Winter blizzards bring a flurry of cases to solve in this riveting new foxhunting mystery featuring “Sister” Jane Arnold and her incorrigible hounds from New York Times bestselling author Rita Mae Brown.
Frigid February air has settled into the bones of the Blue Ridge Mountains, making for a slow foxhunting season, though “Sister” Jane Arnold’s enthusiasm is not so easily deterred. With the winter chill come tweed coats, blazing fireplaces—and perhaps another to share the warmth with, as the bold hunting scarlets worn by the men in Sister Jane’s hunting club make the hearts of women flutter—until someone’s stops entirely.
Harry Dunbar, a member of the Jefferson Hunt club with a penchant for antique furniture, is found with his skull cracked at the bottom of the stairs to a local store. There are no telltale signs of foul play—save for the priceless (and stolen) Erté fox ring in his pocket. Sister and her hounds set out to uncover the truth: was this simply an accident—a case of bad luck—or something much more sinister?
Steeped in the deep traditions of Virginia horse country and featuring a colorful cast of characters both two- and four-legged, Scarlet Fever is another spirited mystery from Rita Mae Brown.
In bestseller Brown's genial, smoothly written 12th novel set in Virginia horse country (after 2018's Homeward Hound), antiques shop owner Harry Dunbar, who apparently took a fatal fall down some steep steps, is mourned by his fellow members of the Jefferson Hunt Club, except for Drew Taylor. Without offering any proof, Drew accused Harry of "cheating him and seducing his late mother." When hounds find the body of Drew's brother, who suffered from dementia, hidden under some brush, Harry's close friend Jane Arnold (aka Sister), the club's Master of Foxhounds, fears the two deaths may be connected. The sudden arrival of Harry's wife, whom no one knew existed, and the discovery of an expensive woman's ring in Harry's pocket add to Sister's suspicions. The opening cast of characters, which includes background on both people and talking animals, will be particularly useful to newcomers, who will soon figure out that the philosophical commentary of a host of humans, horses, foxhounds, foxes, and other four-footed creatures matters more than the sleuthing. Series fans will welcome the wealth of detail about the fox hunting world.
Not the best of the Sister Jane series. Too much fox-hunting specifics and not enough plot. Very thin for a Rita Mae Brown outing.