Sister Jane is one of the mysteries series written by the very prolific writer, Rita Mae Brown. Ms. Brown has a rich and colorful past including spending most of her childhood in Florida and attending the University of Florida during the 60s. You can read a brief biography of her on Wiki. Her cozy mysteries all feature animals of various kinds which is a novel approach considering all the cozies feature food and recipes. She does one series with a cat helper, one with a dog help and apparently the Fox Hound Series features a talkative fox, hounds, and horses intermingled in the stories based on a 70-year-old out-spoken, smart, witty and determined lady of Virginia. At first, you think the main character is a Catholic nun. Who hasn’t read a couple of cozy mysteries where the main character solves the crime while wearing a habit. Well, this heroine is usually wearing fox hunting outfits!
In the south, it is quite common to call a female, Sister, as a nickname. My great aunt was always called Sister most of her life by her family as well as her friends so don’t let that confuse you. This writer has a consistent look to her series books to catch your eye and the stories are well written and funny. My being born and raised in the south always appreciate a really well-written story about anywhere in our area. Below is a listing of the Sister Jane series with a short synopsis of each from the author’s website and a couple from Amazon. Now I have to try the series.
1. Outfoxed: A Novel (“Sister” Jane) 2000
As Master of the prestigious Jefferson Hunt Club, Jane Arnold, known as Sister, is the most revered citizen in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain town where a rigid code of social conduct and deep-seated tradition carry more weight than money. Nearing seventy, Sister now must select a joint master to ensure a smooth transition of leadership after her death. It is an honor of the highest order–and one that any serious social climber would covet like the Holy Grail.
2. Hotspur (Sister Jane Book 2) 2002
Jane “Sister” Arnold may be in her seventies, but she shows no signs of losing her love for the Hunt. As Master of the prestigious Jefferson Hunt Club in a well-heeled Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain town, she is the most powerful and revered woman in the county. She can assess the true merits of a man or a horse with uncanny skill. In short, Sister Jane is not easily duped.
3. Full Cry: A Novel (“Sister” Jane) 2003
The all-important New Year’s Hunt commences amid swirling light snow. It is the last formal hunt of the season; therefore, participation is required no matter how hungover riders are from toasting the midnight before. On this momentous occasion, “Sister” Jane Arnold, master of the foxhounds, announces her new joint master and the new president of the Jefferson Hunt. And her choices will prove to be no less than shocking.
4. The Hunt Ball: A Novel (“Sister” Jane) 2005
Even “Sister” Jane Arnold, master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, beloved by man and beast, is at a loss, although she knows better than anyone where the bodies are buried in this community of land-grant families and new-money settlers. Aided and abetted by foxes and owls, cats and hounds, Sister picks up a scent that leads her in a most unwelcome direction: straight to the heart of the foxhunting crowd. The chase is on, not only for foxes but also for a deadly human predator.
5. The Hounds and the Fury: A Novel (“Sister” Jane) 2006
While the town sheriff tries to get to the bottom of the matter, leave it to “Sister” Jane Arnold, venerable master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, to rely on her keen horse-and-hound sense to follow the trail of murder and cover-up. Throwing her off the scent, however, is former hunt club donor and all-around cad Crawford Howard, who thinks he can go toe-to-toe with the beloved septuagenarian and outclass her club by grossly sidestepping hound- and-hunt etiquette. Against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a menagerie of friends, foes, and fresh new faces saddle up for the breakneck ride to unravel the conspiracy. Even the furry denizens in the fields and boroughs have a thing or two to say about these peculiar humans.
6. The Tell-Tale Horse: A Novel (“Sister” Jane) 2007
With few clues to go on, “Sister” Jane Arnold, master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, uses her fine-tuned horse sense to try to solve the mystery of this “Lady Godiva” murder. But Sister isn’t the only one equipped to sniff out the trail. The local foxes, horses, and hounds have their own theories on the whodunit. If only these peculiar humans could just listen to them, they’d see that the killer might be right under their oblivious noses–and that Sister could become the killer’s next victim.
7. Hounded to Death: A Novel (“Sister” Jane) 2008
“Sister” Jane Arnold, esteemed master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, has traveled to Kentucky for one of the biggest events of the season: the Mid-America Hound Show, where foxhounds, bassets, and beagles gather to strut their champion bloodline stuff. But the fun is squelched when immediately after the competition a contestant turns up dead–stripped to the waist and peppered with birdshot. Two weeks later, back in Virginia, a popular veterinarian dies from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Sister refuses to believe that her friend killed herself and vows to sniff out the truth. But before she can make real headway, a wealthy pet food manufacturer vanishes during the granddaddy of all canine exhibitions, the Virginia Hound Show.
8. Fox Tracks: A Novel (“Sister” Jane) 2012
While outside on Manhattan’s Midtown streets a fierce snowstorm rages, nothing can dampen the excitement inside the elegant ballroom of Manhattan’s Pierre Hotel. Hunt clubs from all over North America have gathered for their annual gala, and nobody is in higher spirits than “Sister” Jane, Master of the Jefferson Hunt in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Braving the foul weather, Sister and her young friend “Tootie” Harris pop out to purchase cigars for the celebration at a nearby tobacco shop, finding themselves regaled by the colorful stories of its eccentric proprietor, Adolfo Galdos.
9. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Jane Arnold) 2014
Sister Jane and the Jefferson Hunt Club have traveled from Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains to the Bluegrass State of Kentucky to ride with the members of the Woodford Hounds—in the teeth of foul weather. Sister knows better than anyone that an ill wind blows no good. After the hunt, Sister Jane and her boyfriend, Gray Lorillard, head to a sumptuous party on a nearby estate, also home to a historic equine graveyard. The revelry is interrupted by jarring news: The discovery of grisly remains in the cemetery that are decidedly not equine.
10. Crazy Like a Fox: A Novel (“Sister” Jane) 2017
As the calendar turns, the crisp October winds bode well for this year’s hunting season. But before the bugle sounds, Sister Jane takes a scenic drive up the Blue Ridge Mountains for a board meeting at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting. Brimming with colorful stories and mementos from hunts of yore, the mansion is plunged into mystery when a venerable hunting horn is stolen right out of its case. The only clue, on a left-behind cell phone, is what seems to be a “selfie” video of the horn’s original owner, Wesley Carruthers—deceased since 1954.
11. Homeward Hound: A Novel (“Sister” Jane) 2018
Amidst the revelry of the Christmas Hunt, mystery and intrigue abound…When the fanfare is interrupted by the discovery of a body, “Sister” Jane Arnold and her company of loyal hounds find themselves faced with a pressing task–to uncover who has killed a beloved club faithful. It’s no help that the meddling, loathsome Victor Harris lurks in the shadows, weaseling his way back into the life of his disinherited daughter…As always, the gang must untangle the complex web of clues laid before them, and with Sister Jane at the helm, they will not rest until the truth is laid bare.