cover image The Hounds and the Fury

The Hounds and the Fury

Rita Mae Brown, . . Ballantine, $24.95 (315pp) ISBN 978-0-345-46547-4

In bestseller Brown's diverting fifth foxhunting mystery (after 2005's The Hunt Ball ), "Sister" Jane Arnold, the 73-year-old master of foxhounds at central Virginia's Jefferson Hunt Club, and a host of anthropomorphized dogs, horses, foxes and birds have their work cut out for them. As Sister prepares for the winter hunt, arrogant arriviste Crawford Howard acquires an "outlaw" pack of hounds and proceeds to set up a rival event on land long used by the Jefferson Hunt, a plan that threatens to tear the community apart. "People are like teabags. You never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water," notes Sister, who with her usual panache sorts out a murder, an attempted murder, an insurance scam and a huge sum of money gone missing from a local company. Cozy fans and animal lovers will be charmed, but the general reader may lose patience with the talking critters. (Oct.)