I haven’t read a Rita Mae Brown for a long time. She’s now known for intricate and fun mysteries, set in her part of Old South Virginia – and almost always involving talking animals, whether to themselves or directly to humans. Back in the day, she was a shocking surprising 60/70s writer. Really part of the whole group of writers who helped us understand what was being created.
The Tell-Tale Horse, which I just finished, is one of her most recent, and is about fox hunting, its ways and rituals – and about murder. It could have been called the Lady Godiva mystery. The fox hunting part is fun – turns out they don’t ever intend to kill the fox. The thrill is in catching the scent, following the hounds, riding wonderful horses, figuring out where the fox has gone to ground – and then hanging out together afterwards at tailgate parties. Reading the book, we get to see the wonderful countryside, and hear side conversations from several animals – owls, crows, foxes, hounds. Those hounds definitely have their own personal idiosyncracies.
Rita Mae Brown may not write what she used to – but she is still a terrific writer. If you’re looking for smart fun – this is one to pick.