Chestnut Mare, Beware

Jody Jaffe, Author
Jody Jaffe, Author Ballantine Books $21 (0p) ISBN 978-0-449-90998-0
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
Mass Market Paperbound - 308 pages - 978-0-8041-1552-0
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Jaffe gallops into the winner's circle with the second (after Horse of a Different Killer) investigation featuring horse-crazy Natalie Gold, fashion writer for the Charlotte Commercial Appeal. Eager to attend a riding clinic taught by a famous trainer in Virginia horse country, Gold promises to write a page-one story on the four-year-old death of horsewoman and former Miss Connecticut Josane Ashmore. As ambitious as she was beautiful, Josane ran with a fast crowd in exclusive Middleburg, Va., thanks to a discreet sugar daddy. Josane's mother insists that her daughter's death was not caused by a fall from a horse but was a murder her friends tried to cover up. Poking through circumstances surrounding the event, Gold finds an abusive ex-boyfriend, an employee fired for theft and a nurse who insists that the dead woman wasn't bruised when she was brought to the hospital. Gold also offers moral support to fellow Appeal reporter Henry Goode, who is investigating vague, threatening letters sent to the paper. With the letters came lists of bigwigs in Virginia and the Carolinas with no apparent connection to each other. When these personages start dying in alphabetical order, their link becomes clear: the tobacco industry. Gold may be only a workhorse on the newspaper, but her devotion to the amateur-show circuit and her growing skills as a horsewoman gain her entree into the rarefied milieu of the horsey set. Its glitter contrasts with the sordid world of the tobacco industry until the two investigations are bound together as smoothly as horse and rider in dressage. Author tour. (Sept.)
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