cover image Lost and Hound

Lost and Hound

Rita Mae Brown. Ballantine, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-593-35757-6

Brown’s wearying 15th cozy featuring Jefferson Hunt Club foxhound master “Sister” Jane Arnold (after 2022’s Thrill of the Hunt) once again mixes amateur sleuthing and animal antics. Just after the start of hunting season in northern Virginia, hunt club members find the mutilated body of a stranger tied to a chair and left in the woods. Then a huntsman’s stamp collection goes missing, and Sister learns that the murder victim was a stamp collector. When a mysterious stamp turns up on the garage door of hunt club treasurer Ronnie Haslip a short time later, Sister launches an investigation to keep the body count from rising. The mystery in this installment is exceptionally thin, leaving plenty of room for Sister to muse on the music she listens to, for the birds and horses and foxes on the hunting grounds to converse, and for Brown to poke around the romantic exploits of various hunt club members. It all feels aimless and familiar, with little to grab new readers. Hardcore fans might enjoy themselves, but there are signs that this series has run its course. Agents: Emily Forland and Emma Patterson, Brandt & Hochman. (Oct.)