Nice but nosy English teacher Sarah Deane (Dude on Arrival, etc.), newly married to Dr. Alex McKenzie, is embroiled in the problems of her neighbors in Union, Maine. Her Aunt Julia, aging but feisty owner of High Hope horse farm, is beleaguered by threatening unsigned letters; the persistent marriage proposals of Colonel Harvey Dodge, owner of the going-to-seed farm next door; rumors of farm sales to Norminco, a mining conglomerate; and, finally, the disappearance of skilled but erratic workers Sean and Rafe and the murder of the Colonel's right-hand man, Farney Thompson, while on loan to Julia. Complicating all this are the ravings of ditsy Tilly Martin, of Appleyard farm; the cool calculating of Winka and Neil Wentworth, owners of Highfeather summer camp; and the resistance to the mining company of Merrilark Camp's Brad Pfeifer. Meanwhile, there are endless details of horse meets, races, jumping competitions, riding lessons, etc. -- along with characters who belie, one and all, the Maine reputation for terseness of speech. A windy bore, overstuffed with plot twists, horse lore, and talky but (with the exception of Tilly) uncompelling characters. No joy, except for dedicated horse-lovers.