Resurrecting the gabby hounds, foxes, horses, owls, pussycats, and humans of Charlottesville, Virginia (Outfoxed, 2000, etc.), Brown has them all talking about the latest travail in the sanguinary history of the Jefferson Hunt Club: A morning ride under the auspices of Master of the Hunt, septuagenarian “Sister” Jane Arnold, accidentally unearths a corpse that’s been interred for 21 years. Equally upsetting to all is the discovery a short time later of another long-dead corpse. Who killed and hid the high-spirited coquette Nola and the most serious of her beaux, movie-star handsome Guy? Surely it couldn’t be work plotted decades ago by a Hunt Club member! Between endless discussions of dog-training, horse-jumping, boot-polishing, and the occasional witty aphorism (“Nobody’s worthless. They can always serve as a horrible example”), Brown tosses in the Hapsburg Sapphire dinner ring as a red herring and Nola’s sister’s whopping inheritance as a motive, and even another body—poor dear Ralph, shot dead in the fog while returning from a hunt—for titillation. But it is up to the indomitable Sister to mount a sting (on horseback, of course) that will corral the guilty just in time for the official opening of the Fall Hunt season.
Brown, who would make an excellent color commentator should ESPN decide to televise fox-hunting, continues her insufferable habit of anthropomorphizing birds, felines, dogs, mares, and so on. Just right, as usual, for readers who like this sort of thing.