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Full Cry    by Rita Mae Brown order for
Full Cry
by Rita Mae Brown
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Full Cry is a marvelous how-to book on foxhunting - with all its panoply of thundering hooves, baying of hounds, thrill of the chase, strident blasts of a hunting horn, and the camaraderie of those on horseback. It is also a training manual for the breeding, raising and running of foxhounds, and offers a treatise on horses and their part in the foxhunting world.

Seventy-two year old 'Sister' Jane Arnold is master of foxhounds of the Jefferson Hunt Club in the rolling hills of Virginia. Sister is in the right occupation for, like her horses, she was bred to the life. She loves her hounds and horses and men - and finds time for all. She also can't accept that a local alcoholic, whom she danced with as a girl, has died from his proclivities. Turns out she was right. Hemlock had been slipped to him in his beverage of choice.

The mystery, that Jane eventually solves, is incidental to this masterful work on the vagaries of a world reserved for the few. Jane also gets to discuss at great length many of the issues that plague this old world of ours. Such as AIDS, loose morals, gun control, racism, politics and the unfairness of growing old. Though a good read (that's hard to put down), Full Cry is not what I expected in a book touted to be a mystery.

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