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Outfoxed ("Sister" Jane #1)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  1,218 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
From the bestselling author of the landmark work Rubyfruit Jungle comes an engaging, original new novel that only Rita Mae Brown could have written. In the pristine world of Virginia foxhunting, hunters, horses, hounds, and foxes form a lively community of conflicting loyalties, where the thrill of the chase and the intricacies of human-animal relationships are experienced ...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published July 26th 2005 by Ballantine Books (first published 2000)
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Aug 02, 2011 D. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think that this book deserves constant love and praise as well as a pedastal to follow it around so it is always being worshipped. Yes, people, it is that good! Rita Mae Brown is a fantastic writer and her characters are so realistically flawed that you can imagine them as clearly as you can imagine your best friends. The relationships between the characters are full of the raw human emotion that exists in real life and the challenges that these characters face are heartbreaking. The beautiful ...more
BOTTOM LINE: This first "Jane Arnold, Master of Jefferson Hunt, rural Virginia" novel is a truly fantastical cosy, but definitely not for those who do not enjoy talking animals, as there is a superfluity of them here. However, the plot - and characters are very well-done, and there's a nice leavening of humor throughout. Comfortable cosy, albeit annoying at times.

Hunt season is coming on, and The Jefferson Hunt is readying horses, dogs, and people for Opening Hunt. Unfortunately someone plans to
Jo Ann
Feb 09, 2016 Jo Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
I found this book to be a different type of mystery book. I kept waiting for the murder to occur, but it only did approximately 2/3 through the book. I am still digesting this approach. While at times I found myself racing through the book to get to the "murder," I was fascinated with the juxtaposition of the conversations among the people and the animals. I know nothing about hunting so I did struggle with all the details that revolved around the hunt. I especially enjoyed the character of " Si ...more
May 03, 2008 Hodges rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've admired Rita Mae Brown for many years but had never read any of her "Sister Jane" mysteries until recently. I was hesitant the first time I picked one up at the library when I realized the series is largely centered around American Foxhunting - a sport I know zip about! - and that, in addition to the human characters, there is an entire cast of various animal characters as well. About midway through that first book, however, the concept began to grow on me. The characters, both animal and h ...more
Dec 05, 2014 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I picked this book up from the shelf available at a vacation rental. A blurb on the back cover says this is a "snappy" book. It is anything but, in reality. It takes almost two hundred pages to get to the crime. The Crime. 200.

This is supposed to be a murder mystery.

The actual climax of the book is barely a blip. Then the protagonist sends the murderer off to think about what she's done after she is revealed. Really?

The detail about hunting is mildly interesting, but the package it's wrapped
Jane, also known as Sister, now 70 years old is the matriarch of the fox and hound set in Virginia, must contend with all of the petty behavior of the selfish members of the locals. She must aslo keep the local rid-raff, criminals and thieves from destroying the age old life styles of the rich and infamous. It isn't easy. Especially when most of the wealthy feel that they are entitled to do anything they want, and the not so wealthy feel exactly the same way.
But Sister has it Ll under control...
Jul 17, 2015 Jana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is great if you want to learn about fox hunting. I knew nothing before I read the book and now I find the sport and the people involved very interesting. I would give the book four stars for the fox hunting knowledge that I gained. In contrast, the talking animals were very distracting to me and the murder didn't occur until so late in the book I found the crime solving to be rushed. I could only give the book two stars.
I was a bit nervous about starting this book. Not a book I would normally read. But I was impressed. The heroine is smart, mature and sophisticated. The author's details on the foxhunt are great. I actually really liked seeing the story not just from a human perspective, but from the animals perspective as well. The book did start out a bit slow, but I am hoping that the second book will be better.
Jun 11, 2011 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with "Sister" Jane and the hunt club so much, I tried to talk my husband into buying a 30 (or so) acre farm in Virginia. And we live in Southern California. It didn't work - I still live in Los Angeles. So I have to get my hunt club thrills vicariously and the "Sister" Jane series have been just the ticket.
Mar 31, 2009 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First in the "Sister" Jane fox hunting set in Virginia mystery series. Hunt master "Sister" Jane Arnold has her hands full in this mystery with a murder, heated rivalry between two over becoming joint masters that is splitting the hunt club, and various relationship problems. As in her other series, Brown has animal characters that play a prominent role in the story. A very enjoyable read.
Monique Marshall
Thus began my Sister Jane addiction. Being into foxhunting it was a joy to finally find a novel (a whole series!) dedicated to our sport. I found Sister Jane to be quite endearing and lovable and was sad when I'd finished the series.
Feb 16, 2017 Amber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
For one if my first mystery novels this one was pretty good. I got to learn about an aspect of horsemanship that I know nothing about: foxhunting! The first thing the I admired about this book, is the clever way Brown personifies her animal characters. They all have their own dialogue and their own stories. And being a crazy animal lover myself, I absolutely loved that about this book. There were so many minute details throughout this story, I had a hard time sorting through which ones were impo ...more
Jan 27, 2017 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The animals--hounds, a cat, foxes, crows--provide the Greek chorus. Not everyone can pull that off. But she did.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I first heard about Outfoxed on the Rita Mae Brown Yahoo! Club list, how for the first time ever she had written a mystery story that did not incorporate her famous feline detective, Mrs. Murphy. Truthfully, I was elated, and not because I don`t like the Mrs. Murphy series (I do like the books), but I thought it would nice for once to read something different from Ms. Brown, and I admit I found the foxhunting tack appealing. Since I live in the Tidewater area of Virginia, about two to three hour ...more
Jenny K
Sep 19, 2016 Jenny K rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Abandoned. Talking animals, teenagers doing drugs, everyone is sleeping with everyone. These are my first impressions. I'm a third of the way through the book and the author is still trying to build the characters. This is just not doing it for me.
Aug 09, 2012 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: divine-beasts, owned
First I must admit that the only mysteries I have ever read have been written by Dick Francis and Rita Mae Brown......obviously I need to have my mysteries sugared up with equines before I'm willing to try it.

Having hunted with the Blue Ridge as a guest in the late '90's, I have to say that I find all aspects of fox hunting to be utterly fascinating. I have participated in many equestrian pursuits, racing, dressage, and showing, but after my fox hunting experience I have no desire any more to sh
Sep 22, 2011 Caiti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book recommended by my mother. I wasn't sure if I was going to read it, so it sat on my shelf probably for a year, maybe even longer. I finally decided to give it a try or to get rid of it; it had been hanging around long enough. At first, the book simply baffled me. My mother had said it was a murder mystery. Usually it doesn't take too long to get into the murder and whodunit, but in this book, it wasn't until page 198 that we get to the murder/whodunit aspect. The preceding 197 pages is ded ...more
Pamela Mclaren
A hunt club prepares for the opening fox hunt with training for the young hounds and for less experienced riders. As the hunt master nears 70, she has to consider what she can do to ensure the future of the club, and two men, both outsiders to Virginia, angle for the title of assistant master. One has money but frequently alienates everyone he comes into contact with; the other is friendlier but couldn't support the club financially. Both hate the other and as they angle to get the title, the ri ...more
Lisa C
Jul 24, 2012 Lisa C rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I was really hoping to like this series so that I'd have a new audiobook series to listen to (but this first one was not available as an audio). Unfortunately, it was just too disappointing to continue past the 4th chapter.

The details about foxhunting in Virginia were rich and interesting, but not particularly well explained. Even harder for me, was the premise that just about everyone in the story (and by implied extension, real life) has affairs. I suppose it was going to be a major part of th
Kris Calvin
Nov 11, 2016 Kris Calvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I shouldn't have liked this book. I don't like books with talking animals, and this book had a lot of those. Set in the world of Virginia fox hunting there are horses, hounds, foxes, even bears— and they all talk. I also don't like books with slow starts. And while Outfoxed sits solidly in the crime fiction genre, man, does it take a long time to get to a crime. None-the-less, I loved this book.
"Sister Jane" is the hunt master, a naturally beautiful, silver-haired, 70-year-old woman, whose char
Jun 20, 2016 Deb rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was the month's pick of my mystery book club. I tried to finish it due to the responsibility I felt that I owed the group. But I could not finish. Got to around pg 170 something, and no one murdered yet! My guilt was assuaged when I found out only two members finished, with one of them claiming the only reason she finished was having been a member of a hunting club.
Our reasons for not finishing were almost identical:
talking animals,
too much happening before one even got to the murder,
Jun 15, 2015 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book many years ago and liked it then but I think foxhunting is one of the barbaric things we humans do to animals. That said, the underlying back story grows on you and you start to care about some of the characters in the book. The addition of the animal "voices" are sometimes confusing but the story is good. Sister Jane Arnold is the master of the Jefferson Hunt Club. She is 70 years old and wants to find a joint master to transition to the time when she can no longer ride. Two lo ...more
Very quick but unusual read from the author of Rubyfruit Jungle. No lovely lesbians in this book though. Outfoxed is a mystery set in fox hunting Virginia, told from the point of view of several hunters, the hounds, the horses, and the foxes. With just enough sex, drugs, and violence to keep it out of the running to be the next Disney flick.

A murder mystery where the murder doesn't happen until about 2/3 of the way through, muddled characterizations, unresolved (but supposedly tied up) plotlines
Sanya Weathers
Mar 30, 2014 Sanya Weathers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
If you don't mind talking animals, or you don't mind them but you want them to be more low key and less human than they are in Brown's other cosy series, this could be your mystery.

The older I get, the more I delight in female leads over the age of seventy who still have it, in all possible ways of "it."

It is important to note that in this book, the author's gift for evoking a vanishing time/place is strong enough to make you weep for the passing... even while you celebrate the death of the odi
Becky Galambos
Jan 21, 2010 Becky Galambos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Original - Read from March 16 to 17, 2012 - Good book, wish the glossary of foxhunting terms was at the FRONT, as I didn't find it until I finished the book. Will definitely continue the series.

Update - reread 2014 - this time I photocopied the foxhunting terms to refer to, and having read whole series have more of an idea what I am reading. Much more enjoyable that way!

Update - reread 2016 - I needed a favorite series to reread as my brain is fogged with cough meds. I really think this series
Jan 26, 2010 Pygmy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
It felt like it was part of a series where I missed a helluvalot of character development, but no, turns out this was the first book in the series. It was pretty dull; I'm not interested at all in the fox-hunting society and its ins and outs and concerns, and the placid writing didn't help much by filling the pages with uninteresting characters. The talking animals were very trite and childishly anthropomorphisized (is that a word??) as well. Okay, maybe not childishly...the Rats of Nimh books w ...more
This book was OK, it was set in the back drop of fox hunting in VA. I learned a lot about the equestrian sport. The book was a murder mystery and it was fair. The plot took a long time to establish, but there were not many twists and turns to it and the ending was not terribly surprising.

I did enjoy the aspect of the book where the animals were given voices. I am always putting to words what I think my animals are thinking so it was a pleasant read to see someone else doing the same.

I was hesitant to read this book, having enjoyed the Mrs. Murphy series so much, but I thought I'd give it a try. There is more action with the human characters and much discussion of foxhunting -- a world I know nothing about -- but there were still very many animal characters who al had voices and it was a great Rita Mae Brown mystery romp. Definitely a vacation type read, but very enjoyable. I am excited to get to know the characters more in the rest of the series. I may even figure out the f ...more
Jul 25, 2007 Belinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cool people.
Shelves: braincandy, mystery
One of my favorite brain-candy reads of the last few years. It's rare to find a book centered around an equestrian lifestyle that actually KNOWS what it's talking about, and RMB, as a MFH herself, KNOWS. And she puts together a cracking good story, with a decent murder mystery to boot.

Also? Talking horses. (All right, the animals are minor characters, and only talk to each OTHER, but still. The TBs refer to the WBs as "dumb-bloods" and things like that. It's fantastic.)
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Rita Mae Brown is a prolific American writer, most known for her mysteries and other novels (Rubyfruit Jungle). She is also an Emmy-nominated screenwriter.

Brown was born illegitimate in Hanover, Pennsylvania. She was raised by her biological mother's female cousin and the cousin's husband in York, Pennsylvania and later in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Starting in the fall of 1962, Brown attended the Un
More about Rita Mae Brown...

Other Books in the Series

"Sister" Jane (9 books)
  • Hotspur ("Sister" Jane, #2)
  • Full Cry ("Sister" Jane, #3)
  • The Hunt Ball  ("Sister" Jane, #4)
  • The Hounds and the Fury ("Sister" Jane, #5)
  • The Tell-tale Horse ("Sister" Jane, #6)
  • Hounded to Death ("Sister" Jane, #7)
  • Fox Tracks
  • Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Sister" Jane, #9)

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