Rita Mae Brown fervently believes that felines are a lot smarter than most people, and in her popular Mrs. Murphy mysteries, the cats are always leaps and bounds ahead of their human companions. (They also speak in italics, which makes it easy to distinguish them from their somewhat bumbling owner/companions.) In Outfoxed the foxes, hounds, and a few clever birds solve a murder that's hardly more than a raison d'être for Brown's thorough and detailed description of the highly ritualized world of the Jefferson Hunt. Fox hunting is more than just an entertaining way to spend a fall afternoon in Virginia--it's a way of life for everyone involved, from Sister Jane, the Master of the Fox Hunt, to Crawford Howard and Fontaine Buruss, two men who'd kill for the chance to succeed her. By the time a death actually occurs, Brown is three-fourths of the way to the last page, but it doesn't really matter; by this point, the reader is wholly involved in the arcane world of casts, whippers, scent stations, ratshots, and the social rules of the canid and canine communities. And while a man has been murdered, it's the slaughter of the fox used to lure him to his death that really upsets Sister, the strong-willed matriarch who is the novel's protagonist. The thrill of the chase--the hunt itself, not the search for the killer--is on every page of this masterful foray into a fascinating world. And as usual in a Rita Mae Brown novel, the animals have the best lines as well as the last word. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
As Master of a prestigious 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 carries more weight than money. Nearing seventy, Sister now must select a joint master to ensure the club's future. It is an honor of the highest order--and one that any serious social climber would covet like the Holy Grail.
When the competition flares up between two determined candidates, Southern gentility flies out the window. Soon the entire town is pulled into a rivalry that is spiraling dangerously out of control. Even the animals have strong opinions. But when opening hunt day ends in murder, Sister is stunned. Now, with the help of a few clever foxes and hounds, she must lay the trap to catch the killer.
Mystery involving a different way of life..., August 18, 2003 Reviewer: Karen Sadler from Freedom, Pa. USA I am getting the distinct feeling that many people are not happy with this information concerning fox hunting in America. Myself, I find it interesting (since Virgina is barely a hop, skip, and a jump away from Pennsylvania). Also, many readers are a little skeptical of Brown's anthromorphizing of the animals in her book. Even though we do not understand everything there is to know about animals, I do know as a scientist that many of the past ways of looking at animals are untrue. For years, scientists said animals did not play. That's been disproven on many fronts. When was the last time you saw an otter? Sometimes I think all they do is play and preen themselves. And zoos are now giving animals all kinds of 'human' things like balls, ropes, etc. because they found out that animals like bears and monkees are prone to depression if they don't have much to play with, or never see anything new to explore. Enough of the ranting. I enjoyed this book. It obviously came before one of her other books I read with 'Sister' in it. Some of the talk between the animals is absolutely hilarious, just because I can imagine the dumb things that we do as humans probably amuse them. As for animals like foxes becoming used to people, it does happen...we went camping and had three skunks as visitors, who would munch on marshmallows for an hour while around the campfire, and then left to bug someone else. Screams all over the campsite but no one got sprayed. Those skunks knew we were a source of treats. I don't recommend feeding wild animals usually, and especially with rabies in raccons and skunks. But these guys were harmless, and just after our food. I imagine the animals got a big kick out of scaring campers too. Rita Mae Brown has always been a favorite of mine, and will continue to be as she writes. She is a good writer, and I happen to like the dialogue between humans and between animals. This is a method of writing that has been around for a long time...remember Watership Down, and of course, Animal Farm by George Orwell. This is just a light and enjoyable read. When you have to read bioethics and science stuff all the time, it is nice to have something like this at your bedside. Karen Sadler