Yet another visit to Crozet, Virginia, where postmistress/horsewoman Mary Minor Haristeen (""Harry"") lives with her cat, Mrs. Murphy, and a corgi named Tucker--talkative sleuths both (Pay Dirt, 1995, etc.). On this weekend Crozet's horsey set is headed for the annual Montpelier Steeplechase--Harry; her ex-husband Fair, the Steeplechase vet; Chark Valiant and his sister Addle, working now for wealthy Mim Sanburne's stable but due soon to inherit a fortune from their mother Marylou, who vanished five years ago and is presumed dead. The Valiants' lawyer Arthur Tetrick, once Marylou's suitor, is there, too, along with stable-owner Mickey Townsend. Jockey Nigel Danforth, Addle Valiant's steady date, to her brother's dismay, has a mid-race fracas with jockey Linda Forloines, who, with trainer husband Will, had been hired from the Sanburne stable and is now heavily into drug dealing. All of Crozet society is partying at the Sanburnes' house after the races when Nigel Danforth is found in the barn stabbed to death, a playing card placed on his chest. Days later, jockey Coty Lamont suffers the same fate--autopsies showing drugs in both victims. There's more--much more--as the animal kingdom, including a colony of barn mice, discusses the murders and reaches its own conclusions while Sheriff Rick Shaw, Deputy Cynthia Cooper, and Harry plod on to the perfunctory finale. Cheerful and chatty but ultimately cloying--stuffed with more than you may want to know about horses, racetracks, and the mind-sets of cats and dogs. The author's loyal admirers will no doubt love every minute of this fifth in the series.