🐎 When I came across this ARC, I just knew it was going to be fantastic. It’s the fifteenth book of a series so it’s got a solid foundation. I love horses and rode hunter/jumper in my youth, so I found that aspect of the book instantly appealing. Throw in a murder mystery with the fox hunting and what could go wrong? Unfortunately, in my opinion, more than I bargained for.
I never imagined what reading about a fox hunt would be like. Turns out it’s a lot like reading a transcript of a play by play at a sporting event. Fortunately, I have experience with the technical riding terms, so that made it less difficult for me to navigate as a reader, but I feel like the average non-rider would be hopelessly lost. Perhaps the extensive index at the beginning of the book should have been a sign, but I also found it very difficult to account for all of the different names of people, horses, and dogs. Add to that the fact that several of the human character names were rather odd and I kept getting them confused with the horses and dogs. The dialogue was difficult to follow as well, often unclear who was speaking in a certain situation. Finally, the big reveal of the mystery seemed to come out of no where but by that point I was so confused and bored by the whole experience that I simply didn’t care. Based on my encounter with this work I don’t see myself continuing with the series. 2.5/5 ⭐️ (rounded up to 3⭐️)
I have been a fan of Rita Mae Brown for more years than I care to count. I categorize her stories as light reading and cozy mysteries. I love the Mrs.
Murphy books and have enjoyed the "Sister" Jane series as well, up until now. Lost and Found, the fifteenth in the series, seemed quickly thrown together and was so filled with information on esoteric topics that the story got lost. I struggled to get to the end. 2.5 stars
I received a drc from the publisher via NetGalley.
Lost & Hound by Rita Mae Brown (part of the “Sister” Jane series) was not quite what I was expecting, and sadly was not a book for me. It is my fault for requesting the book and not knowing that it was part of a series, and that it mainly revolved around fox-hunting. A sport I know nothing about- and I feel I know even less about having read the book.
The novel starts off with the Jefferson Hunt Club, led by “Sister” Jane Arnold, out on a hunt; during the hunt, a mutilated body is found. Who is the man found bound to a chair? Why was he left outside for the hunters to find? What does it have to do with the Jefferson Hunt Club? All questions that are dragged out through the book.
Perhaps it was because I had not read the other books in the series; perhaps it was because I know nothing of horses, and hounds, and hunts; perhaps it was the plethora of characters who I found hard to keep track of, but I did not enjoy the book.
To be honest, it was a slog for me to get through. There were too many characters and names of people, horses, hounds, and foxes to remember. The interspersed conversations or comments by the hounds only served to clutter the story. I think I requested the book because it supposed to be a story from human AND animal perspectives, but the animal part I found very….fractured and unimportant to the plot.
The plot. It dragged on and on. If this was supposed to be a mystery, there was no tension. I did not care who the murder victim was nor did I care who murdered him. And the climatic scene? The resolution to the murder? It was so far out of left field, I had to go back a few pages, twice, to see if I had missed some instigating event.
Clearly, Rita Mae Brown is a talented writer as they have a large catalogue of work and bestsellers. The descriptions of the rides and the pastoral imagery were pleasant. I just could not get past the bland plot and characters. As mentioned, I have not read any of the other books in the series, so it could be why I felt the characters were not as developed as they could have been. Sadly I cannot recommend Lost & Hound and rate it 2/5. As always thanks to @NetGalley and @penguinrandomhouse for the eARC in exchange of an honest review.
Took me a while to get into this cozy mystery story, as fox hunting is totally not my thing. But the author gradually won me over with her charming approach to the animal characters. Alas, fox hunting is in realty not fun at all, but as long as one can believe in the whimsy, with is an entertaining mystery set in the Virginia countryside where a murder needs to be solved. Along the way the reader will learn interesting facts about Virginia. There is also a smattering of romantic vibes!
I really enjoy any book that Rita Mae Brown writes and even though I am more familiar with the Sneaky Brown stories, I have come to appreciate the Sister Jane series. Well written and enjoyable.
The first fox hunt of the season begins in a fog. They finally return home as it worsens. The next day a body tied to a chair is found on the hunt trail. They missed it due to the fog. The body is an unknown person. The hunt goes on with some strange things happening. One of the members stamps are stolen. Turns out they’re not worth much, just collected for the colors. Then a hunt member is attacked at his home. The hunt knows something is wrong but not what. The mystery plays clear at the annual concert. And it’s not what you would expect. Another great book from Rita Mae Brown. #LostHound #NetGalley
I love this series and this was a great addition. I learned much about fox hunting and I love that the animals talk to each other. The mystery was excellent.
Many thanks to Random House and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
This 15th book in the Sister Jane mystery series is yet another wonderful study in the finer points of humane fox hunting. The reader is proffered historic detail, descriptions of hunt practices, roles and manners of participants - all of which lays out the landscape of the fox hunt. One quickly discovers that there is a tremendous amount of effort and planning which goes into each hunt. The descriptions of the actual hunts are so beautifully detailed that one imagines that they're flying over fence and post alongside other riders. Add a philatelic twist to the murder and you've got yourself a fun cozy mystery while hanging out with the hunting set. Kudos to Ms. Brown. If you are a fan of the traditional fox hunt, then this just might be the book for you.
I am grateful to author Rita Me Brown and publisher Ballantine Books for having provided a free copy of this book through NetGalley. Their generosity, however, did not influence this review - the words of which are mine alone.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: October 24, 2023
Number of pages: 272
Thanks to Ballentine Books & NetGalley for a digital advance reader's copy. All comments and opinions are my own.
I liked the book cover and the publisher’s description, so was expecting an entertaining cozy mystery. The best thing about this book was the cover. The book itself was incredibly tedious, and I read 50% before I called it quits and DNF (did not finish). I have read other books by Rita Mae Brown that I recall enjoying, but not recently and not from this series.
The first clue I had that this might not be an appealing read was the list of characters presented before the novel began. After the list and description of 27(!) “Humans” (including nicknames that sounded like the animals in the other lists), there were lists and descriptions of “American Foxhounds,” “The Horses,” “Foxes” (both reds and greys), “The Birds,” and “Sister’s House Pets.” Plus a glossary of “Useful Terms” that explained fox hunting.
I optimistically figured it would all come together as I began to read, but it was so slow and bogged down with fox hunting activities, as well as hunt club minutiae and technicalities that I couldn’t believe many people would care about this world of Virginia foxhunting, hunters, horses, hounds, and foxes.
To its credit, this is #15 in the series, so maybe if I had started with #1 and read all 14 earlier books, I might have enjoyed this one. But the only thing that broke up the tedium was the discovery of the murder victim in Chapter 3. By Chapter 18 I’d had enough. There is really no story and no characters worth caring about. With too many other books in my TBR pile (both digital and paper) I couldn’t spend any more time with this one.
Thank you to Vanessa Duque, Ballantine Books, NetGalley, and Rita May Brown for this free ecopy!
“Lost and Hound”(“Sister” Jane #15) by Rita Mae Brown ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Genre: Cozy Mystery. Location: Virginia, USA. Time: Fall, 2022.
THE SERIES: Set in the world of Virginia foxhunting, with a cast of Southerners and their whimsical animal counterparts. “Sister” Jane Arnold (70s) is the most revered citizen in a Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain town known for its rigid code of social conduct and deep-seated traditions. She’s also the Master of Foxhounds for her beloved Jefferson Hunt Club.
THIS BOOK: The Jefferson Hunt is as busy as usual. When a corpse is found strapped to a chair beside a hunting trail, it’s clear someone is sending a message. Then a valuable stamp collection is stolen, and a club member is suspected. Sister must uncover who’s sending these messages—before any of her friends die.
Author Brown gives us a well-written, cozy mystery with rich, varied characters embedded in a book about fox hunting and the environment. She adds whimsy by giving the animals distinct personalities, and letting them talk among themselves. She shares helpful information (Fox hunting terms; Cast of Characters-humans, horses, hounds, foxes, birds, inside animals). Brown also presents compelling arguments for plant and wildlife conservation-I took notes! Her writing style has a vibe similar to Alexander McCall Smith.
The worldview of this book and series is that foxes are sentient animals who willingly lead hunters on a merry chase. If that’s your view, you will enjoy this kind-hearted book. If you believe foxes don’t understand it’s just a merry chase, and are panicked and running for their lives, maybe not so much. I have loved Rita Mae Brown for 50 years (since Rubyfruit Jungle), and I love her Sneaky Pie Brown series, but this fox hunting book is not my cup of tea. Only my personal opinion-this is #15 in a beloved, best-selling series. It’s 3 stars from me🌵📚💁🏼♀️
When a body is found on “Sister” Jane Arnold's foxhunting grounds, she becomes involved in solving the mystery.
I wanted to read this mystery because I have enjoyed the Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown so much. I was able to enjoy this book as a standalone, but think I would enjoy going back to catch up with the series!
This is a smart, well plotted mystery with several plausible suspects -- and a likable amateur detective. I enjoyed it and want to read more in the series.
This was my first novel by Rita Mae Brown and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was a bit apprehensive when the first 3 – 4 pages of the novel, were character names to include the names of not only the humans in this novel, but the hounds, the horses, the foxes, the birds, wowza. I was glad I read her novel, Rita Mae Brown did a wonderful job of presenting a murder mystery. Sister Jane Arnold leads fox hunts in Virginia for the Jefferson Hunt club and the season has just begun. However, the discovery of a dead man tied to a chair on the previous days hunt makes for an eerie episode. Who is the dead man and what does this have to do with the hunt club? Club members and animals alike start pondering what is going on?
I have to say, the mystery was interesting but what I found myself engaging more with was the conversation that happened as the humans would speak and the animals would also comment on the same conversation. How the elder hounds would guide the younger hounds when on a hunt, the comments from the horses about the hunt. “Hearing” the conversations between the animals was a fun way to add to the story. I also learned a lot about fox hunting, the traditions, the language and how a hunt is conducted. It was interesting and added to the story. Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I will pick up another book by this author.
I'm an absolute SUCKER for a mysterious retelling and I am so thankful to Rita Mae Brown and Netgalley for granting me advanced access to this behemoth before it came out on October 24, 2023.
Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. Rita has a murder she needs to solve. The more she finds, the more questions she has. I liked this book.
This really didn't work for me. I didn't realize it was part of such a long running series and I had a hard time getting into it.
This was an excellent thriller that kept me guessing the whole time! It was unexpected and fresh. I would definitely recommend this book!
Lost & Hound is, I believe, the fifteenth book in the series. It is a very popular and well loved series. The mystery, a dead man found tied to a chair in fox hunting country, is well done but slow moving. Unfortunately I do not particularly enjoy this genre. The characters seem more interested in local gossip and the application of human traits to the various animals (horses, dogs and foxes all spoke and seemed to comprehend each other) is just a bit too much for my taste. Thanks to Net Galley and Penguin Random House for an ARC for an honest review.
I wish I remembered how this book ended up on my radar despite the fact that it’s #15 in a series, but I’m so glad it did! The fox club setting was so immersive, and the talking critters were a fun bonus. Really glad I have 14 more of these to enjoy!
Someone has set up a murdered body in the path of an old established foxhunting clubs' favored route. However, they all miss the body tied to a chair as the fog that day is so thick that they must call off the hunt. When the body is discovered the next day, the questions come pouring in: "Who is he?" "Why was he left where he was?" Who is this "message" for?" and of course, "Who did it?"
I really wanted to like this book, but honestly, it was confusing with the number of characters, their relations to one another, the secondary world and conversations between the foxes, the foxhounds and the horses. I kept pushing onward thinking that at some point I'd become fully engaged in the mystery, however that didn't happen and I gave up reading two thirds of the way through. By starting off with numerous pages of foxhunting terminology, character relations and explanations of the genealogy of the various animals, I felt like I should have taken a college course in the history of foxhunting before attempting to read this.
Lost & Hound by Rita Mae Brown introduces a delightful cast of characters, including cunning foxes, sensible hounds, and sweet-tempered horses, who engage in sparkling conversations throughout this charming series. The true essence of this novel lies in its diverse and captivating characters. Moreover, the vivid descriptions of the countryside transport readers to a world of breathtaking beauty.