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Scarlet Fever

("Sister" Jane #12)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  385 ratings  ·  70 reviews
"Sister" Jane Arnold hopes to play matchmaker, but winds up playing detective when hunting season kicks off with a murder in a riveting mystery from the bestselling author of Homeward Hound.

Every fall, the start of hunting season brings crowds of people to Tattenhall Station. "Sister" Jane Arnold has long served as the proud Master of Foxhounds for the Jefferson Hunt, but
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 26th 2019 by Ballantine Books
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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Jill Meyer
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rita Mae Brown is a very prolific writer. She has a couple of book series, including the Sneaky Pie Brown and the Sister Jane fox hunting series. This book, “Scarlet Fever”, is the 12th in Sister Jane books and follows the previous 11 books into the world of “Sister Jane” Arnold, a Master of the Hounds in central Virginia. Any similarities between Sister Jane and Rita Mae Brown are intentional.

The fun for a reader of series books is the chance to revisit dear old friends in old places. We catch
Oct 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ng
I'm never quite sure what to expect with a "cozy mystery"--minimal sex/cussing/gore? A tight-knit cast of characters, probably in a small town? A kind of Thomas-Kincade-pink, alternate reality where nobody punches a clock and yet everybody somehow owns nice possessions that perfectly reflect their quirky personalities?

Check, check, and check.

I didn't expect talking animals or a manual on fox hunting. But my dears, there are talking animals a-plenty here.

And lots of info on fox hunting. I took 1
Dec 16, 2019 rated it liked it
This one's a bit depressing. The story involves dementia, elder abuse, drugs, theft, blackmail, murder, and foxhunting. The dementia and elder abuse make this story so depressing. It's unfortunate that things like that happen. The animals added levity. The animals continue to be my favorite part of the story. The mystery is interesting but not the focus of the story. ...more
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Almost finish in one sitting, but it's Thanksgiving. ...more
Jan 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
Bleh. The reading draaaaaaaged interminably and the story itself was depressing, and also there was little to no mystery.
Feb 05, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
No one does a better job than Rita Mae Brown in describing nature, especially in relating the thrill of a good foxhunt. You really get the impression that you are riding right along with the master, through wood, field, and stream and all kinds of weather. But the murder mystery part of this book really seems to be an afterthought, though the murder at the end was shocking. Throughout the book, very little time is spent in solving any crime.

This book is really a novelette in disguise. If you wer
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozies
Another great story with Sister and the members of her Hunt Club.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-in-series
Jumped around a bit. Some of the storylines were interesting but it took to long to tie it together.
Judith Trail
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it
The series seems to be running out of steam. The descriptions of the fox hunts remain exciting and detailed, with expert knowledge of hound-work. However, the mystery portion of the book is really an after-thought to the hunting and the contrived situations of conversation among familiar characters in which the author states her opinions on everything: modern medicine, cars, politics, farming and land-development, you name it. The murder in this book occurs in the last few pages and there is no ...more
Stanley McShane
This cozy animal mystery is one my associate and I read together. The author presents a number of POVs including those of the foxes, hounds, horses, as well as the humans. And humans--there's a bunch of them! Protagonist Sister (Jane Arnold) functions as Master of Foxhounds for the Jefferson Hunt in a nasty, cold, rainy wintry season in the Virginia hills looking at the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the foxes are plentiful. And smart!

This narrative opens a world you only might briefly have been awar
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve always enjoyed the foxhunting way of life in this series. Yet, Rita Mae Brown makes you truly think about the issues of today and brings out the good, bad, and the ugly. Get ready for one that touches so many of us. How difficult it is for family and friends to see those who are declining in probably the worst possible way … in their minds. It’s called many things, memory loss, senility, dementia and we’re all afraid of it happening to us or our family and friends. In this story, greed and ...more
Andrea Guy
Scarlet Fever is the first book that wasn't a "Sneaky Pie" book of hers that I have read. I love the Sneaky Pie series.

This is fun book with a quirky cast of characters and animals play a central part in their lives. Sister Jane is a master of the hounds. But really its the animals that always make me fall for the story.

I had a harder time getting into this one, because it is book 12 in a series and well...I didn't know a lot of the cast, but once I sorted everyone out I was fine, and I definite
Diane Hernandez
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, blog-tour
I have read and loved all of the author’s Mrs. Murphy series so when I saw Scarlet Fever on NetGalley I snapped it up. Mrs. Murphy books are a more traditional cat cozy mystery though the cats and dog do talk and investigate crimes.

Scarlet Fever is book number twelve in the “Sister” Jane mysteries. This book literally has a hundred characters. There are talking hounds, dogs, and horses—all with intricate family relationships. There are also many human characters with seemingly long-standing issu
With literally hundreds of characters having input, you will enjoy this book best if you have some familiarity with the series from previous reads. It does stand alone, especially if you care about horses, hunting or old southern tradition.
We hear from the perspective of horses and hounds and even from the foxes themselves, as several hunt packs traverse the landscape of Old Family Virginia.
The tradition and pageantry are beautifully descriptive and warmly welcoming despite chill winds and bone
Kathleen Gray
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This has a little more serious message than the usual Sister Jane mysteries- but know that you'll still find talking animals (love that!) and a lot of information about fox hunting. Sister Jane is the master of the hounds for the Jefferson Hunt and she solves murders. Or in this case, solves a mystery or two. It's been a rough season for the hunt- lousy weather and itchy people but Sister Jane still rides out. When a body is found (no spoilers) Sister Jane and the hunt must look among themselves ...more
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are a Sister Jane fan then of course you will want to read the latest mystery by Rita Mae Brown (read from an eARC from Edelweiss). Set in the winter in Virginia fox hunting country, Sister Jane and her hunt are beset by the usual weather woes that make fox hunting challenging as well as deeply loved. In this season there is an overabundence of rain and even some usually well attended weekend hunts are either cancelled or draw only a small amount of members.
As usual, the members that m
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
#11 in the Sister Jane Arnold, the Master of Foxhounds for the Jefferson Hunt, located in the piedmont area of Virginia. Typical for Rita Mae Brown mysteries, the 4 legged animals are as important as the 2 legged ones. This is a good series to read with well developed characters (both human and animals) set in an area rich in behavioral traditions and historical history.

It is February and the fox hunting season is well underway though the weather has been much wetter than usual when a body is di
Joyce Rawlins
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Scarlet Fever by Rita Mae Brown is about “Sister” Jane Arnold. She is dealing with frigid air in the Blue Ridge Mountains in February. Everyone cuddles in front of the fire until they find one of their group with his skull cracked at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Sister is not convinced this is an accident so she and her hounds determine to find out what really did happen. This book is all about the deep traditions of Virginia horse country. This is Rita Mae Brown’s 12th book in the “Sister” ...more
I always love the communications among the tame and wild animals, especially when they are passing judgment on the humans. There is also much verbal interaction among the hunt people in this unseasonably snowy late winter. The plot is good and the characters certainly are, but there is a deeper message about the victims of dementia and the devastation to family and friends. The only thing missing is the physical danger to residential staff (I know whereof I speak). I found it an excellent and en ...more
Apr 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I love the cover illustration. I love the cast of characters: horses, people, dogs, foxes (red and gray), and even the birds. I love the names of nicknames. I love the descriptions of the hunt terms. I would have loved a map. I chose this book because we are thinking of moving to western Virginia and I wanted some local color. Perfectly describes the kind of day no on would want to move to Virginia for!

I was once an antique dealer and I remember stopping at an antique show in his area about twen
Franci Wayland
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bracing run but missed the usual cast of characters . . .

Impossible not to enjoy the latest from RMB but I did miss some of the usual suspects and longstanding members of the hunt. Granted their absence may have something to to with their naughtiness (which made many of them so damn likable) but that’s what makes this series so damn good. Raining in VA today and our Sunday meet was canceled so I more than ever felt a part of the novel, enduring a sloshy season with the Jefferson Hunt. Kick on!
Denice Langley
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rita Mae Brown writes books that are fun and easy to read. She builds a community and populates it with entertaining characters. Entertaining until someone gets killed. In this new series she introduces us to the fox hunting crowd and sets them up for our heroine to solve a murder along with a major theft ring. I have always loved Rita Mae Brown's series and have now added this one to my friend's TBR piles! ...more
Dana Buchholz
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it
A bit disjointed and meandering, not the intricately entwined twists and turns of hunts and human nature that we've come to expect. In the end, while enjoyable, it felt wanting: much of the mystery was left out, the hunts mostly stood alone, and the character development was fairly non-existent. While I have loved this series from the start, the anticipation of this new installment vs. the reading of it has left me with a feeling that the series has lost its luster. ...more
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is more about fox hunting and weather than anything else but still makes for interesting reading because of the way the author portrays the characters. She can really make them come alive and be very personable. Of course, it also tends to have a modern day morale and be realistic in matters that can touch everybody's lives at some point in time. Well worth the time spent reading as it is a short book to begin with. ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is typical Sister Jane book with murder, talking animals and fox hunting. The subject matter in this one is a little depressing dwelling on elder abuse and dementia. This is book 12 in the Sister Jane series and I like it more than her Murphy Brown books because she isn't pushing a political environmental agenda. You can read it as a stand alone. I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. ...more
Libbie C.
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
All of the Sister Jane series is so much fun. Scarlet Fever does not disappoint! Good mystery! The stories always include a list of major characters, the dogs, the foxes, and the horses. Sometimes other animals are included. The animals converse and tell the happenings from their perspective. As an animal lover, this thrills me. Sometimes Rita Mae Brown shares a message. The message this time involves Alzheimers.
Marsha Valance
Antique dealer/member of the Jefferson Hunt Harry Dunbar is found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Then Morris Taylor, former Hunt member suffering from a violent senile dementia, is found shot dead under a pile of brush. While Morris' older brother Drew, Hunt member/insurance executive, and Morris' motherless son, Bainbridge, who has been fighting his addictions to oxy and liquor, flee, MFH "Sister" Jane Arnold makes the most discreet inquiries imaginable about the increasing body coun ...more
Review copy provided by Random House - November 2019

**2.5 Stars**
Probably should have started with the first in the series, it was a bit confusing, keeping characters straight (be aware there are 9 full pages of cast of characters at the beginning of the book). Love the voices and roles of the various animals throughout the novel: hounds, horses and foxes. Having read this one though, I’m not sure I’ll continue with the series. If you’re a lover of the hunt (detailed descriptions), then do give
Becky Galambos
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was great to check in with the population of Sister Jane's area of Virginia and the members of the Jefferson hunt as I've grown fond of many characters after 11 previous books. Thankfully there are great appendices of characters and foxhunting terms for those not as familiar with the people, animals and terms in the book. This book had more serious theme than some. ...more
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I do like the fact that the author provides a rather complete cast of characters in the first few pages.

However, the author should know that if a cow has had a calf they are not called a heifer. I understand that probably most people wouldn't know such a thing but it shows a certain lack of either research or editing.
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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

Other books in the series

"Sister" Jane (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Outfoxed ("Sister" Jane, #1)
  • 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 ("Sister" Jane, #8)
  • Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Sister" Jane, #9)
  • Crazy Like a Fox ("Sister" Jane #10)

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