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Fox Tracks    by Rita Mae Brown order for
Fox Tracks
by Rita Mae Brown
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

The eighth novel in her acclaimed foxhunting series, this suspense yarn features super, amateur sleuth Jane 'Sister' Arnold, a number of Sister's friend and her usual menagerie of four-legged friends.

Just into her seventies, Sister continues to serve as master of foxhounds of the Jefferson Hunt Club in central Virginia. When the novel opens, Sister is in Manhattan attending the annual gathering of hunt clubs from all over North America.

While in the city Sister makes the acquaintance of the eccentric proprietor of a tobacco shop that is close to her hotel. Shortly after the two meet, Adolfo Galdos, the tobacconist, is murdered. The corpse is oddly arranged with a pack of cigarettes arranged over his heart and a bullet in his head.

When a very similar crime occurs in Boston, Sister smells something rotten and the odor points to the tobacco farms in her neck of the woods. While using her horse sense to uncover the dastardly plot, the indomitable part-time investigator must also deal with an old adversary, Crawford Howard, who continues to cause trouble for the Jefferson Hunt Club.

Those who have followed this series know that Sister relies heavily on her animal assistants to solve her cases. Of course, they will play key roles in this story.

For those not familiar with Rita Mae Brown's fiction, the discovery of a cast of characters at the novel's outset may be a bit of a surprise. I have to admit that when I opened this book and discovered seven pages of character descriptions plus another five pages of Useful Terms, I was a bit taken aback.

Don't let this deter you, though. With some authors this would be a clear BEWARE warning that this is not a tightly plotted nor well written novel, but in this case that isn't the situation. I'd suggest that you skip that material and not refer to it unless necessary. I think you'll find that's not going to happen too often as you read Fox Tracks.

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