueur for even the smallest of estates. Here, in the wealth-studded hills of Jefferson County, Virginia, even evil rides a mount.
The all-important New Year’s Hunt commences amid swirling light snow. It is the last formal hunt of the season; therefore, participation is required no matter how hungover riders are from toasting the midnight before. On this momentous occasion, “Sister” Jane Arnold, master of the foxhounds, announces her new joint master and the new president of the Jefferson Hunt. And her choices will prove to be no less than shocking.
The day’s festivities are quickly marred, though, by what appears on the surface to be an unrelated tragedy. Sam Lorillard, former shining star and Harvard Law School alum, lies dead of a stab wound on a baggage cart at the old train station, surrounded by the outcasts and vagabonds who composed his social circle at the end of life. No one can remember when Sam started drinking, but the downward spiral was swift–and seemingly deadly.
Murder is followed by scandal when Sister Jane discovers dishonest hunting practices going on in a neighboring club. Unsure whether to turn a blind eye or report the infringement to the proper authority, Sister and her huntsman, Shaker Crown, decide to investigate a little further, with the help of their trusty hounds. But when they come a little too close to the staggering truth–and uncover an unforeseen connection to Lorillard’s murder–they realize they might not survive to see the next New Year’s Hunt.
Intricate, witty, and full of the varied voices of creatures both great and small, Full Cry is an astute reminder that even those with the bluest of blood still bleed red.
In her well-received novel Outfoxed, Rita Mae Brown vividly and deftly brought to life the genteel world of foxhunting, where hunters, horses, hounds, and foxes form a tightly knit community amidst old money and simmering conflicts. With Hotspur, we return to the Southern chase–and to a hunt on the trail of a murderer.
Jane “Sister” Arnold may be in her seventies, but she shows no signs of losing her love for the Hunt. As Master of the prestigious Jefferson Hunt Club in a well-heeled Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain town, she is the most powerful and revered woman in the county. She can assess the true merits of a man or a horse with uncanny skill. In short, Sister Jane is not easily duped.
When the skeleton of Nola Bancroft, still wearing an exquisite sapphire ring on her finger, is unearthed, it brings back a twenty-one year old mystery. Beautiful Nola was a girl who had more male admirers than her family had money, which was certainly quite a feat. In a world where a woman’s ability to ride was considered one of her most important social graces, Nola was queen of the stable. She had a weakness for men, and her tastes often ventured towards the inappropriate, like the sheriff’s striking son, Guy Ramy. But even Guy couldn’t keep her eyes from wandering.
When Nola and Guy disappeared on the Hunt’s ceremonial first day of cubbing more than two decades ago, everyone assumed one of two things: Guy and Nola eloped to escape her family’s disapproval; or Guy killed Nola in a jealous rage and vanished. But Sister Jane had never bought either of those theories. Sister knows that all the players are probably still in place, the old feuds haven’t died, and the sparks that led to a long-ago murder could flare up at any time.
Hotspur brings all of Rita Mae Brown’s storytelling gifts to the fore. It’s a tale of Southern small-town manners and rituals, a compelling and intricate murder mystery, and a look at the human/animal relationship in all its complexity and charm.
From the bestselling author of the landmark work Rubyfruit Jungle comes an engaging, original new novel that only Rita Mae Brown could have written. In the pristine world of Virginia foxhunting, hunters, horses, hounds, and foxes form a lively community of conflicting loyalties, where the thrill of the chase and the intricacies of human-animal relationships are experienced firsthand–and murder exposes a proud Southern community’s unsavory secrets. . . .
As Master of the prestigious Jefferson Hunt Club, Jane Arnold, known as Sister, is the most revered citizen in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain town where a rigid code of social conduct and deep-seated tradition carry more weight than money. Nearing seventy, Sister now must select a joint master to ensure a smooth transition of leadership after her death. It is an honor of the highest order–and one that any serious social climber would covet like the Holy Grail.
Virginian to the bone with a solid foxhunting history, Fontaine Buruss is an obvious candidate, but his penchant for philandering and squandering money has earned him a less than sparkling reputation. And not even Sister knows about his latest tawdry scandal. Then there is Crawford Howard, a Yankee in a small town where Rebel bloodlines are sacred. Still, Crawford has money–lots of it–and as Sister is well aware, maintaining a first-class hunt club is far from cheap.
With the competition flaring up, Southern gentility flies out the window. Fontaine and Crawford will stop at nothing to discredit each other. Soon the entire town is pulled into a rivalry that is spiraling dangerously out of control. Even the animals have strong opinions, and only Sister is able to maintain objectivity. But when opening hunt day ends in murder, she, too, is stunned.
Who was bold and skilled enough to commit murder on the field? It could only be someone who knew both the territory and the complex nature of the hunt inside out. Sister knows of three people who qualify–and only she, with the help of a few clever foxes and hounds, can lay the trap to catch the killer.
A colorful foray into an intriguing world, Outfoxed features a captivating cast of Southerners and their unforgettable animal counterparts. Rita Mae Brown has written a masterful novel that surprises, delights, and enchants.