Outfoxed

"Sister" Jane

Book 1
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From the bestselling author of the landmark work Rubyfruit Jungle comes an engaging, original new novel that only Rita Mae Brown could have written. In the pristine world of Virginia foxhunting, hunters, horses, hounds, and foxes form a lively community of conflicting loyalties, where the thrill of the chase and the intricacies of human-animal relationships are experienced firsthand--and murder exposes a proud Southern community's unsavory secrets. . . .

As Master of the prestigious Jefferson Hunt Club, Jane Arnold, known as Sister, is the most revered citizen in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain town where a rigid code of social conduct and deep-seated tradition carry more weight than money. Nearing seventy, Sister now must select a joint master to ensure a smooth transition of leadership after her death. It is an honor of the highest order--and one that any serious social climber would covet like the Holy Grail.

Virginian to the bone with a solid foxhunting history, Fontaine Buruss is an obvious candidate, but his penchant for philandering and squandering money has earned him a less than sparkling reputation. And not even Sister knows about his latest tawdry scandal. Then there is Crawford Howard, a Yankee in a small town where Rebel bloodlines are sacred. Still, Crawford has money--lots of it--and as Sister is well aware, maintaining a first-class hunt club is far from cheap.

With the competition flaring up, Southern gentility flies out the window. Fontaine and Crawford will stop at nothing to discredit each other. Soon the entire town is pulled into a rivalry that is spiraling dangerously out of control. Even the animals have strong opinions, and only Sister is able to maintain objectivity. But when opening hunt day ends in murder, she, too, is stunned.

Who was bold and skilled enough to commit murder on the field? It could only be someone who knew both the territory and the complex nature of the hunt inside out. Sister knows of three people who qualify--and only she, with the help of a few clever foxes and hounds, can lay the trap to catch the killer.

A colorful foray into an intriguing world, Outfoxed features a captivating cast of Southerners and their unforgettable animal counterparts. Rita Mae Brown has written a masterful novel that surprises, delights, and enchants.


From the Hardcover edition.
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About the author

Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of the Sneaky Pie Brown series; the Sister Jane series; A Nose for Justice and Murder Unleashed; Rubyfruit Jungle; In Her Day; and Six of One, as well as several other novels. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Ballantine Books
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Published on
Jul 26, 2005
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780345485960
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Action & Adventure
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Book 2
In her well-received novel Outfoxed, Rita Mae Brown vividly and deftly brought to life the genteel world of foxhunting, where hunters, horses, hounds, and foxes form a tightly knit community amidst old money and simmering conflicts. With Hotspur, we return to the Southern chase–and to a hunt on the trail of a murderer.

Jane “Sister” Arnold may be in her seventies, but she shows no signs of losing her love for the Hunt. As Master of the prestigious Jefferson Hunt Club in a well-heeled Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain town, she is the most powerful and revered woman in the county. She can assess the true merits of a man or a horse with uncanny skill. In short, Sister Jane is not easily duped.

When the skeleton of Nola Bancroft, still wearing an exquisite sapphire ring on her finger, is unearthed, it brings back a twenty-one year old mystery. Beautiful Nola was a girl who had more male admirers than her family had money, which was certainly quite a feat. In a world where a woman’s ability to ride was considered one of her most important social graces, Nola was queen of the stable. She had a weakness for men, and her tastes often ventured towards the inappropriate, like the sheriff’s striking son, Guy Ramy. But even Guy couldn’t keep her eyes from wandering.

When Nola and Guy disappeared on the Hunt’s ceremonial first day of cubbing more than two decades ago, everyone assumed one of two things: Guy and Nola eloped to escape her family’s disapproval; or Guy killed Nola in a jealous rage and vanished. But Sister Jane had never bought either of those theories.
Sister knows that all the players are probably still in place, the old feuds haven’t died, and the sparks that led to a long-ago murder could flare up at any time.

Hotspur brings all of Rita Mae Brown’s storytelling gifts to the fore. It’s a tale of Southern small-town manners and rituals, a compelling and intricate murder mystery, and a look at the human/animal relationship in all its complexity and charm.


From the Hardcover edition.
Book 3
In the third novel of her captivating foxhunting series, Rita Mae Brown welcomes readers back for a final tour of a world where most business is conducted on horseback–and stables are de rigueur for even the smallest of estates. Here, in the wealth-studded hills of Jefferson County, Virginia, even evil rides a mount.

The all-important New Year’s Hunt commences amid swirling light snow. It is the last formal hunt of the season; therefore, participation is required no matter how hungover riders are from toasting the midnight before. On this momentous occasion, “Sister” Jane Arnold, master of the foxhounds, announces her new joint master and the new president of the Jefferson Hunt. And her choices will prove to be no less than shocking.

The day’s festivities are quickly marred, though, by what appears on the surface to be an unrelated tragedy. Sam Lorillard, former shining star and Harvard Law School alum, lies dead of a stab wound on a baggage cart at the old train station, surrounded by the outcasts and vagabonds who composed his social circle at the end of life. No one can remember when Sam started drinking, but the downward spiral was swift–and seemingly deadly.

Murder is followed by scandal when Sister Jane discovers dishonest hunting practices going on in a neighboring club. Unsure whether to turn a blind eye or report the infringement to the proper authority, Sister and her huntsman, Shaker Crown, decide to investigate a little further, with the help of their trusty hounds. But when they come a little too close to the staggering truth–and uncover an unforeseen connection to Lorillard’s murder–they realize they might not survive to see the next New Year’s Hunt.

Intricate, witty, and full of the varied voices of creatures both great and small, Full Cry is an astute reminder that even those with the bluest of blood still bleed red.


From the Hardcover edition.
Book 6
The hunt is on in this new installment of Rita Mae Brown’s clever and engaging series. Only instead of chasing foxes into their dens, the locals must track down a killer and save the life of one of the most beloved folks in town.

It’s February, prime foxhunting season for the members of Virginia’s Jefferson Hunt Club. The girls at Custis Hall are finishing their last semester before heading off to college, the entrepreneurially shrewd Crawford Howard is still smarting from January’s breech in hound etiquette, and the Casanova Hunt Club is hosting their annual ball. New neighbors bring new friendships, and romance is in the air.

Then a shocking event alarms the community. A woman is found brutally murdered, stripped naked, and meticulously placed atop a horse statue outside a tack shop. The theft of a treasured foxhunting prize inside the store may be linked to the grisly scene, and everyone is on edge.

With few clues to go on, “Sister” Jane Arnold, master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, uses her fine-tuned horse sense to try to solve the mystery of this “Lady Godiva” murder. The septuagenarian still has a strong spring in her step and her wits about her, but that may not be enough. As Sister gets closer to the truth, she could become the killer’s next victim.

But humans aren’t the only ones equipped to sniff out the trail. The local foxes, horses, and hounds have their own theories on the whodunit. If only these peculiar people could just listen to them, they’d see that the killer might be right under their oblivious noses.

Once again, this charming southern community finds itself caught up in a bone-chilling tale of murder and greed. It’s up to everyone, two- and four-legged alike, to band together, beat the bushes, and bring to bay the evil forces that have declared the Jefferson Hunt Club fair game–because foul play is never in season.


From the Hardcover edition.
Rita Mae Brown
“The rare work of fiction that has changed real life . . . If you don’t yet know Molly Bolt—or Rita Mae Brown, who created her—I urge you to read and thank them both.”—Gloria Steinem
 
Winner of the Lambda Literary Pioneer Award | Winner of the Lee Lynch Classic Book Award
 
A landmark coming-of-age novel that launched the career of one of this country’s most distinctive voices, Rubyfruit Jungle remains a transformative work more than forty years after its original publication. In bawdy, moving prose, Rita Mae Brown tells the story of Molly Bolt, the adoptive daughter of a dirt-poor Southern couple who boldly forges her own path in America. With her startling beauty and crackling wit, Molly finds that women are drawn to her wherever she goes—and she refuses to apologize for loving them back. This literary milestone continues to resonate with its message about being true to yourself and, against the odds, living happily ever after.
 
Praise for Rubyfruit Jungle
 
“Groundbreaking.”—The New York Times
 
“Powerful . . . a truly incredible book . . . I found myself laughing hysterically, then sobbing uncontrollably just moments later.”—The Boston Globe
 
“You can’t fully know—or enjoy—how much the world has changed without reading this truly wonderful book.”—Andrew Tobias, author of The Best Little Boy in the World
 
“A crass and hilarious slice of growing up ‘different,’ as fun to read today as it was in 1973.”—The Rumpus
 
“Molly Bolt is a genuine descendant—genuine female descendant—of Huckleberry Finn. And Rita Mae Brown is, like Mark Twain, a serious writer who gets her messages across through laughter.”—Donna E. Shalala

“A trailblazing literary coup at publication . . . It was the right book at the right time.”—Lee Lynch, author of Beggar of Love


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Book 7
From New York Times bestselling author Rita Mae Brown comes the latest novel in her enthralling series of foxhunting mysteries. Richly imagined and utterly engaging, Hounded to Death reveals the cutthroat world of competitive hound shows as both humans and animals alike try to solve a series of bizarre deaths.

“Sister” Jane Arnold, esteemed master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, has traveled to Kentucky for one of the biggest events of the season: the Mid-South Hound Show, where foxhounds, bassets, and beagles gather to strut their champion bloodline stuff. But the fun is squelched when, immediately after the competition, one of the contestants, Mo Schneider, turns up dead–facedown, stripped to the waist, and peppered with birdshot. Universally detested by his peers, Mo had no shortage of enemies, making the list of suspects as long as the line for homemade pecan pie at a church bake sale.

Two weeks later, back in Virginia, Sister is rocked when her friend the popular veterinarian Hope Rogers dies from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Sister refuses to believe that Hope killed herself and vows to sniff out the truth. But before she can make real headway, a wealthy pet food manufacturer vanishes during the granddaddy of all canine exhibitions, the Virginia Hound Show.

Ever reliant on her “horse sense,” Sister can’t help but connect the three incidents. And what she uncovers will make her blood run colder than the bodies that keep turning up in unexpected places.

Thrilling adventures with horses and hounds, breathtaking vistas, furry friends, familiar faces–including Shaker Crown and the girls from Custis Hall–Rita Mae Brown weaves all these elements into a dazzling novel of suspense.


From the Hardcover edition.
Rita Mae Brown
Continuing in the exuberant tradition of Six of One, Bingo, and Loose Lips, New York Times bestselling author Rita Mae Brown returns to her much-loved fictional hamlet of Runnymede, whose memorable citizens are welcoming both the end of the Great War and the beginning of a new era.
 
The night a riot breaks out at the Capitol Theater movie house—during a Mary Pickford picture, no less—you can bet that the Hunsenmeir sisters, Louise and Julia, are nearby. Known locally as Wheezie and Juts, the inimitable, irrepressible, distinctly freethinking sisters and their delightful circle of friends are coming of age in a shifting world—and are determined to understand their place in it. Across town, the well-to-do Chalfonte siblings are preparing for the upcoming wedding of brother Curtis. But for youngest sister Celeste, the celebration brings about a change she never expected and a lesson about love she’ll not soon forget.
 
Set against the backdrop of America emerging from World War I, Cakewalk is an outrageous and affecting novel about a small town where ideas of sin and virtue, love and sex, men and women, politics and religion, can be as divided as the Mason-Dixon Line that runs right through it—and where there’s no problem that can’t be cured by a good yarn and an even better scotch. With her signature Southern voice, Rita Mae Brown deftly weaves generations of family stories into a spirited patchwork quilt of not-so-simple but joyously rich life.

Praise for Cakewalk

“[Cakewalk] is brimming over with [Rita Mae Brown’s] distinctive Southern voice that infuses every page with merriment, which allows her vibrant characters to take over the story and touch readers’ hearts. Her depictions of the inhabitants and the era are pitch-perfect as are the many subplots. Readers will feel as if they are living in Runnymede; running around with the teenagers, eavesdropping on the matrons planning the annual cakewalk and hiding in the closet of the wealthy families. An utterly delightful story.”—RT Book Reviews

“Brown has said that the Runnymede novels, starting with Six of One, are the ones she was born to write. . . . This is more loving domestic comedy of small-town life when times were simpler. Recommended for fans of Brown and beyond.”—Library Journal

“A delightful romp through small-town America, with all of its gossips and laughs, passions and rivalries, and through it all the importance of the thread of family.”—Historical Novels Review

“A feel-good novel told by an expert storyteller who delights in creating colorful and quirky characters.”—Shelf Awareness

“Two independent and free-thinking sisters, Louise and Julia Hunsenmeir (called Wheezie and Juts), push against the old-fashioned ways of drinking, dancing, and courting. . . . Characters were inspired by Brown’s own mother and sister, adding realism and depth to this uplifting story. Fans of Amy Hill Heath and Mary Kay Andrews will eat up this multigenerational ‘slice-of-life’ novel.”—Booklist

“There seems to be no end to [Rita Mae Brown’s] imagination, inventiveness, or storytelling artistry. . . . What is [Cakewalk] about? Life, love, baseball, war, peace, good whiskey, fashion, sex, religion, friendship–all in a rollicking and lively story that just keeps rolling along at a brisk pace. Ms. Brown paints such vivid scenes. . . . [Cakewalk is] entertaining, outrageous, thought-provoking, nostalgic, and great fun.”—My Merri Way
Book 26
Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown are back chasing mystery with their unique circle of Southern sleuths. And though the changing colors of fall are a beauty to behold, this year the scattered leaves hide a grim surprise. 

“As feline collaborators go, you couldn’t ask for better than Sneaky Pie Brown.”—The New York Times Book Review 

Autumn is in the air in the Blue Ridge Mountain community of Crozet, Virginia—and all the traditions of the changing seasons are under way. Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen cleans her cupboards, her husband, Fair, prepares the horses for the shorter days ahead, and the clamorous barking of beagles signals the annual rabbit chase through the central Virginia hills. But the last thing the local beaglers and their hounds expect to flush out is a dead body. 

Disturbingly, it’s the second corpse to turn up, after that of a missing truck driver too disfigured to identify. The deaths seem unrelated—until Harry picks up a trail of clues dating back to the state’s post-Revolutionary past.

The echoes of the Shot Heard Round the World pale in comparison to the dangerous shootout Harry narrowly escapes unscathed. Next time, it may be the killer who gets lucky. But not if Harry’s furry friends Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tucker can help it. Lending their sharp-nosed talents to the hunt, they’ll help their mistress keep more lives from being lost—and right an injustice buried since the early days of America’s independence.

Praise for A Hiss Before Dying

“Clearly the cat’s meow.”—Library Journal

“Thoroughly delightful!”—Red Carpet Crash

“An air of mystery, a touch of history and that undeniable voice . . . Sneaky Pie Brown is back on the prowl.”—Daily Progress

“The staccato conversation style of the contemporary chapters contrasts nicely with the more fluid prose of those set in the eighteenth century. Brown’s signature asides—on such subjects as local and national politics, traditional art, race, God, and just about anything else that strikes her fancy—give readers plenty to think about.”—Publishers Weekly
Book 10
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
Book 9
The chase is on in New York Times bestselling author Rita Mae Brown’s gripping new foxhunting mystery, featuring the irrepressible “Sister” Jane Arnold and the wily antics of her four-legged friends. In Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, a century-old crime reawakens bad will—and stirs up a scandal that chills Sister to the bone.
 
Sister Jane and the Jefferson Hunt Club have traveled from Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains to the Bluegrass State of Kentucky to ride with the members of the Woodford Hounds—in the teeth of foul weather. Sister knows better than anyone that an ill wind blows no good.
 
After the hunt, Sister Jane and her boyfriend, Gray Lorillard, head to a sumptuous party on a nearby estate, also home to a historic equine graveyard. The revelry is interrupted by jarring news: The discovery of grisly remains in the cemetery that are decidedly not equine.
 
Now Sister and her hounds are on the case, digging up clues to an old murder that links three well-connected Southern families. When mayhem follows the Jefferson Hunt back to Virginia, the deadly doings become all too real: A dear friend of Sister’s is found murdered. Sister and her animal friends must work fast to find a clever killer determined to keep deep-rooted secrets buried.
 
A rollicking, riveting mystery, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie is a masterly novel full of colorful characters, gorgeous country landscapes, and the breathtaking thrill of the hunt.

Praise for Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
 
“A knotty murder mystery . . . Cunning foxes, sensible hounds, and sweet-tempered horses are among the sparkling conversationalists in this charming series starring Jane (Sister) Arnold. . . . The biggest thrills are riding out with Sister and her chatty hounds on a cold, crisp morning.”—The New York Times Book Review

“[Brown] combines a clever plot, cherished characters and the beauty of nature and rural life to provide an entertaining whodunit.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Sister remains an intriguing and challenging sleuth. . . . [Brown’s] foxhunting titles are great for readers who like gentility with a wicked little twist.”—Library Journal
 
“Enjoyable [and] pleasurable . . . Enough with the demographics of foxhunting as most people view it; if I’ve learned one thing from reading Rita Mae Brown, it is to expect the unexpected!”—Huntington News
 
“Whether you’re a fox chaser or not, Brown’s storytelling skills will keep you entertained throughout.”—In & Around Horse Country

“As usual, Brown is at her best when relaying the animals’ quirks and conversations, and mischievous foxes are a delight.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Fun . . . [Let Sleeping Dogs Lie takes] readers on an adventure.”—RT Book Reviews


From the Hardcover edition.
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