Homeward Hound

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Intrigue grips the community amid the thrill of the holiday hunt. A blinding blizzard comes up, and, to make matters worse, a rider less horse returns, indicating a dreaded event may have occurred.  The rider, Gary Luckham, is the president of a well-known electric company pushing a controversial pipeline through the area.  A search begins for the missing man, but what follows is not a simple cut-and-dry operation but a possible murder.  Sister Jane Arnold and her hounds must now begin to unravel the mystery of what happened to the rider and who is to blame, delving into history, secrets and greed.

 I have read other books by the author but none in this particular series.  Like the others, the book was well written, with colorful and well-done characters.  I was not sure how well the plot gelled, however. The book also never does move along as easily or as well as her other books do. However, it is again neat to watch the animals interact and “speak” out to each other and the humans involved with them.  Some may not enjoy words put into the animals’ mouths, but I enjoy this, and often find their insights well worth the read.  This is a fairly interesting holiday story, which any reader, especially those who are familiar with and enjoy the series or the authors’ other books, will enjoy. I received this from NetGalley to read and review.
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I like the novels by Rita Mae Brown but I struggled with this story. Too much on fox hunting and the mystery ended too abruptly.  Talking animals I can enjoy but just not in this story.
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I feel really bad for giving the book only 2 stars and I must admit, I had some preconceived notions of what I expected and this book did not meet those expectations.

I have read many books by this author in the Mrs. Murphy series and so I thought this series would be similar.  No, not even close.  The animals do talk to each other, but not as much as I expected.  And they didn't show the need to protect and care for the humans.  Also the human characters didn't actively try to solve the murder.  It was finally at about 80% that they really started to speculate and try to figure out how the killer really was.  The book takes place is an area where they fox hunt and so there were many terms and pages describing the hunt.  Lots of characters, both human, hound, fox, and others.  Too many to easily keep track.

Now, what I liked.  The writing style is easy to read and the setting sounds beautiful.  I do enjoy reading about the animals and what they are thinking.  The mystery was that, I didn't guess who  the killer was until the big reveal.  And that happened just before the end and kind of abruptly.

Thanks to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.
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This was the first book I've read by Rita Mae Brown and thus the first "Sister" Jane installment I've read. I didn't realize when I first picked this book up that it was part of a larger series, but fortuantely Brown adds a helpful cast of characters list in the beginning and structures the story itself in such a way that I was able to follow along no problem. 

The best way for me to describe this book is that it's truly so much fun. I loved all of the quirk and inventive characters and how they interacted with one another. I also loved exploring the setting of this story and getting acquainted with the general storytelling atmosphere that Brown created. Brown offers an immense amount of detail in regards to many of the activities that occur, such as the hunt, which I think added great depth and authenticity to the story. I genuinely felt as though I came away from this book having learned something new.

Homeward Hound has a great mix of intrigue, informative content, and entertainment that work together to create a highly engaging novel. Overall, I had a great time reading this book and will certainly look at others in the series.
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I can always count on any book by Rita Mae Brown to be entertaining and have a good mystery to solve.  This one just confirms my opinion.  She gives us the story through the unique point of view of the animals...as she does in her other books.  These animals are well versed in how humans treat each other and what happens when their human "Sister Jane" has to figure out what happened and why.  It's very easy to read through the night when you start a Brown book.  A great read with an always great who done it.
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I am never disappointed when reading a Rita Mae Brown book and this story certainly proved the point. Great story, engaging and allows the reader to flow along with the story.
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I enjoy the Sister Jane books.  I haven't read one in awhile and I remember why I like them so much. The characters - all of them - are so well-developed.  Although these are standalone books, there is a fair amount of continuation in the characters.  In addition to the humans, the hounds, foxes, horses and other animals/birds are developed.  The story is seen through many eyes. If you know nothing about American fox hunting, you will learn the basics here.  

In Homeward Hound, the hunting territory and farms are threatened by a pipeline running through the area. Neighbors work on how to prevent the pipeline.  During a severe snowstorm the pipeline developer goes missing during a hunt. The hunt eventually discovers them and finally solves the mystery.
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I love Sister Jane and the rest of her foxhunting friends and animals.  I was worried when I saw this book that it would be political but Ms. Brown stayed pretty true to her mystery in this story.  This is book 11 in the Sister Jane series and deals with a murder during the Christmas fox hunt.  A representative for a company trying to route a pipeline through Virginia is missing and presumed dead.  It appears to be one of the club members knows more than they're telling. .  When a worker is found dead Jane and her friends try to find the killer.  I enjoy the animal talk in these books that certainly gives a different perspective. Ms Brown also gives both sides of the pipeline issue daylight.  This book can be read as a stand alone but the entire series is worth your time.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Going to the Dogs

	This is a book about fox hunting.  There is also a murder, with clues scattered across the snowy hunting fields.  There are LOTS of people, plus hounds, horses, foxes, and various other peripheral animals, all of whose interactions are amusing (and I enjoyed picking up a lot of information and terminology about hunting), with various social commentaries concerning pipelines, real estate development, and the human condition.  All edifying.  But, really, this is a paean to the beauty and joy of riding to the hounds.  NOTE:  Modern hunting is NOT about killing a fox; it seems to be just an excuse to go haring off on horseback in a social context. Sounds like a lot of fun!
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An odd book.
The mystery is pretty good, well plotted and developed.
But the overload of foxhunting details is to much.
The book begins with pages of information about the "cast" and their relationships as well as the animals, both domestic and wild!  That was almost enough to make me give up.
It turns out the various animals "talk", to themselves and each other!
Too cute, and I don't mean that in a nice way.

With less info dumping on foxhunting  and talking animals, I could have better appreciated the actual mystery.
As it was, all that go me so mentally bogged down that I lost track of who the guilty party actually was by the time it was revealed.
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I have little knowledge of fox hunting and it's intricacies. This is a fascinating book in that arena alone. It is also a good murder mystery swirling with greed, hints of politics and the environment. It could easily be a story in the news today. I enjoyed the addition of the voices of the characters in the book who have laws and hooves. That adds whimsy and interesting dimension to the book. I like that the members of the group were diverse in age and social standing, bound by their love of the life and activity of the sport.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for my copy of the book. I think anyone who is interested or has a great understanding of fox hunting will enjoy this story. The characters are very 'human' and the plot captured my attention.
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In this 11th book in the 'Sister Jane' series, a threatened assault to the lovely Virginia landscape results in murder. The book can be read as a standalone. 

*****

Jane Arnold, called "Sister", has been Master of Foxhounds (MFH) of The Jefferson Hunt - a foxhunting club in Jefferson County, Virginia - for over forty years. As MFH Sister hires and fires personnel; makes arrangements with landowners; develops the pack of hounds; organizes the hunts; and so on. The foxhunts are very popular, and Sister is aided by an array of personnel who command the hounds and make sure things run smoothly. 

The yearly Christmas Hunt is especially popular, and - despite warnings of snow - Sister decides to go ahead with it. One of the hunt members has invited a guest this year, a man called Gregory Luckham, who heads the huge energy company Soliden - based in Richmond, Virginia. 

Soliden plans to build an oil pipeline through Jefferson County, a project that will destroy land and despoil the environment. This infuriates some local residents, especially estate owners whose property values will plummet and conservationists concerned about the flora and fauna.

Luckham's host, a lawyer called Ronnie Howard, hopes that a ride through beautiful, historic Jefferson County will convince Luckham to alter the pipeline's route. The majority of club members - though angry at Luckham - are polite to him during the hunt, but one man is openly hostile and makes threats.

The Christmas Hunt is proceeding splendidly when a sudden snowstorm hits, obscuring everyone's vision and making it impossible to continue. The participants slowly make their way back to their vehicles and horse trailers.....everyone except for Luckham.....whose horse returns without him. 

The sheriff is called, but it's impossible to search for Luckham during the blizzard, and the next day - when the storm abates - Luckham can't be found anywhere....dead or alive. The continuing search does turn up a body, but it isn't the oil company magnate. It's a popular local who works for a wealthy landowner. 

As the days pass, clues indicate that Luckham is dead. Sister and her friends - who comprise an interesting array of characters - realize that the killer is intimately familiar with the area and must belong to The Jefferson Hunt. Worse yet, other hunt members may be in danger if a psychopath is on the loose.

The sheriff continues to investigate the two deaths, and Sister and her friends help by nosing around and visiting sites where clues were found. 

That's the mystery/detective part of the novel, which comprises roughly 20 percent of the narrative. The remainder of the book describes foxhunt after foxhunt, with detailed descriptions of the equipment, attire, landscape, jumps, people, foxes, hounds, horses, refreshments, etc. This is too much foxhunting for a mystery novel in my opinion.

On the upside, the story is accompanied by comments from - and conversations among - the hounds, foxes, horses, and even the barn owls.....all of whom are remarkably intelligent and well-informed. This adds a fun element to the tale.

Unfortunately, there's not much investigative work, and the case is solved in an incidental fashion -when the killer is observed with a suspicious object. If you're looking for a typical mystery, this isn't the book for you. But readers who enjoy foxhunting and other horse related activities would probably like the story. 

In case you're squeamish, the Virginia foxhunts don't kill the foxes. The dogs and riders just chase the wily creatures until they 'go to ground' in a den. In fact the foxes are coddled, since local residents provide comfortable shelters as well as food like kibble, scraps, Milk Bone biscuits, Jolly Ranchers, and wrapped grape candies. (Foxes have a sweet tooth. Who knew? 😊) 

The author provides an index of characters (human and animal) at the front of the book as well as a dictionary of terms related to foxhunting, all of which I found very helpful. 

Thanks to Netgalley, the author (Rita Mae Brown), and the publisher (Ballantine Books) for a copy of the book.
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Homeward Hound by Rita Mae Brown was a disappointing read for me. There is a missing hunter who happens to be the President of an energy company who is pushing through a pipeline in Virginia. The story is told from the viewpoint of the animals. The hunter is murdered and the mystery is solved by humans but the conversations between the animals are prounounced during the book. The book is about fox hunting but there was too much information for me especially why they hunted in snow when it was very slippery.  The plot seemed weak and repetitious. I did enjoy some of the animal conversation. Thank you to Net Gallery for an advanced readers copy.
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"Sister" Jane Arnold is starting another fox hunting season. As Master of Foxhounds for the Jefferson Hunt, she's responsible for running the Hunt Club itself, together with her co-Master Walter, but also for relations with local landowners, ensuring the club has permission to pursue foxes on the local estates, only some of whose owners are fox hunters themselves. The hunt season itself has started off well, but nevertheless there is potential trouble brewing. Soliden, a major energy company, wants to lay a pipeline right through the heart of the hunt country and across old and carefully tended estates. A dinner planned to let the Soliden CEO and the hunt community get to know each other turns explosive. Crawford, head of another local hunt club, storms out in fury.

All of which is disturbing, but not nearly as disturbing as when, at the end of the Christmas Hunt, cut short by the arrival of a blizzard, they find two things.

Gregory Luckham, the Soliden CEO, has vanished, apparently right off his horse as they were coming in through the blinding blizzard. And a dead body is found, hit on the back of the head, and left in a ditch. It's not Gregory Luckham. It's Rory, a valued regular of the hunt's support staff.

What follows is a frustrating and alarming mystery for the Sister and her hunting friends and rivals. Every piece of evidence found makes it clearer and clearer that the killer has to be one of them. Yet there is really no reason for anyone to have killed Rory. And where is Gregory Luckham?

Brown has built up an interesting, diverse, and often likable collection of characters over the coursee of the series, and friendships and conflicts add to the interest of the story. In addition, as in all of her books, the dogs, cats, and horses, as well as birds and foxes, observe things the humans can't,and have their own opinions which they aren't shy about expressing--even if mostly it's only the other animals that get the full benefit of those opinions.

No dogs, horses, or cats die--and since this is Virginia fox hunting, not English fox hunting, neither do any foxes. The point here is an exciting chase ending with the fox going to ground, not killing the fox and collecting the useless trophies of brush and mask.

It's as always a satisfying story, both as a mystery, and in the long-running interplay of the characters. Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.
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I haven't read a Rita Mae Brown title for a while, but Homeward Hound was like coming home to an old friend. The characters are still as interesting, and I love the descriptive passages of the fox hunts. No animals are harmed in the making of this book, only people! Speaking of harmed people, the mystery in this book was interesting, and I did not figure out "who done it". 
I enjoyed Homeward Hound and will recommend it to my mystery lovers.
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I had a horrible time trying to get this read but it was not the basic content of the story that caused the highest hurdle, so to speak. I hate long reviews that tend to tell me the whole story before I decide if I want to read it or not. That’s exactly what the “cast of characters” was in this book. Sixty-one Kindle pages of character description and terminology. Each character, be it human or a bird, or a horse, or a fox (well you get the point) had a description of either its personality or its purpose in life. When I finished reading all of these pages, I felt as if Ms. Brown might as well have put “killer” beside one of the names. How disappointing. Does this happen when a writer doesn’t have enough book material for their storyline? 

I have only read two other Rita Mae Brown books and they were the “Mrs. Murphy” series. I will admit I had some trouble reading through them. They move a little slow for me, but this book was more animals and hunts than mystery to me. I know she has created some good characters over the years and they seem to be consistent. 

Is it possible that the importance of adding a socially conscious issue, such as that of pipelines throughout our environment, threw off the author’s flow of writing? Readers more familiar with her might know this more than I do. I guess being such an avid reader, I am just having a difficult time trying to grasp not being fond of stories so many people crave. Then again, I suppose we all have different tastes.
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Highly recommend this one!  This is not the first in the series (although the first one I read) and although I do like to read them in order, I was not lost.  You get immersed in the fox hunting world of Virginia  There is a whole section before the story that introduces all the players, which was helpful.  I am a fan of Rita Mae Brown's Sneaky Pie mysteries too...Rita is just a good cozy mystery author!
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good story. Lots about fox hunting.Easy to read
Not my favorite kind of reading as the story involves dialogue of animals, people and the two jump back and forth in the story line.
still it is a entertaining story
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I always enjoy visiting Sister Jane and her friends at The Jefferson Hunt Club and Homeward Hound did not disappoint. Rita Mae Brown is a masterful writer giving the landscape and characters a true to life feeling. I always enjoy the hunt scenes from both the human and the animals' perspectives. The mystery itself was a bit easy to determine but I still enjoyed watching it play out to it's conclusion. This eleventh installment of Sister Jane was solid read and I continue to look forward to more adventures in the future.
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Homeward Bound is a intriguing fox hunting mystery that is well written and very descriptive. I love the animals talking. Rita Mae Brown is a fabulous author.
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