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
Bestseller Brown's meandering 10th Sister Jane mystery (after 2014's Let Sleeping Dogs Lie) is more about the rarified world of Virginia fox hunting than murder. After the discovery of a cell phone video depicting Hunting Hall of Famer Wesley "Weevil" Carruthers playing a hunting call on his vintage scrimshaw horn, the horn itself is found to be missing from a museum display case. Bafflingly, the video shows a handsome man in his early 30s, but Weevil disappeared in 1954 and would be in his 90s today. Most think he was murdered, but his body was never found. Has Weevil actually returned from the dead, and if so, why now? After Weevil appears to a few elderly locals who may know something about his long-ago disappearance, Jane Arnold, Master of Hounds of the Jefferson Hunt Club, decides to investigate. 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 mainly to fans of Brown's Sneaky Pie novels, which also feature talking animals.
A Sister Jane novel
Crazy Like a Fox by Rita Mae Brown is the tenth book in the Sister Jane series. Jane Arnold and Marian Maggiolo are at Museum of Hound’s and Hunting in Morven Park. They talk about Wesley “Weevil” Carruthers. Wesley disappeared in 1954 and his body was never found. His horn is on display in the museum. After enjoying dinner, they return to the museum to retrieve Marion’s phone. They discover Wesley’s horn missing, but the thief left a selfie behind on Marion’s phone. It appears to be Wesley Carruthers on the phone holding his horn. Who is the man on the phone and why did he steal the horn? Jane sets out to get answers with the help of her trusty animal sidekicks and return the horn to the museum. Jane delves into Wesley’s past to discover what happened back in 1954. But someone does not appreciate Jane’s investigation and sets out to halt her progress.
Crazy Like a Fox is a confusing novel. I had not heard of this series prior to picking up a copy of Crazy Like a Fox. I quickly discovered that it is not a standalone novel. The book starts out with a long list of characters (including many animals) and terminology (not a promising start). Who wants to keep flipping to a list to figure out how this person knows that person? The author did not provide the backstory needed. I found the writing awkward and the dialogue between the human characters to be stilted. I felt the author tried to cram too much into one story. I believe it is supposed to be cute with all the various animals investigating and talking, but I did not find it appealing. It just lent to the confusion. I could not get interested in the storyline. I was bored and could not wait for the book to end. The information on fox hunting was confusing. I thought it was too technical for the average reader. The mystery was simple and can easily be solved (if you can stay interested). I am rating Crazy Like a Fox 2 out of 5 stars.