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The Tell-Tale Horse    by Rita Mae Brown Amazon.com order for
Tell-Tale Horse
by Rita Mae Brown
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

'There is at least one fox hunting club in almost all fifty states and it has been a popular activity since the time of our founding fathers.' So say the publishers of The Tell-Tale Horse, Rita Mae Brown's latest offering.

It's no wonder that this well-known author - who is also Master of the Foxhounds for the Oak Ridge Hunt Club in Virginia - writes of what she loves. For the aficionado of fox hunting, this book will be an absolute delight, one to read in front of the glowing fire with a glass of sherry (or something stronger), to lose oneself in descriptions of the hunt and the players' parts in it.

The loveliness of Virginia's Shenandoah countryside cannot be debated. Been there and it is glorious. The care of the horses as well as of the dogs comes first before the humans. And that is also brought to the forefront. If one is not interested in fox hunting, then it takes some reading to get to the mystery. Hang in there. There is a mystery.

A beautiful woman is placed on top of a wooden horse should I mention that she is nude and deceased? Therein lies the mystery. Who is she and why is she dead? It takes understanding of human nature and its vagaries to pick out the clues that are cleverly hidden in these pages - they do speak up clearly once spotted.

Though the long list of players in the front of the book helped, I still found the number of characters confusing. The talking animals prove whimsical and I wondered if we could understand what animals might say, would we be happy with our eavesdropping? I found the book interesting but would have wished for more mystery and less on foxhunting and the care of the animals involved.

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