If horses could talk, what would they say? (“I don’t like going to horse shows—? —I feel like I’m always being judged”?) Because her editor’s have read The Horse Whisperer, Natalie Gold, fashion reporter for the Charlotte Commercial Appeal, needs to interview a horse psychic like Sarah Jane Lowell—which is why she’s on hand for the discovery of the mortal remains of Sarah Jane’s client, baleful Family Value Stores heiress Fuzzy McMahon, as it’s being returned to the soil via a pile of manure. Since Sarah Jane’s known to have had very unprofessional relations with Fuzzy’s philandering widower, it’s not surprising that she hightails it out of the McMahon spread, but why does she have to take Nattie’s manic-depressive father with her? With philosophical resignation, Nattie and Tony Odom, her buddy in the sheriff’s department, turn their attention to the other suspects, whom Fuzzy’s sunny disposition has made nearly coextensive with the Charlotte telephone directory. Aside from lascivious Bobby McMahon, there’s a raft of New Age fakirs and fakers; the scheming parents of young Ashlee McMahon’s girlfriends-turned-rivals in the show ring; and, for good measure, hate-spouting preacher Rowe Quarrels, who may fancy little boys--all of them dished in Nattie’s inimitably bratty prose. Even more than in Nattie’s first two cases (Chestnut Mare, Beware, 1996, etc.), the distinctive milieu here, complete with reported equine dialogue, overshadows the conventional mystery. It’s probably just as well, as Mr. Ed would say.